If somebody had said to me a few years ago that I would choose to walk 3 miles up Skiddaw, in the pitch black, to go to sleep in place without electricity or central heating. Then carry on walking through snow and blowing gales in almost zero visibility up the 4th highest peak in the UK . Just to find a Tupperware box and have a coffee with friends. I would have told them “no way” I would look for another hostel in the Lakes. However, if you begin to break it down into smaller sections, then the task becomes less daunting, the challenge becomes enjoyable. It was certainly lovely when I got in the warm and my legs stopped shaking.
I left my car in the dusk, having parked as close as I could get by road to the hostel , and set out towards SKIDDAW HOUSE This walk of around 3 miles was surprisingly easy and I did it almost entirely by moonlight – using my torch only a few times to make sure my footing was safe. The silhouette of the mountains around looked like I was taking a very nice walk, perhaps in daylight the views would have been lovely. The night was clear which gave amazing views of the night sky. I have never seen so many stars and could even make out the Milky Way. I tried so hard to get a good image that I could no longer feel my fingers out in the cold and dark. I will return with a tripod and shutter remote to make the most of this stunning location – although next time I won’t walk up in the dark.
Skiddaw House Hostel was an oasis of warmth and light from the surrounding moonlit wilderness. There was a warm welcome from the staff and other guests. They had even saved me a massive bowl of chilli and rice. The large kitchen/diner area was buzzing with banter as people planned the strategy for climbing to the summit of Skiddaw the following day. The rooms were nicely furnished and much warmer than I had prepared for and it was a nice blast from the past to see sheet sleeping bags still used.
The next day dawned to blizzards, snow, gales and almost zero visibility. But that did not prevent us from climbing the 4th highest peak in the UK . We found the Tupperware box we were looking for, and if you’re still wondering why it was there and how we knew, you should find out a bit more about GeoCaching, why not start by reading my UkCachemag Magazine.