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Braithwaite Court

Cumbria, England

Catbells walking and hiking route

Total distance
Total ascent

Start Point

The 77/77A 'Honister Rambler' bus calls at Catbells

Catbells is a graceful peak of modest height (1481ft. - 451m), attractive from north, east or west, but perhaps best seen from the Friar's Crag area of Derwentwater.

To quote the legendary A. Wainwright, 'Catbells is one of the great favorites, a family fell where grandmothers and infants can climb the heights together, a place beloved'.

'Words cannot adequately describe the rare charm of Catbells, nor its ravishing view'. There is nothing more to be said except that the long steep ascent includes two safe mini scrambles on rock, otherwise the paths are wide, engineered in places, with the return terrace in every way rivalling the celebrated Loughrigg Terrace at Grasmere. There are no stiles or gates. Refreshments: None en route. Swinside Inn nearby.


Walk Instructions

Start up the track rising steeply through the bracken from the Keswick end of the car park. From the roadside parking areas, a track starting a little way further along the Grange road can be used. The two come together in a short distance.

1) The route is very obvious, weaving its way steeply up the hillside. Frequent stops for views are indicated. Behind, to the north, Skiddaw is splendid over the vale of Keswick, with Blencathra to its right. To the right Causey Pike is dominant at the near end of the shapely group of north-western fells. Pass a memorial plaque to Thomas Leonard at the first mini scramble. In front is a 'false top', soon revealed as the real top looms into view ahead. Descent to a little saddle with paths right and left, before tackling the final section to the summit, a platform of seamed and pitted rock. The views now include Hindscarth and Robinson, closing off the head of the Newlands Valley, with Red Pike (Buttermere) peeping through a gap. Helvellyn and Glaramara. Spread out below is glorious Derwentwater, with wooded islands.

2) Descend over rock to resume along the wide path along the ridge heading towards the loftier eminence of Maiden Moor, soon descending to the saddle, Hause Gate. Turn left to start the real descent on a good path through the bracken, engineered in the steepest places. After about 1/2 miles from Hause Gate, turn left at a junction then, in less than a further 150 yards, join a more major track.

3) Turn left to head back along a delightful track terraced well above Derwentwater, with a grandstand view of the lake and its mountain backdrop, soon passing a seat and memorial plaque in honour of Sir Hugh Walpole ('Rogue Herries'), who lived at Brackenburn, nearby. Pass the occasional stream and seat.

4) Join the little road by a former quarry but leave it in a few yards to resume along the track, rising gently for a short distance. Rejoin the minor road, turning left to walk for 100 yards or so to the junction signposted 'Skelgill'. Turn left to return to the car park in 150 yards.


Disclaimer: This route was correct at time of writing. However, alterations can happen if development or boundary changes occur, and there is no guarantee of permanent access. These walks have been published for use by site visitors on the understanding that neither HPB Management Limited nor any other person connected with Holiday Property Bond is responsible for the safety or wellbeing of those following the routes as described. It is walkers' own responsibility to be adequately prepared and equipped for the ‎level of walk and the weather conditions and to assess the safety and accessibility of the walk.


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