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Stunning Cat Bells Circular Walk from Hawse End in the Lake District National Park
62 views · Feb 16, 2022
Visit Channel: roamingspices.com
Trail Guide: https://roamingspices.com/cat-bells-walk/

Cat Bells Circular Walk from Hawse End 

The Cat Bells walk option that we chose starts at Hawse End jetty which can be best reached by taking the Launch from Keswick.

Starting the adventure to Cat Bells from Keswick on a boat was such a treat. Not only do you eliminate any parking issues, you also get to experience the beauty of Derwentwater and its surrounding fells on this 10-minute trip to Hawse End.

Once you step off the boat at Hawse End, follow the line of the jetty directly ahead of you passing through a wooden kissing gate. This leads you into a wooded area and shortly to a country road.

Turn right and then immediately left following the dirt track signposted ‘Cat Bells’. This will shortly meet a road once more, where you will continue straight up the hill and over a cattle grid. 

As the road swings sharply to the left, take the stone path leaving the road directly ahead of you. It is here that the Cat Bells walk route starts in earnest!

Climb to Skelgill Bank

Upon leaving the road, the trail zig-zags steeply up the northern ridge of the fell as you work your way towards the first main plateau of Skelgill Bank. Within minutes, Derwentwater comes into sight and remains a permanent fixture for the entirety of the hike.  

Skelgill Bank is a perfect place to take a well-deserved rest and really begin to soak in the beauty that hits you from all directions.

Cat Bells Summit

Enjoy this nice flat section as you make your way along Skelgill Bank in preparation for one final steep ascent to the summit of Cat Bells. As you make this final climb, there are a few scrambling sections but certainly nothing too technical.

The summit of Cat Bells may sit at a modest 451 metres, but the views that you are afforded certainly make you think that you are standing on a much higher peak!

To the west sit the verdant pastures of the Newlands Valley, rising to a myriad of craggy fell peaks. 

To the east lies Derwentwater with the peaks of Bleaberry Fell and High Seat just beyond.

To the south, the next fell peak in line is Maiden Moor that fills the skyline. 

But it is to the north where the ultimate spectacle awaits. Lying just across Derwentwater to the northeast sits Keswick, nestled below the towering fells, dominated by the peaks of Skiddaw and the distinctive saddleback of Blencathra. 

Cat Bells Walk - The Descent

Once you have filled your memory banks with the visual treats from the Cats Bells summit, continue to follow the trail in a southerly direction, now heading downhill. 

Soon you will reach the col at Hause Gate, the meeting point of four paths. Here, you will take the obvious path that swings to the left and leads you in an easterly direction steeply down the fell side towards Derwentwater. 

Return to Hawse End

Further down the trail, the path splits. Keep left, heading north towards a plantation of conifers. Here you join the main terrace path, signposted ‘Hawse End Jetty, 1.75 miles’. It is now a simple case of following the level trail along the fellside. 

Although the views along this stretch of the Cat Bells walk are not as spectacular as those experienced from the mountain peak, they are still very enticing with pretty woodland clinging to the edge of the lake below you. 

Eventually, you will arrive at the point where you commenced the climb earlier. Now, just retrace your steps back to Hawse End jetty for your boat trip back to Keswick.

Cat Bells Walk - Our Thoughts

This is a thoroughly enjoyable circular walk, boasting a variety of spectacular views. Being located just a stone’s throw from the bustling tourist town of Keswick, it is of little surprise that this hike is in high demand!

Getting to the start point by way of the Keswick launch not only added that little something extra to the occasion but also took away the unwanted additional stress of trying to find a parking space at Cat Bells.

We have labelled it a ‘moderately’ difficult walk but this is mainly due to the two steep climbs to Skelgill Bank and the summit itself. Truth be told, I don’t think you are going to find too many fell walks in the Lake District much easier than Cat Bells. 

In fact, the great Alfred Wainwright acknowledges the popularity of Cat Bells among fellwalkers of all abilities by saying:

"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."
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Adventures by A Himitsu https://soundcloud.com/a-himitsu Creative Commons — Attribution 3.0 Unported— CC BY 3.0 Free Download / Stream: http://bit.ly/2Pj0MtT Music released by Argofox https://youtu.be/8BXNwnxaVQE Music promoted by Audio Library https://youtu.be/MkNeIUgNPQ8
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