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Randel Crag, Skiddaw, Lonscale Fell, Skiddaw House, Whitewater Dash, Cumbria.
[19.4 km]  Wed 31 May 2017

OS Grid ref: NY 23598 30989
Lat/Long: 54.668160, -03.186128

I set off in sunshine with the prospects of good weather for the rest of the day. I headed north on the M6 and left at Penrith then west towards Keswick. On the outskirts of the town I turned right onto the A591 to the narrow lane at Parker Gate. I was planning to start my walk from Peter House Farm but as I drove along the narrow lane there was a road closed ahead sign but no indication where.

Lovely green track
One mile ahead I reached Walkmill Bridge which was closed for repairs. I had to turn around and return to a small car park near High Side. As I left the car thin cloud began to roll in but eventually it cleared. I headed east following a previous route I had walked back in 2006. It follows the route of an old green track which eventually turned into a quad bike track up too Little Knott. I was heading up a ridge towards Skiddaw approaching from the north west. It was very pleasant and easy walking as I walked over Buzzard Knott and then up a steep slope with a small path towards Randel Crag.
Looking across to Ullock Pike

Buzzard Knott

Old slate works on Randel Crag
 I climbed steeply up the final push to a large flat area. It was wide and grassy with occasional signs of slate working and foundations of an old building. It was near here that I had camped on Sat 16 Sep 2006 and because there is no water in the area I’d set up a water dump from a previous walk. After the camp I left the empty plastic bottle which had previously had water in it and left it under a rock. My intention was to return soon to recover it.
My diary at the time (Sun 17 Sep 2006) said “Just before I left I returned the empty plastic water container under the rocks. This isn’t to leave litter but to carry out a controlled experiment. My plan is to retrieve it at some future date and see how the plastic has survived.”

Unearthed after
11 years on the hills
Today's main objective was to recover it but much later than expected. I soon found the empty 2 litre plastic bottle exactly as I have left it 11 years ago. It hadn't deteriorated at all.
Before getting higher and into the cold wind I decided to stop on the east side of the plateau and have my lunch. I then picked the best way I could through the steep slope up to Skiddaw summit. It was steep at with no sign of any path. There were grassy outcrops that I managed to follow most of the way but the adjacent loose slate scree was difficult to cross. On the final approach to the summit I could see the information column to the right and the trig post to the left.

 As expected there were already several people around enjoying the good views and sunshine. I took a couple of pictures then continued over the top heading south. I could see my next objective ahead which was Lonscale Fell. On the main passed down there were many people coming up and some were in large groups. The curious thing about meeting people on the fells is that many smell of spray-on deodorant. At Jenkins Hill I left the path and turn east across open green fell and keeping to the fence on my right. It was very easy walking up to the minor hill on Lonscale Fell then to the edge of the valley looking down into the steep valley to Glenderterra Beck.
Helvellyn information post

Helvellyn trig post

Little Man and Derwent Water

I turned sharp left to follow a faint sheep track which joined the fence line then steeply down to Burnt Horse Ridge. I continued my descent until I met the main Cumbria Way where I turned left to follow the path over the footbridge at Salehow Beck. Up ahead was Skiddaw House which is a Youth Hostel. Although the map shows the path running along the front of the house the actual route goes round the perimeter stone wall enclosure.

Crossing Jenkin Hill
There were several people sitting by the access gate having a break. I briefly went through the gate to take a picture of the front of the house then returned to continue my way along the access track. This track is also the Cumbria way and runs in a straight line making it fairly dreary walking. For a couple of miles I was on the track as far as Whitewater Dash waterfall. The track became more interesting as it descended Birkett Edge down towards the access track to Dash Farm.
Looking back from Lonscale Fell

Skiddaw House

Skiddaw House - Youth Hostel
I reached my original planned start point near Peter House Farm but couldn't return back to my car along the road due to the bridge closure. Fortunately there is a path which bypasses is the road and I followed this down to Mill Beck then along a farm access track to Barkbeth Gill where there is a Ford and Bridge. I crossed the river then turn left and past Hole House Farm and a green path along the hillside. I missed the turn off to the north of Barkbeth Farm I finished up on a track to the south of the farm. It wasn't a problem at all I had to do was turn right at the next track and continue west to join my planned route. I crossed the last two fields to return to my car.
Green path by Barkbeth