Skiddaw: Maiden mountain climbing

Skiddaw: Maiden mountain climbing




Mixed feelings about Skiddaw as my first mountain

Skiddaw had been chosen for our next trip as it was so close to where we had already been. Again we parked in Keswick town centre and set off through the park. No fake map purchased this time thank you very much!

A few months after we ventured out in the torrential downpour to walk Latrigg our next trip was here. We were keen to get out again and this time tackle a mountain.

After making our way to the bottom of Skiddaw we became aware that there was indeed a car park situated right there – just in case you didn’t want to waste half an hour walking there from the town centre. Another win for our research and navigation skills.

Skiddaw was the first mountain that I hiked and to be honest to this day I still have mixed feelings about it.

Mythical summits and a bloody good friendship grows stronger

To say I was a miserable sod after about an hour would be a lie. Pete will testify it was certainly a lot earlier than that.

So far we had discovered we had a natural ability for terrible hiking on days the weather was terrible. This time it wasn’t just rain we also got pelted by hail stone. As we slugged on it’s safe to say my ‘positive’ mood was not being helped at all by Pete. Constantly pointing to the nearest rock above us saying ‘you see that rock, that’s the summit’.

Each time we reached these mythical summits of his, a part of me might have actually died. After the third one I turned and asked if he had ever hiked this mountain before, even though i already knew the answer. Replying with a straight “No” I very ‘politely’ asked him to shut the fuck up and stop lying to me.

Honestly he was brilliant the entire time to be fair to him. Simply trying to motivate me to keep going in some pretty harsh conditions.

When discussing this trip with him recently he described it perfectly. “I will always think of that walk very fondly, so much fun in adverse conditions and a bloody good friendship grew stronger from it”.

A true ‘Dumb and Dumber’ moment

It was true as well, in-between my little mood swings there were plenty of laughs. We always had a laugh in the pub but this was something different.

Looking back I honestly feel it was at this point I started to really fall in love with walking. Still, I was yet to fully understand the joy and balance hiking would bring to my life.

Once we reached the summit it was a complete hail storm with pretty much zero visibility. Unable to see Pete who was stood a few feet from me we wasted little time in heading back down.

As we started our descent of Skiddaw we left the worst of the weather above us Pete was saying how cold his hands were. This was in-between taking the piss out of me for being a miserable sod – but the best was yet to come.

A true dumb and dumber moment.

As we approached the foot of the mountain I remembered i’d packed a spare pair of gloves. Without thinking I literally re-enacted one of my favourite comedies “shit i’ve got a spare pair of gloves in my bag if you want them?”

Needless to say Pete didn’t want them by then. He probably just wanted the feeling in his fingers back so he could strangle me. In all fairness he had been lucky to even make the summit with all of his ‘that’s the summit right there’ garbage. We were even.

Freezing cold and wet on a mountain – we have to do it again

Back home we kept up tradition of a pint and discussing our favourite bits of the day. We headed to our local for a few pints and something to eat. As always we had a laugh about another day freezing cold and wet on a mountain in the Lake District. The lasting comment “we would have to do it again”.

Maybe Skiddaw put me off slightly or maybe other things just took priority but whatever the reason we wouldn’t hit the mountains again for three years.

Most of our talking comes whilst having a pint in the Moorside Farm. December 2016 was no different. Having another one of our more heart-to-heart chats reminiscing about the walks from three years earlier.

One of our friends had come to the bar and overheard the conversation. He expressed an interest to get out and do a walk with us if we were doing another one. Ten minutes later we had another recruit in another friend who also expressed an interest.

There and then we set a date in January and made the decision we would walk Blencathra. Having heard great things about this one we were eager to get going again.

I’d been a regular in this pub for years and had no idea these mates had a love for the outdoors. Completely by chance we had the start of our very own walking group.

It highlighted to me how much time you can spend with the same individuals and still not know you actually enjoy the same hobbies.

I think this especially true with men and our reluctance to speak about our feelings.


  • Mike Richardson

    Mike is a Mancunian who is usually found hiking the Mountains in the Lake District. He has a passion for the outdoors and loves a pint after a day in the Mountains.

Mike Richardson

Mike is a Mancunian who is usually found hiking the Mountains in the Lake District. He has a passion for the outdoors and loves a pint after a day in the Mountains.

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