31st December 2006

Braving the elements to top 1,000 miles walked in 2006 - Keswick to Watendlath (and back)


Walk Overview
Time 09.00 to 12.40
Duration 3 hr 40 min
Distance 10.2 mile
Ascent 1512 ft
Walking with On my own
Keswick - Derwent Water - Ashness Bridge - Watendlath Beck - Watendlath - Road back to Borrowdale - Derwent Water - Keswick
Fells visited
Directory places visited

Starting Point Information Centre
Car park, Keswick

There are so many car parks and so many roadside options in Keswick I've grouped them all together into one. To state the obvious, the car parks all charge and the roadside parking is rather a hit and miss affair.


Route Map

Derwent Water with Grisedale Pike and Whinlatter behind. I really didn't intend to get out today at all, the forecast was for strong winds and heavy rain and I didn't fancy walking in that. However, yesterday I was working out how far I'd walked during 2006 and when the figure came out at just under the 1000 mile mark, I thought I can't leave it at that. So I had a walk out from Keswick to Watendlath just to reach that magic 1000 mile in a single year.

As I was walking along the shore I could see that some of the fell tops were clear, it wasn't raining too much and the wind wasn't that strong. "Looks like the forecasters got it wrong again" came to mind. Little did I know just how heavy the rain would get and how much the wind would pick up as the walk progressed.

A grey looking Derwent Water. The small pointed fell at the far end of the lake if Castle Crag.

Ashness Farm, found just above the road between Ashness Bridge and Watendlath.

It was bucketing down now as walked along the road above the farm. I know things look a bit drab in these conditions, but the dead bracken, the moss and the grasses were still blending together to show off some nice colours through the woods.

A little further on I left the road and followed this track down to the bridge over Watendlath Beck.

Looking back to the bridge. The route I'd followed came into the picture from the right hand side of the beck.

Looking back again. Now I was walking into the driving rain, the wind was howling and I briefly asked myself what I was actually doing here. The building on the right of the picture is the one I stopped at to have something to eat later in the walk.

Almost at Watendlath now and another little wooden bridge to cross.

The view back along the valley. The road I used on the return journey can just be seen on the right hand side of the beck.

The packhorse bridge over Watendlath Beck. It seems quite fitting, not only that the final walk of the year should include Watendlath, but that I should reach the 1000 mile mark at (or near to) Watendlath which is my favourite place in the Lake District.

During the summer months a walk along this road would be spoiled a little by the number of cars that use this route. Each one jostling for space and no doubt thinking they have more right to be on the road than everyone else. Not so today though, apart from a tractor which passed me just after I took this photo, I had the road to myself or at least until I eventually returned to Ashness Bridge.

One final picture from 2006. Looking back towards the Watendlath end of the valley. I had something to eat in the old farm building found a little further along the road. It was then that the rain and the wind really got going, not the normal annoying stuff, but this was true Lakeland rain; relentless, unforgiving and without a care for the discomfort caused to anyone foolish enough to brave the elements on such a day. It was now a case of, camera in the rucksack, head down and trying to convince myself that Keswick isn't really that far away. Is it ?

David Hall -
Lake District Walks