8th September 2013

Cat Bells from Portinscale


Walk Overview
Time 1:10 to 4:20pm
Duration 3 hr 10 min
Distance 7.7 mile
Ascent 1500 ft
Walking with On my own
Portinscale - Nichol End - Skelgill Bank - Cat Bells - Side of Cat Bells - Skelgill Farm - Stair - Newlands Beck - Ullock - Portinscale
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

Storm Water Bridge, rebuilt at 1 minute past 7



It was mentioned to me by someone the other day that I'd had quite a few late (for me) starts recently (you know who you are). Well, here's another one to add the the list, and again, it was done in an attempt to get the best out of the days weather. I must have looked out of the window a dozen times this morning and each time it was emptying down. In the end, Jennifer must have got fed up with me and she suggested I "just go for a walk" and "if it rains it doesn't matter".
"aren't you coming"
"No, not today"
"So you're telling me to go out in the rain while you stay at home"
", , , , , , yes"

Nichol End Marina is soon reached and here I take a picture looking across to the Skiddaw Fells, Lonscale Fell, Latrigg and Blencathra (just).

In the opposite direction there was a colourful display of kayaks, although I suspect they weren't actually on display as such.

Into the woods I go.

I couldn't help but notice all the Fungi as I walked through the wooded areas on this walk. Here are just a few of the pictures I took along the way.






That's Cat Bells over on the skyline. At this stage I had no idea I'd be walking up there today..

As I stood taking this picture of Swinside and the Skiddaw fells I realised the afternoon plagued by heavy showers which I'd predicted was not going to materialise. It was decision time; carry on through Borrowdale or head over Cat Balls and decide where to go from there.

Cat Bells won the argument and now I'm heading up the bottom of the fell. Over there on the opposite side of Newlands Valley are Causey Pike, and Barrow.

Although it was what you'd describe as a dull day weather wise, the views were still clear enough. Notice the trees down there are beginning to loose their summer greenness in favour of the browns and golds of autumn.

Here's a selection of north western fells seen from the side of Cat Bells. From here, Causey Pike looks the highest which of course it isn't.

A close up of Bassenthwaite Lake.

A level(ish) walk across the top of Skelgill Bank allows you to catch your breath before the final walk up to the summit.
You can't quite see them but there are two ladies in front of me on the path. When I caught them up we passed on a hello and I added that "by the look of the sky over there we might end up needing our waterproofs". I carried on walking and when I looked back they'd turned around and were heading back down. . . . . I hope I hadn't put them off with the mention of rain!

The band of rain moves its way across the higher fells at the head of the valley but thankfully I got nothing more than a few minutes of drizzle which weren't even worth putting a jacket on for.

While I was actually at the top, I had the place all to myself today. Once I'd started to walk away a few folk reached the top but it was still far from busy. I'll bet it was a different story a few weeks ago.

A close up of Ashness Farm.

Not so close up this time and because of it you can now see Blencathra, Walla Crag, Bleaberry Fell, Clough Head, Great Dodd.

Looking back up to Cat Bells summit. It looks like Blencathra is about to get a soaking.

Zooming in a little to show the path that runs from Hause Gate to Maiden Moor. In the valley you can see Grange and on the distant skyline are High Raise and Pike O'Stickle; amongst other things.

Instead of taking the route straight down to Yewthwaite Gill, I took the higher path that cuts the corner, so to speak.


A close up of Birkrigg (the farm) and Birk Rigg (the hill behind the farm).

Robinson and Hindscarth taken from the track along the Newlands Valley side of Cat Bells.


Cat Bells seen from the road leading down to Stair.

Blimey, , , , for a second I thought my glasses were out of focus!


I walked past, not over the bridge that crosses Newlands Beck.

Following Newlands Beck with views of the Skiddaw fells ahead of me. And behind, , ,

, , , the view shows Cat Bells and Maiden Moor.

Ullock Farm.

Sunshine on Carl Side and the side of Skiddaw / Skiddaw Lower Man.

Causey Pike and Barrow, seen above Ullock Farm.

I'm almost back in Portinscale now and more than pleased that I didn't need to take the jacket out of the bag at all. I think I must have been in all the right places at all the right times to remain dry on a day filled with unpredictable heavy showers.

David Hall -
Lake District Walks