Report on Skiddaw
12 February 2010
The Lake District February 12 ? 14 February 2010
Attendees: Hilary, Dorothy, Gail, Irene, Kevin and Mark.
We were a bit later than planned in setting off but made up good time. We arrived at the Rheged Discovery Centre at about midday where we had a nice lunch before setting off again. We checked in at the hostel just after 1pm and were parked at the car park just past Ormathwaite and ready for walking just about 2pm.
The weather was looking not too bad but it was very cold. As we made our way out of the car park we met some people who had given up and turned back due to the weather. We contacted Hilary who was already on the hill, she confirmed that it was very windy, cold and still snowing at the top.
Nevertheless, we continued on our way.
It is very steep right from the start. There is a new zig zag path in since the last time I did this hill but it was still hard going. As we approached Howgill Tongue, a solo walker appeared in full winter gear, crampons and snow goggles too, it was Hilary, so after big hugs and hellos, we decided to keep going in spite of her warnings of how cold it was and how poor the visibility was. I watched enviously as Hilary made her way downhill and had to force myself not to run after her.
It was just at this point that everything changed, the grass turned white, the sky grey and suddenly we couldn?t see that far ahead. We almost missed the gate and carried on to Little Man but just noticed in time. We crossed the stile and followed Hilary?s crampon trail until the spindrift covered them and we were following the wee bit grass verge we could see. It was a continuous slog, but eventually we got to the summit. We could see nothing. The trig point was covered in a hoar frost about 3 inches deep. We took some quick summit pics but didn?t linger as the wind was really strong. We laid down our poles to take photos and by the time we picked them up, they were covered in frost. Our clothes were white with frost too.
It was a quick descent as we dropped down a good way to a sheltered spot to have a wee bite to eat. The rest of the way down was fine, very steep and sore on the legs at the bottom but not too bad.
We went back to the hostel to meet Hilary, had a quick shower and then set off out for dinner. We didn?t have too much to drink or make it a late night as we knew we had a big day tomorrow.