A short and fairly easy, circular walk up the ever popular Cat Bells. Starting from parking on the roadside just outside the village of Grange, this walk ascends Cat Bells from the South and descends north to join paths through the parkland and woods above and beside Derwent Water.
Calculated time is computed with the distance, the height difference, and an average speed of 2.2 mph. For an intermediate walker, this time includes small breaks.
There is no parking in the village of Grange unless you are a resident. The road from Grange to Keswick on the west side of the lake is narrow but there are places where it is wide enough to park cars in a safe and sensible way, This walk is from one such place just before the Borrowdale Gates hotel, where there is space for 4 or five cars, parked sensibly either side of the road. If full, drive north and there is more parking on the right beneath Cat Bells and then, a little further north, a path that slants southwards to join the walk as described below, between points (3) and (4).
(D/A) Park sensibly, please do not obstruct the road. Walk towards the hotel and turn left through the gate. Follow the path that slants south west across the field to a second gate in a dry stone wall.
(1) Go through the gate and head uphill with a wall to the right of the path (do not take the track that slants leftwards). The grass path will lead past a small water treatment plant and to a junction with a path.
(2) Turn right and follow the path, with a wall on your right at first. Cross a stream and keep walking along the track, when you get the chance take the left split in the path which leads uphill and away from the wall. (This path is drier but if you keep on the lower path don't worry as they join further along) The path will pass along the boundary wall, above the buildings (Manesty) to join a wider and well maintained track.
(3) Turn left and follow the wider track uphill. (If you have parked beneath Cat Bells the track slanting in a southerly direction joins the wide track and you will turn right, to head uphill) Follow the path to a place where it flattens out and you can catch your breath and enjoy the views.
(4) The path steepens and follows some zig-zags with stone steps up to the ridge at Hause Gate. Turn right (northwards) and follow the gently ascending path up to the top of Cat Bells.
(5) From the summit continue in a northerly direction, taking care as you descend the initial steeper section. The ridge becomes less steep as is descends over Skelgill Bank. Follow it towards Hawse End and make sure to take the right hand path that descends with views over the lake.
(6) Turn left and cross over the road to a path diagonally opposite which descends beside a fence and which cuts the corner off the road junction. Where it meets the road again, go through a gate and turn right, walk along a narrow path above the road and then as the road bends left take the broader path straight ahead between trees. This will lead you down to a junction with a road leading to the outdoor centre.
(7) Turn right and follow the road towards the outdoor centre. Pass in front of the building, continuing along the road.
(8) Pass a metal gate on the left where a track leads down to the landing stage and a path along the shoreline. (You can take this way if you would rather walk beside the lake than through the park to point 9) Otherwise, ignore the gate and continue straight ahead, passing through a gate beside a cattle grid and then taking the path that leads behind the second outdoor centre building. Follow this path through Brandlehow Park (woods, can be muddy) where it will descend to another landing stage for the Keswick Steamer.
(9) At the landing, stage take the path on the left which runs around headland just above the shoreline. If the water is high and this is flooded take the higher path on the right which ascends over the small headland but make sure to follow the path back down to a visible building if you are walking back to the parking beside the hotel. (If you continue up and right you will come to the road beside the alternative parking described in the opening paragraph) Either route will lead you to a white building and wooden shed covered in postcards. Walk between them and take the road to a second low building made from local slate, passing a gated track to some boathouses. At the second building take the path on the left with a wooden signpost for 'Lodore'. This will lead you around the shoreline. You will pass two bays and as you approach a third you will walk over two sets of boardwalks. Immediately after the second set lookout for a path on the right leading diagonally across the scrubby heath towards a walled off wood.
(10) Turn right along the path heading towards the wood, before the wall, it bends leftwards and then crosses a wooden plank bridge to join a better path. Turn right, pass through a gate and follow the good track to the road (Note this section can be muddy as you cross the scrubby heath to the plank bridge. It is possible to continue along the path passing over more boardwalks to another path on the right, this is usually less muddy). Pass through the gate, turn left and walk along the road for a short way back to your car.(D/A)
D/A : mi 0 - alt. 292ft - Borrowdale Gates Hotel
1 : mi 0.16 - alt. 377ft - Gate
2 : mi 0.3 - alt. 443ft - Stream
3 : mi 1 - alt. 341ft - Allerdale Ramble
4 : mi 1.52 - alt. 1001ft - Zig-zags
5 : mi 2.05 - alt. 1411ft - Cat Bells
6 : mi 3.03 - alt. 476ft - Allerdale Ramble
7 : mi 3.25 - alt. 331ft - Cumbria Way
8 : mi 3.36 - alt. 318ft - Metal gate
9 : mi 4.33 - alt. 305ft - Brandelhow Bay
10 : mi 5.12 - alt. 262ft - Great Bay
D/A : mi 5.98 - alt. 292ft - Borrowdale Gates Hotel
This walk can be wet in places after rain. Whilst Cat Bells is not the highest of the lakeland fells be sure to check the weather forecast before heading out and make sure you have appropriate footwear and clothing. I would recommend boots for this walk in all but the driest conditions.
It is a good option for a short days walk, when the higher fells are clagged in or when there are snow and ice above 400m and you don't have the right kit to go above the snow line.
The walk can be completed in either direction and starting from other parking options along the road.
The most reliable weather forecast can be found here. https://www.mwis.org.uk/forecasts/englis...
Visorando and this author cannot be held responsible in the case of accidents or problems occuring on this walk.
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