2nd March 2013

Cat Bells, Maiden Moor and High Spy


Walk Overview
Time 07.30 to 12.30
Duration 5 hr
Distance 9.5 mile
Ascent 2800 ft
Walking with On my own
Gutherscale - Skelgil Bank - Cat Bells - Hause Gate - Maiden Moor - High Spy - Rigghead Quarries - Tongue Gill - Broadslack Gill - Grange - Derwent Water - path on side of Cat Bells - Gutherscale
Fells visited
Directory places visited

Starting Point Information Centre
Parking spaces, Gutherscale (below Cat Bells)

A convenient car park for an ascent of Cat Bells, and access into both Newlands Valley and Borrowdale, but be warned, if you try to park here in the middle of the day it's doubtful that you'll get a space.

On a positive note, parking is free.


Route Map

Dawn had cracked about 45 minutes ago but it was still early enough for the ground to be frozen and for me to enjoy that early morning atmosphere. For most of the walk I had the place to myself, , , even though there was actually someone else in view.

Looking over Newlands Valley to Causey Pike and Barrow.

Looking ahead to Cat Bells.

The walk up Cat Bells gives one of the best all round views of Newlands Valley. You're high enough to get that 'looking down' aspect, yet you're not so high that you can't see the place in detail. Here I'm looking towards the head of the valley.

Turning round to see the Skelgill Bank end of Cat Bells. Also in the picture are Bassenthwaite Lake, Derwent Water, the Skiddaw Fells and Blencathra.
I think I'm being followed. You can just and so make out a figure walking across the ridge down there. Every time I looked around they there were, sometimes almost close enough to talk to and sometimes as far away as there are now. I'm not sure how they managed to catch up and then drop back so quickly but they did it somehow. The last time I saw them was on the walk past Castle Crag later in the walk. I hope they weren't using me to find their way back to the car park. Once I got down towards Grange, the route I took wasn't an easy one to second guess.

I'm at the top of Cat Bells now and unsurprisingly I have the place to myself; one of the advantages of setting off at the crack of dawn.

A close up of Blencathra with cloud passing over the summit.

Brilliant, in a world that gets more crazy every day, I finally see and example of common sense. Someone has removed one of the totally unnecessary heaps of stones and put them back on the path where they are actually needed.

Looking down to Grange and the Rosthwaite area of Borrowdale. I'll be walking down there later; Grange not Rosthwaite.

On the walk across to Maiden Moor the view opens up to show Cat Bells and of course Newlands Valley and although this may be higher, I still don't think the view is as good (enjoyable) as you get from Cat Bells.

A close up of Seat Sandal and Fairfield. I'll bet it's colder up there today than it was two days ago when I was walking there.

Looking back across to Maiden Moor.
That's the mystery person you can see further back along the path.

A view ahead to High Spy. The big fell on the right is Dale Head.

Some close ups of, , , ,
Great Gable
Bow Fell, Esk Pike and Allan Crags
The Langdales
The scafells

WOW, I wish there was something I could use to add scale. Jennifer is never about when I need her!




Icicles close up.   There is quite a bit of evidence of past industry as you walk through Rigghead Quarries. It's a pity I couldn't get the DeLorian out, fire up the flux capacitor and wiz back in time to see what the place was like in its heyday.

Looking down the steps.  

and a view back up the steps.


Heading down the track below Castle Crag. Another option for today would have been to leave the track before this point and head down towards Rosthwaite, then picking up the path alongside the River Derwent. For no particular reason I opted to walk straight down here.

A more straight up view of Castle Crag.

Grange is a lovely village but all the photo opportunities are found in the opposite half of the village from the one I walked through today, except for the church of course, and here it is for you.

A view over Derwent Water to Walla Crag and in the far distance is Blencathra.

Walking through the woods next to Derwent Water.

Keswick launch approaches one of the landing stages.

I told you.

I could have continued along the side of Derwent Water but decided to regain a bit of height to get some wider views along the final section of the walk.

Turning around for a view of the southern end of Derwent Water.

David Hall -
Lake District Walks