Castlerigg, Great Wood and Derwent Water


Leaving Castlerigg stone circle we took the narrow metalled road heading south towards Castlerigg farm. Conditions were pretty treacherous underfoot through the fields but we persevered yomping though the gloop until we came to farm where we joined the path alongside Brockle Beck in the direction towards Keswick.

Views started to open up down to Derwent Water and Cat Bells on the western shore


We took a left turn and set off along the path which would take us through Great Wood and the lake.




Just after the National Trust Car Park we crossed over the Borrowdale Road and followed the path along the lake shore back to Keswick. – taking care to avoid the dangerous wildlife!





The rain held off until we reached the jetty near the Theatre by the Lake.  A little window browsing in the shops in Keswick and then we headed back up the hill to our B and B and a nice cup of tea!

A pleasant but not very demanding walk and a good start to the holiday!


Catbells, Maiden Moor and Blea Cragg


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



Walla Crag

We arrived in Keswick a little before midday. As we had tickets for the theatre and had a table booked at Morrell’s restaurant for a pre-theatre meal and needed to check into our B and B   before then, we decided to start our break with a modest walk up Walla Crag.

We set out from the car park by Derwent Water, cutting through town and then down Springs Road toward the woods and the path towards the fells.


Climbing up the fell, views of the surrounding countryside opened up.

Looking back towards Keswick with Skiddaw towering over the town


On reaching the summit there were great views over the lake towards Cat Bells and the mountains on the far side of Newlands Valley


The Summit of Bleaberry Fell, about a mile away, looked tempting


but time was limited so we made our way down towards the lake shore


descending via the very steep path down Cat Gill



Reaching the lake shore there were great views over to Cat Bells and down Borrowdale to the high fells

We followed the footpath along the lake back towards  Keswick.

We cam across this sculpture on the lake shore in Calfclose bay. The Centenay Stone is a work by Peter Randall-Page, created from a large boulder of local Borrowdale volcanic rock which was split and carved by the artist to commemorate the National Trust’s centenary in 1995.




We continued back down the shore to the car park, stopping to look back down the lake.DSC07255

A long weekend in Keswick

Last weekend we decided to treat ourselves to a short break in the Lake District. We booked ourselves into a fancy B and B in Keswick, driving up on Saturday and staying for a couple of nights.

Keswick is a market town and tourist centre (ever since Georgian times) in the North Lake District, on Derwent Water


Surrounded by dramatic scenery

It’s always a bit of a gamble booking a beak in the Lakes where most of the enjoyment is spending time outdoors, but we were lucky with the weather for the first two days. It was overcast and cloudy (so not great for taking photos with the light flat and grey)


but it didn’t rain and the sun broke through a few times. The autumn colours were breaking out


We managed a couple of walks, half a day on Saturday and a long day out on Sunday.

It rained on Monday, but we’d planned on mooching round Keswick and visiting the Wordsworth House in Cockermouth, and neither were dependant on good weather.


We also managed to have a rather nice meal out and a visit to the theatre (the Theatre by the Lake in Keswick). So all in all a very good break.

Day out in the Lakes

Derwent Water from Cat Bells

Looking towards Keswick from Cat Bells

View from Cat Bells

View from Cat Bells

Waiting for the Ferry

Waiting for the Ferry

The weather forecase yesterday was pretty good, so I took another day off work and headed up tot he Lake District. We parked up in the car park by the lakeside at Keswick and took the launch over Derwent Water to Low Brandleow where we started the ascent up Cat Bells.  Unfortunately as we only arrived midday and the launch was running on the winter timetable we only had enough time to get up to the first summit before we had to turn back so we could catch the last launch back to Keswick to retrieve the car. Nevertheless the climb was worth it for the views even if we didn’t make it all the way to the top.

Cat bells from Derwent Water

Cat bells from Derwent Water

View of Derwent Water from Cat Bells

View of Derwent Water from Cat Bells

Afterwards we had a wander round Keswick and had a coffee beore driving down towards Windermere past Helvelyn, Thirlmere and Grasmere.  We stopped off in Ambleside where we found a really good Italian restaurant (Dodds on Rydal Road) where we ate. The menu was more imaginative than the usual fare and the food delicious and good value – highly recommended. We had a wander round the town before heading back home.

Dodds resteraunt, Ambleside - great food at a good price

Dodds restaurant, Ambleside – great food at a good price