hiking | Skiddaw and Little Man
What and where is Skiddaw?
Looming high above Keswick Skiddaw and it's associated (and often overlooked) Little Man offer incredible views over the surrounding valleys in good weather.
Skiddaw itself is the 6th highest peak in England at 931m. It has a well trodden tourist track that has been present since Victorian times, making it one of the simpler fells to ascend which makes it a great hike for the average walker. The summit ridge bears a number of tops, which from north to south are known as North Top, High Man (the summit), Middle Top and South Top.
Little Man is often ignored despite being a Wainwright in itself. Don't make that mistake! The views are often (in our opinion) much better than from the top of Skiddaw itself due to its location, so make sure you bag this peak while you are up there.
Remember The Rules and have fun!
Get this route
Download our route and follow this yourself from either OS Maps or ViewRanger. OS Maps requires a subscription, which luckily you can get 10% off with Northern Stroll on any 12 month subscription. Check out our blog post for the code.
ViewRanger is free and much like OS Maps doesn't require any data to work. All you need is a GPS signal, especially if you have downloaded your maps beforehand. It also has OS Maps available as a layer inside the app.
Don't have ViewRanger on your phone yet? See our guide, or download it in your app store.
Before you go...
The weather can change often in this area and phone batteries can struggle to hold charge in the cold. In addition, a sudden onset of fog can mean you lose your sense of direction. Always carry a paper map (find yours here), make sure you know how to use it and note down the number for mountain rescue. Better safe than sorry.
Starting at the Underskiddaw car park (easily found at the very end of the road) leave the gate at the end of the car park and turn left, following the wall and barbed wire until you come to a fence and gate.
Head through the gate and you will be confronted with a (very) obvious grey path ascending the side of the Skiddaw range and associated peaks. No need to stray from the path, head straight up.
Once you've ascended Little Man you will easily be able to see the grey path continuing around to the North you need to follow (weather dependent). Cross to the opposite side you came up and keep heading towards the taller peak that is the start of the Skiddaw range.
On summiting the next peak turn right and follow the shale ridge until you reach a trig point. If the weather gets foggy (it often can) make sure you don't start descending! This area is quite exposed, so be careful in windy weather.
Once you've bagged the peak, turn around and come back to the starting end of the ridge. There are a number of shale paths leading down the right hand side of the fell towards the flatter area of Carlside. Make sure you take care underfoot, these are quite loose areas. If you don't fancy your luck and the weather turns bad you can always head back down the way you came either via Little Man or the route around it towards the car park for a linear route.
Once you've descended to the lower area between Longside Edge and Carl Side ascend the hill directly to your front. Once on top and facing back towards Keswick follow the single path back down through the heather and bracken.
Once on the road, follow it for a good while through the village and out the other side, until you reach the sign pointing you up to the left back towards the car park you originally parked in (same sign). Follow the road back up the hill to your start point!
Key things to know:
Time: About 3-5 hours depending on your speed. Take your time, it can get quite loose underfoot!
Distance: 6.82 miles there and back.
Elevation: 2,872 feet
Calorie burning opportunity: Exceptional.
Photo opportunities rating: 10/10 if the weather is right. Simply stunning.
Nearby pubs: Plenty in the Keswick. Make sure you sample at least one before you leave!
Safety: PLEASE take the time to read this leaflet from Mountain Rescue and also note down the important contact numbers.
How to get here:
Postcode: CA12 4PH
We parked at the Underskiddaw car park early on and there was a decent amount of room. However coming back there seemed to be a lot of people parking on the verges and blocking the road. Make sure you get there early, or park considerately.