18th December 2010

Snowy Cat Bells


Walk Overview
Time 10.00 to 14.25
Duration 4 hr 25 min
Distance 9.7 mile
Ascent 2000 ft
Walking with On my own
Portinscale - Nichol End - Overside Wood - Skelgill Bank - Cat Bells - Hause Gate - Manesty - Great Bay - Borrowsale Road - Barrow Bay - Calfclose Bay - The Ings - Keswick - Stormwater Bridge
Fells visited
Directory places visited

Starting Point Information Centre
Roadside parking near Portinscale suspension bridge

This is somewhere I tend to start walking from qutie a lot. It's nice and handy for Keswick, Borrowdale, Newlands Valley, Skiddaw, Latrigg and even the Castlerigg Stone Circle area.

The parking is free and no matter at what time of year or time of day I've always managed to get a space here.

From here you're only about 10 minutes walk from Keswick with everything the town has to offer, and in the opposite direction you're less than 5 minutes walk from Portinscale.


Route Map

Well, here it is again; snow, ice and dodgy driving conditions. The biggest surprise of all was when I looked out of the window this morning and we'd had about four inches of snow at home. Generally we don't get that much snow nearer to the coast so this was notable in itself.

A view across to the Whinlatter Forest area.

It's only the boats that give you a hint that there's actually a lake here.

That's where I'm heading, but first I need to get there.

At the bottom of Cat Bells now, where it was time to loose the jacket, put on the spikes and take this picture looking across Newlands Valley to Causey Pike, Outerside and Barrow.

It all looks a bit grim when it's like this. I know it's a shame, but I suppose it's just another of the many faces of Lakeland.

The weather has obviously kept people off the fells today. It was 11am on a Saturday and the lack of footprints prove I was the first person up here today.

A snowy Newlands Valley with Bassenthwaite Lake in the distance.

Ahead of me is Cat Bells summit.

Looking down to the head of Newlands Valley, closed in at the end by Hindscarth, Robinson and on the right hand side is Ard Crags.

Cat Bells summit to myself, fantastic.

Just past the summit and looking across to Hindscarth and Robinson.

Now I had the most difficult part of the walk, , , , having to decide which way to I wanted to walk next. Turn right and head down to Newlands or turn left and head down to Borrowdale. For no particular reason, I decided on Borrowdale.

Looking back up to Cat Bells summit.

Heading down to Borrowdale and at this point, with the intention of walking along the side of Cat Bells and back the way I came. Once I got to the road I decided to carry on and do a full circuit of the lake - again.

A view down to Derwent Water. The dark fell on the right is Walla Crag.


It was here on the road next to Manesty that I took off the spikes; big mistake, , , ,

Once I'd wiped the blood off my hand I took the photo looking back along the path.
"Blood, what blood?"
"I thought you'd say that". "It was the ice you see. Well, actually it was the ice I didn't see that done it. I slipped, ended up flat on my back and unluckily for me, my hand went through the ice."
It's amazing how much blood comes out of a small cut.

Looking back along the boardwalk

and now looking ahead.


Well, if you were wondering how thick the ice is this should help satisfy your inquisitiveness.


At the landing stage found in Barrow Bay.

Derwent Water.

Cat Bells, seen on the opposite side of Derwent Water.


No sailing at Keswick today. Apart from the ice, there was only about half a dozen people here anyway.

As I headed back to the car the sun decided to put in an appearance. Better late than never I suppose.

And finally, a view across to the Skiddaw fells.

David Hall -
Lake District Walks