Skiddaw House is a remote hostel in the North Lakes, one of only two Youth Hostels in England that you cannot drive to (the other is Black Sail).
It’s a former shooting lodge that first became a YH in the 1980s, it unfortunately closed in the late 90s and was effectively abandoned. It was taken over by a trust some years ago now and is run as an independent hostel affiliated to the YHA, and they’ve made a good job doing the place up.
The hostel is spacious with good sized bedrooms and living quarters; it makes a comfortable off-grid base to climb the Hills “back o Skiddaw”.
The Hostel sits at an elevation of 470m on the lower slopes of Skiddaw (one of the four 3000ft mountains in England), and our plan was to climb this hill on the Saturday. You could probably get to the summit of Skiddaw within an hour directly from the door of the hostel if you wanted, but our walk first meant losing all that lovely height, passing the waterfall of Whitewater Dash along the track to just above Bassenthwaite Lake before the climb up Ullock Pike, the first of six Wainwrights we would climb that day. We had lunch on Carl Side before climbing into the mist that enshrouded the summit of Skiddaw. The descent was via Skiddaw Lower Man and Lonscale Fell. This was a pleasant place to linger and snooze with the sun now shining, the summer flowers were stunning and the Skylarks doing their thing.
Rain was forecast for Sunday afternoon; we had decided to climb Blencathra with an option of ‘doing’ Sharp Edge, a short section of a knife-edge ridge with some mild exposure, it was misty anyway so there was no view of the abyss that was no doubt below us. The rain held off sufficiently to make our descent back to the cars parked at the foot of the hill. Those of us driving home were envious of those who had elected to stay an additional night on the Sunday at this remote and peaceful hostel.