Hello, and welcome back to my walking blogs. It has been a while since I documented a walk, i guess life sometimes gets in the way of these things! Anyway, on the back of my Ordnance Survey role it is time to get the rock rolling down the hill again.
Fifty three weeks ago four of us from work set off on a walk up Catbells. Little did we know back then that a beautiful friendship was forming. The Lake Buddies was born!
A year on and with six new members to the group we decided to do an anniversary walk back where it all began. Some of our walks of late have been quite challenging, Skiddaw last month, Grasmoor in December(apologies for lack of blogs around these walks)
This walk was going to be any easy bimble up Catbells to redress the balance. We even intended on using the ferry to get to the start of the walk…That didn’t happen!!
After a convenience stop at our usual service station only to find the toilets out of use we called in to the Rheged centre near Penrith to use their toilets. None of us had been in there before, and were amazed at the building built under a hill. So amazed that we hung around like tourists for that little bit too long! Visit the Rheged Centre
The plan was to catch the 10.30am ferry from Keswick, sail anti clockwise to Hawse End jetty and ascend Catbells from there. However, we arrived at the jetty at approx 10.37am to see the ferry sailing off in to the distance!!! With another not due until 12.30pm it was time for plan B…….Only we didn’t have a plan B!
We jumped back in the cars and headed over to the foot of Catbells to crack on with the walk. There is limited parking up near Skelgill Farm (approx 10 cars), but it is free so get there early if you plan on using it. You already know how late we were running so yes you guessed it…..No spaces. We somehow managed to get the two cars in with some cunning manoeuvring by Sue and Leanne ( or Stig as Leanne is now known)
So finally at 11.15am we were booted up and ready to go….Phew!!
Off they go
The initial pull up from the car park up Skelgill Bank is a bit of a calf burner and catches a lot of people out, me included! Once the body accepts that it is in for workout, the muscles start to relax and the second wind kicks in… so they say!
Catbells is a very popular fell, largely due to its location and accessibility from Keswick. Dare I say it is also a very attractive looking fell, therefore more people tend to visit this fell than the surrounding fells. The Great fell walker Alfred Wainwright described it a little like this “It is one of the great favourites, a family fell where grandmothers and infants can climb the heights together, a place beloved. Its popularity is well deserved, its shapely topknott attracts the eye offering a steep but obviously simple scramble.”
Now I can only assume that the students from Carlisle University had read this the night before and decided to pay a visit to this great favourite, because just as we began our ascent we were met with this…
Now I am all for people enjoying the fells, but I couldn’t help shaking my head at some of the clothing these guys were going up in! Converse trainers(they’ll not be clean again), Skinny jeans, Long skirts….Short skirts!! I am not sure if they were intending on a trip to the cinema and then changed their mind last minute or not but……
Catbells maybe small in comparison to its loftier neighbours but it is still a fell of almost 1500ft. When the weather changes up there it can be as inhospitable as Scafell Pike or Blencathra! Please be sensible with your clothing out there guys, I am not even sure these lot had waterproofs with them? Anyway I wont dwell anymore on this subject!
Just to say though I think the beauty of it was lost on some of them 🙂
On with the walk. As you gain height on to Skelgill Bank the views suddenly open up all around you. Newlands Valley to the West of you, and Derwent water and Keswick to the right. You get some of the best views in Lakeland from Catbells, and that is probably what makes it so popular.
Causey Pike and Newlands Valley
The Lake Buddies are in there somewhere?
Lots of people climbing Catbells think they have reached the summit when they arrive on the top of Skelgill Bank, only to see the great bulk of CB ahead, this can be both disheartening and encouraging at the same time, depending on how you feel at this point.
Catbells summit ahead
There is an old saying in the outdoor community, ” you never climb the same mountain twice”, I kind of agree with this as I have climbed Catbells too many times to remember, but each time has been different. I think it is largely down the company you are in too. Each ascent is as exciting as the last either way.
It was very windy on this climb, and from past experience I know what it is like on the summit in those conditions so we stopped short, found some shelter from the wind and brewed up. After a quick cuppa and a bite to eat it was time to push for the summit.
And here we are on the summit
We didn’t hang around on the summit for long due to the high winds, and it also starting snowing up there!
Still time for a fellfie or two 🙂
We quickly descended Catbells via Hause Gate dropping down into the woods that cling to the shores of Derwent Water. As much as I love to climb high up in to the mountains, I am finding more and more pleasure from wooded walks these days. Maybe it is an age thing? I just feel more appreciative of those surroundings than I did 5 years ago. Also I feel my passion for photography helps as you cant help but get excited about snapping away in the woods!
After a pleasant walk back through the woods we were back at the cars to warm up.
Quick question walking friends……… Where should all good walks end?
In a pub of course…
If you do this walk or any other walk in the Keswick area, then I feel it is my honourable duty to suggest you visit the Dog & Gun for a plate of Hungarian Goulash. Don’t be tempted with the large(my eyes are bigger than my belly) the standard is more than enough haha! Visit the Dog and Gun
The eagle eyed among you will have noticed right at the very start of this blog that I am using a different mapping software to plot my walks (you’ll need a good memory too).
This is the software used for OS maps from Ordnance Survey. If like me you visit the National Parks of Great Britain regularly then this is the software for you. It has a map layer of the national parks pathways. A godsend when plotting a route is that it snaps points and connects the paths for you. I love it. Go give it a try….. OS Maps
Thanks for reading