Way back in 2009, during a day trip up to Keswick, we took the launch across Derwent Water and made an attempt on Catbells. This is a relatively small fell (shaped like a mountain but not high enough to be counted as one) which dominates the skyline on the west shore of Derwent Water. It’s a popular climb and one extolled by Alfred Wainwright for the variety of the climb and the views. In his guide to the North Western Fells he tells us
Catbells is one of the great favourites, a family fell where grandmothers and infants can climb the heights together, a place beloved. It’s popularity is well deserved: it’s shapely topknot attracts the eye, offering a steep but obviously simple scramble to the small summit.
Unfortunately due to a lack of time (and, it has to be admitted, a lack of fitness!!) we never made it to the top during that visit. So we were determined to put that right during our short break in Keswick last weekend. It was a grey day, but the weather forecast suggested that it was unlikely to rain, so we set out mid morning on Sunday and took the launch from Keswick over the lake to Hawse End, the nearest stop to the start of the walk.
It’s only a short walk to the gate at the bottom of the fell.
As we climbed, there were great views back down to Derwent Water and Keswick with Skiddaw and Blencathra on the horizon
and, to the west, down Newlands Valley
There were some tricky sections, which required a scramble up some steep sections of bare rock
We made the lower of the two summits where we had stopped the last time we attempted the ascent. The main summit was straight ahead.
Another steep climb with some scrambling, and we reached the summit.
Looking back along the path:
The views were exceptional, even on a grey day
It was only midday, so we decided to continue onwards to the next fell – Maiden Moor
An easier climb than Catbells, the path being a little more gradual and less scrambling. It’s a broad moor rather than a rocky peak so there is no clearly defined summit. But we stopped for a bite to eat at the cairn which probably marks the highest point
Looking back to Catbells
After a short stop we decided to head towards the next visible high point, Blea Crag
This isn’t counted as a “proper” fell in it’s own right, but part of High Spy. But it’s a great viewpoint with vistas along the Borrowdale valley and he high peaks.
Unfortunately mist was rolling in
so we decided we’d turn back towards Derwent Water.
We descended via the steep path from Hause Gate, the Col between Maiden Moor and Catbells, and then followed the wooded lake shore to Hawse End to catch the launch back to Keswick