A circular, full-day mountain (above 600m) walk in England starting at Keswick, Cumbria, about 18km (roughly 12 miles) long and unsuitable for families with children, prams/pushchairs, wheelchairs. Skiddaw has an undeserved reputation as a bit of a slog. Many people want to climb it as it tops the magic 3,000 feet mark, but if you trudge up and down the Little Man route, well, you get what you deserve. Instead, make a full day of the trip and explore some of the surrounding hills as you go. I have it on good authority from a lifelong Lake District resident that this route - via Carl Side and Ullock Pike - is the best way. So give Skiddaw the respect it deserves and do it properly! Start: Keswick, OS Grid: NY268235 Elevation Profile (x: waypoint number, y: metres)
Gain (+/- 10%): 1341m (4400ft)
Total (+/- 10%): 2693m (8836ft)
Loss (+/- 10%): 1352m (4436ft)
Max. Elevation: 910m (2985ft)
You can take the bus from Keswick to Applethwaite, but it's a pleasant enough walk and a good warm up. Head for Briar Rigg and take the footpath towards Ormathwaite and Applethwaite.
Follow the Allerdale Ramble route to Millbeck, and take the right-hand fork heading up to Carl Side.
Continue on to Carl Side, a subsidiary peak of Skiddaw. Great views across to Bassenthwaite Lake from here.
It's a short hop from Carl Side to Skiddaw, at 931m.
From Skiddaw, return to Carl Side and head along Longside Edge towards Ullock Pike. Continue along The Edge until Ling How.
At Ling How, turn back on yourself and take the Allerdale Ramble towards Ravenstone. Continue on the path towards the lake shore.
The path continues along the lake for a short section, before entering Thornthwaite Forest. This is actually on a small hill - Dodd - so if you still have energy to burn, wind up the forest tracks the top.
The final stretch is a riverside walk along the River Derwent, which flows from Derwent Water into Bassenthwaite Lake. Much more enjoyable than battling with the crowds on Little Man!
The path continues through Portinscale and into Keswick. The fish and chips in Keswick town centre are hard to beat if you need filling up after a long day out!