About the challenge
The Lake District National Park is renowned for its beautiful hills, valleys and lakes, a wonderful and inspiring natural playground. Skiddaw (931m) is the fourth highest mountain in England. Its iconic pyramid shape is easily recognisable from Keswick, where we start our adventure. Setting off as it gets dark, we tackle the long, gradual climb to its summit cairn. As we descend we’ll see the sun rise over the surrounding peaks, with Derwentwater in the distance – an unforgettable experience. We celebrate our huge achievement with a slap-up breakfast back in Keswick!
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Day 1: Arrive Keswick
We’ll meet in the evening in Keswick in the heart of the Lake District, and get ready for our trek. We’ll have a carb-loading dinner and a full briefing, and once the sun has set we set off on our exciting night challenge! We walk along fairly flat footpaths – enjoy it while it lasts! – which soon start to head uphill as we cross fields, following the Cumbria Way towards Lattrigg. As we come to the foot of the mountain we cross a beck and ascend steadily. We may still be able to see Keswick and Derwentwater below us, as well as silhouettes of the surrounding hills. As it gets darker we’ll get out our head-torches – very atmospheric! The path is well-maintained and wide, and the gradient relatively steady almost all the way, though it’s a long haul. Passing the lesser summit of Little Man (865m), we continue on to Skiddaw itself. At the top, we enjoy the silence of the mountain in the middle of the night, while below us lies a sleeping Lake District. We have gained over 800m in height since we set off – a real achievement!
Day 2: Descend and depart
After time to enjoy the summit experience – though you may not want to linger long if it’s cold – we descend the same way initially, then take a different route which brings us more steeply and quickly down to Millbeck; it’s then flatter as we walk back to Keswick. On the way down we’ll enjoy wonderful sunrise views over the Lake District, with Derwentwater before us. The descent will be less tiring, but can be hard on the knees. We return to Keswick for a big celebration breakfast! After saying our farewells to our fellow trekkers, we head home, tired but very elated!
Trek approx 6-8 hours
Discover Adventure reserves the right to change the route or itinerary for safety reasons should local conditions dictate.
The tour cost includes breakfast at the end and snacks, and experienced Discover Adventure leaders and back-up support.
It does not include personal travel insurance (optional), extra food, drinks, souvenirs or personal items, or any transport or parking costs. We strongly recommend you carry a credit card in case of personal emergency.
A big breakfast is provided at the end of the trek. Snacks to carry with you will also be provided. The food is good and there is plenty of it!
Being vegetarian or having other dietary requirements is not usually a problem provided you let us know well in advance. If you know there are plenty of foods you cannot eat you may wish to bring extra snacks from home so you can top up your energy supply. Please feel free to ask us for advice.
Discover Adventure Crew
Your trip will be led by experienced Discover Adventure leaders. Our leaders are selected for their experience in harsh wilderness environments, knowledge of travel in remote areas, friendliness and approachability, sense of humour and ability to safely and effectively deal with any situation that arises. They are also trained in expedition first-aid. You are in very safe hands with a Discover Adventure leader. The number of crew looking after you will depend on the final size of your group, but the team will be looking after every aspect of your trip whether that’s leading the trek or making your breakfast! At Discover Adventure we pride ourselves on our high leader: trekker ratio and believe it leads to greater trip enjoyment as well as excellent trip safety.
Your safety, and that of the rest of the group, is our highest priority. Our trips are designed and planned with safety in mind. Your crew will be equipped with radios and mobile phones, medical kit and other safety apparatus where necessary. They always have access to our 24-hour emergency UK back-up. Our leaders are responsible for safety on the trip, and will make any changes to the itinerary they deem necessary should local conditions dictate. Pre-trip administration – such as compulsory medical questionnaires – is all done with your safety in mind.
Preparing for the challenge
The paths we use are generally wellmaintained and vary from flattish footpaths to gradual slopes with some steeper inclines and rocky ground. In wet weather it can be slippery in places. In the dark it’s easier to lose your footing or become disoriented, so we take it easy. There will be marshals or lit markers on any sections of the route which are not clear.
You will trek approximately 10 miles on the night, though it would be a mistake to base your training on this! It’s vital when training to think about the hours you need to walk for and the terrain you are walking on – ie purely uphill, followed by purely downhill.
The mountains that make up Lake District National Park are stunning and beautiful on a good day but this can lead to a false sense of security; mountain environments must always be respected. The summit is considerably cooler than at the base, more likely to get rain, and can be exposed to high winds. Weather conditions can change rapidly during the course of a day. This can make a big difference to your safety, particularly if you are ill-equipped.
Clothing & Equipment
We are trekking in a hazardous mountain environment where we could be exposed to extremes of weather at any time so be prepared for all weathers and temperatures. Weather conditions can change quickly. We provide you with a detailed packing kit-list on registration, as well as details on useful discounts you are entitled to as a Discover Adventure customer. We are always available if you need advice. Our tour leaders may decide to change the route for safety reasons should local conditions dictate. They have the knowledge and experience to make these decisions. Snowdon is very popular with walkers and this environment needs the respect of all its users to be preserved. Please walk on the path surface rather than on the vegetation growing beside it, don’t remove stones from the paths and don’t take short-cuts. Please follow the Countryside Code.
Our challenges attract people of all levels of experience and fitness, all ages and backgrounds. We expect all participants to train hard in advance to achieve this challenge, but we respect everyone’s limits. We design our challenges so that everyone can go at their own pace: this is not a race. For logistical and safety reasons we sometimes need to re-group, so the front walkers will find themselves waiting for the slower ones. Please relax, and remember that this is a team effort that enables people to achieve their personal goals and earn sponsorship.
Worlwide Sustainable Tourism
Long before ‘Responsible Tourism’ became a recognised phrase, we designed and ran our trips to ensure they made minimum impact on the environment and a positive impact on the local communities we pass through.
Discover Adventure Projects
We are supporting a tree-planting project in Peru and a children’s project in Tanzania on a long-term basis. If you would like to ‘give something back’ please consider donating £5 to our projects when you sign up. Please see our website for more details.
We encourage all our customers to offset emissions connected with their trip. You can offset at any time in the lead-up to departure by visiting Climate Care via our website and making a donation to a worthwhile project supported by them. Alternatively, if you wish to take more practical action in the UK you can volunteer for a day with The Conversation Volunteers and work on an environmental project local to you. Work may include construction footpaths, dry stone walling, creating wildlife habitats or planting trees in your community. Volunteer today at www.tcv.org.uk or call 01302 388883.