Monday, 22 September 2014

Walking in Rogue Herries Country Part Two: Up Skiddaw

This is Keswick with the imposing Skiddaw rising above it.  One of the key characters spanning the books in the Herries Chronicles is the fiery Judith Paris who has to constantly battle between her love of living wild and isolated among the fells at Watendlath, and her desire to manage the lives of the more civilised Herries' living at Uldale, just on the other side of Skiddaw.  Keswick plays a recurring role in the books; indeed when we visited, there was a market down the main street and while the wares may have been different from centuries ago, (though there was still wool!), you could certainly squint and picture it as it might have been.

Every time I've visited Keswick, I've wanted to climb Skiddaw, which is the 6th highest peak in England at just over 3050 feet. It's also covered in beautiful heather at this time of year. The first part of the hike is quite a gentle.

Looking east towards Blencathra, one stumbles on this lovely memorial to two 19th century shepherds, father and son, who were also breeders of prize Herdwicks.  I can't help but think of Wordsworth's poem "Michael", hoping this had a happier ending. 

Looking back from the slopes of Skiddaw, you get an amazing view of Keswick, Derwentwater and Catbells and the Newlands Horseshoe prominent among a wave of amazing fells.

Then further up there are more great views of Blencathra or Saddleback as it's also known.

Like many high mountains, Skiddaw can be a slog at times.  And it does have one of the worst false tops I've ever encountered. We're already fairly high up in the photo below and it looks as if there's just one more steep climb ahead of us.

But no - here's what greeted us. Down and up again!

But the views are worth it.  This is almost near the summit, looking west towards Bassenthwaite Lake.

And once down again in the late afternoon, a final smug look back.  Yep, that's another peak crossed off.  And we got back with an hour still to go for browsing in the market.  I did mention a wool stall!


Dayana Knits said...

You really do live in a dreamland, holy moly, I can't believe the heather on that mountain! NO IT IS NOT REAL.

Blithe Spirit said...

You can see where Rowan and other British yarn companies get their colour inspiration from!