Skiddaw and your need to know guide on the Wainwright


Wainwright Number:

Northern Lakes

OS Map:
Explorer map OL4

Skiddaw is 931m high or 3054ft tall. 

This Wainwright is located in the northern Fells of the Lake District.

You can head up to Skiddaw by following the clear and pretty wide path from the side of Latrigg. Your starting point would be at Underskiddaw car park. From here you head left out of the gate at the end of the car park and follow the obvious route to the top of Skiddaw.  

You will need Explorer map OL4.

Skiddaw is part of the Skiddaw range of Fells that all lie in close proximity to it. The Wainwrights close by are Ullock Pike, Carl Side, Dodd, and Lonscale Fell to name but a few. And they're all well with the visit. 

At the top of Skiddaw is a trig point. There are also littering of small cairns around the summit of Skiddaw, as well as a well-earned wind shelter for some snacks at the top. 

Facts about Skiddaw

Here are some little facts about Skiddaw before we jump into the serious stuff of detailed information. I hope you like them.

- Skiddaw dominates the skyline in the Northern Fells of the Lake District.

- The Fell has different geology to that of almost all of the other Fells in the Lakelands. It’s made up of a different slate than the rest of the mountains in the area. This suggests that Skiddaw is in fact older than all the other mountains and Wainwrights in Cumbria.

- There are actually three tops to the Fell. The north top, middle top, and the south top. All with slightly different heights, although they make up the large top of the Wainwright which gives it its grand structure which towers from below.

Check out our misty Skiddaw walk right here

How high is this Wainwright? (m/ft)

Skiddaw sits at 931m or 3054ft tall. It is the fourth highest Wainwright in the Lake District. And towers over the Northern Fells here in Cumbria.

Where is Skiddaw located?

This Fell is located in the Northern Fells in the Lake District and lies just north of the town of Keswick. This popular tourist town makes it one of the most visited mountains to hike in the Lakes. One of its main routes leads right off of Keswick and there is ample parking to start your route from here too.

Skiddaw is a slightly more isolated Fell and boulders over the rest of the Northern Fells. It has a close family of fells coming off from itself that can all be walked together and these include the likes of Skiddaw Little Man, Latrigg, Ullock Pike as well as many more.

So how hard is the Fell to climb and which routes can you take?

Skiddaw by far is not the hardest of Fells to climb in the Lake District. It can seem tough but this is mainly because of the height that you have to climb. Besides that, the paths are generally good and there really are no difficulties regarding any of the routes heading up.

As long as you have yourself a map and wear the right footwear, there should be no reason to not hike up the fourth-highest Fell in the Lakes.

You can take a route from Keswick which heads up a small lane called Spoonygreen Lane and over the A66. This then follows a clear route up almost to Latrigg. But then you head slightly off, following the sign to the car park. From here you follow the very clear path all the way up the Skiddaw range. It passes Skiddaw Little Man which is well worth a detour to along the way. Just after this is Skiddaw in all it’s glory.

Besides that, you can come to the Fell from the Westside and start off on an unclear path up to the Fell of Watches. You can check out the parking for this further below. From here to path gets much more distinct and you climb in height up the Fells of Ullock Pike and Long Side before getting to the last steep climb up to Skiddaw. From here to can take a short detour to Carl Side and again it’s worth doing to get a look at the path you’ll be taking up Skiddaw from all angles.

The last climb up to Skiddaw summit is mainly scree and it’s steep. But it’s great fun. We really enjoyed it and if you go at your own pace then you’ll be just fine. Definitely better going up this way than down though, just my personal opinion.

An affable, friendly giant.” Alfred Wainwright

How long does it take to climb Skiddaw?

Skiddaw can take anywhere on average of around an hour and a half to three hours to walk. This depends entirely on where your route starts and which other fells you want to climb in the process of reaching the summit of Skiddaw.

From starting in Keswick you would be looking on the longer side of times. Whereas if you began your walk from the car park just next to the summit of Latrigg, then you’d be much closer to the hour and a half to reach the top.

In addition to this, you can start your walk from the Western side of the fell and climb up via Ullock Pike and Long Side. This will take a little longer too because you will have the two previous mountains to conquer first. And if you’re asking personally which you might not be. But I’ll let you know anyway. The hike from this way up is spot on.

You really do get a new perspective of the Fell and personally, I preferred the last hike to the summit so much more.

Check out our misty Skiddaw walk right here

Looking towards the Skiddaw range from Skiddaw Little Man
Looking towards the Skiddaw range from Skiddaw Little Man

Are the paths good for climbing up the mountain?

The paths up Skiddaw are very clear from both the East and the West sides of climbing. From Keswick and Latrigg the paths couldn’t be any clearer. There are a lot of stony paths and these can be a little slippery in the wet. But if you’re wearing the right footwear they shouldn’t pose any difficulties.

Coming at Skiddaw from the West, again there is one main path and this is clear the whole way up to the summit. Along the summit top of Skiddaw is perhaps the most confusing especially in low cloud. But again if you take a compass and know how to read your map (which you should) then you’ll be spot on.

Best parking for Skiddaw

The best parking for the hike up Skiddaw depends on your starting point. If you’re starting from Keswick then there is ample parking throughout the town. I would highly recommend parking at Brundholme road as this is free and as long as you get there earlyish, then there is plenty of on the side of the road parking.

From here you follow the path directly towards Latrigg and then take the path off towards Skiddaw which is easy to locate on the path itself.

Besides this, if you start from the west side of the Fell. You can park down a little lane just off of the A591 heading north. There is a large lay-by which you can park in for free and the route starts on the open Fells heading towards a small Fell called Watches. From there you head up Ullock Pike and the path is clear the whole way up from here up.

What is at the summit of the Wainwright?

At the summit of Skiddaw is a trig point. There are also several little cairns around the top of the summit which help to locate your way around the top. The trig point is well worth reaching on this Wainwright to truly bag the Fell off. And gives for some amazing views looking South over the Lake District.

View from Barrow looking towards the Skiddaw range
Views from Barrow

What are the views from the top of Skiddaw?

The views from the top of the mountain are super. Looking towards the north there are some good views although the south is certainly where our eyes took us more. This is because looking down at Derwent Water which centralizes your eyes towards the lake. You see all the Fells around and further south beyond the water too.

You get to see the classic favourite of Catbells. Along with on a good day the likes of Scafell Pike, Coniston Old Man, and Crinkle Crags. This is just a select few but there are far more beyond. When the weather isn’t so good, the views are none the less inspiring. This is because the mood of the Lake District always allows for beauty to shine through whatever the weather. (Unless it’s a whiteout, then the views really aren’t up to much).

 Which OS map do you need to climb Skiddaw?

The map that you need to hike this beauty of a Fell is OL4. Besides that, you can take a look at Alfred Wainwright's book number five on the Northern Fells. This will give you all the routes up the mountain and valuable information along the way too. 

Check out our misty Skiddaw walk right here

Where to stay, B&Bs, etc.

The best place to stay for hiking around the Skiddaw range would have to be Keswick. It’s bustling and there are so many places to stay here. From B&Bs to campsites and everything in between. You’ll always find somewhere to get yourself set up. But booking is essential as everyone has the same idea when it comes to one of the most tourist towns in the Lake District.

True Freedom Seekers
Thank you for taking the time to read our page. We hope you have enjoyed the information which we have for you. Please feel free to reach out to us about anything regarding the Lake District. Or leave a comment below. Happy Wainwright bagging.

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