Saturday, 28 May 2016

Catbells - Maiden Moor - High Stile - Castle Crag

The forecast was good for today so we decided to head up to the Lakes again - this is becoming a bit of a habit

The planned walk was a circular walk starting at Hawes End and climb up to Cat Bells summit and then continuing on to Maiden Moor, High Spy and Castle Crag.

We were keen to arrive early so we could get a free parking space in the small lay-by near the start of the walk.  We parked up at 8am and there was only one other car in the lay-by.

The low cloud had now lifted and the sun was shining, looks like a fabulous day for a walk.

We set off up the steep zig-zag path across Skelgill Bank (Birkett) then you can clearly see Cat Bells summit up ahead about half a mile away. 

Cat Bells with Maiden Moor behind
A pleasant walk along the grassy ridge and then a short sharp climb and some minor scrambling before reaching the summit of Cat Bells.

At Cat Bells summit

View from Cat Bells (1,480 ft)

We arrived at the same time as a man and his Labrador, spent a while chatting to him and fussing his lovely dog before continuing on to Maiden Moor.  The sun was beating down and and there was no breeze at all, we're really not used to this warm weather.  I was a little concerned that I'd not brought enough water with me as we had a long walk ahead of us.

Hause Gate

Maiden Moor

Then across Hause Gate and up on to the broad expanse of Maiden Moor and a good path to the summit.  Luckily, once we reached the summit it got a little cooler and the sun went in briefly so we were able to cool down again.
Maiden Moor summit (1890 t)

A quick break for cake and a read of my Wainwright book then descent to a broad col and on to High Spy.  Fabulous walk so far.

Route to High Spy

High Spy Summit (2142 ft)

We were following the path towards Dalehead Tarn and were looking out for the path to the left that we needed to take, we totally missed it and ended up at Dalehead Tarn but not to worry there was a cache there so we found that then backtracked to pick up the correct path.

Dalehead Tarn

Then it was over the stile and down the very steep descent to Rigghead Quarries

We paused halfway for our lunch then continued on down keeping Tongue Gill on our left before crossing the gill and going through the gate.  This is where the path started to get very busy.  With lots of people exploring the paths around Castle Crag.

Castle Crag (950 ft)is the smallest Wainwright and is the only one below 1000 ft.  A steep zig zag climb up an old slate spoil heap.  It looked a lot worse than it actually was and once we got going soon found our way at the top.  It was surprisingly busy at the top but not that surprising when we descended and continued down to the banks of the River Derwent where there was a camp site nearby.

The path to Castle Crag!

A memorial to Borrowdale men killed in World War I

View from Castle Crag Summit

River Derwent

We stopped off at the Grange Cafe for a very welcome cup of coffee before continuing on.  Also very handy as there was a wifi hotspot here.  From this point on the going was very easy, as we made our way along the lower paths of Cat Bells, the views all along this path were absolutely stunning.  After a mile or two we eventually arrived back at the car.  What a fabulous walk.

Colourful garden

Fabulous views of Derwent Water

looking back at Cat bells from the lower paths
Then we headed into Keswick for a chippy tea before parking up near the lake to watch the sun go down.
Herdy spotting


The end of  perfect day

Walk Summary:

Miles walk = 11
Wainwrights = 4
Total Ascent = 3466 ft