Cat Bells from Grange in Borrowdale.

Start. Grange in Borrowdale.

Route. Grange - High Ground - Hause Gate - Cat Bells - Skelgill Bank - Allerdale Ramble (footpath) - Fellside Grange.

Notes. I left the sun behind today, by the time I reached Windermere the roads were wet. Ambleside saw me switch the wiper blades on, as I crossed Grange Bridge I'd decided to sit out the deluge in the comfort of the car. Cat Bells rising above island studied Derwent Water is probably responsible for introducing more people to fell walking than any other hill in England, I quite clearly remember encouraging my children to the summit when they were but mere dots, as it happens the weather was much like today, although I don't recall cowering in the car until the rain stopped, with that thought bouncing around in my head I laced my boots up, pulled my hood down over my eyes and headed for the hill.

Grange stands at the entrance to The Jaws of Borrowdale, purchased in some dodgy land deal by the monks of Furness Abbey a few centuries ago, they immediately set to work building farms (granges) and introducing sheep, today it makes an excellent base to explore the delights of sylvan Borrowdale. If you follow in my foot fall get there early, parking's free and of a consequence fills up quickly. I parked in the small Methodist Church car park next to the river, after cowering in the car until the rain eased I donned my waterproofs before striding out through the village. Passed the Holy Trinity Church, then Borrowdale Gates Hotel. On leaving the village a finger-post on the left invited me onto the hill, I obliged ascending immediately, in all fairness this is probably the easiest and definitely the quietest route onto Cat Bells.

A good path guided me up the hill, sheltered from the worst of the weather by the steep slopes, cliff and crag of Maiden Moor, the ascent was fairly comfortable, then I reached Hause Gate. This was fell walking at it's maddest, I'd stepped into another dimension, the end of the world was nigh, rain, hale and a bitter wind battered my body, the temperature plunged, I didn't like this world and almost stepped back through the invisible gateway, but through rain washed spectacles a chink of blue sky appeared above the summit of Cat Bells, maybe a good omen,.I battled on stepping onto the summit soaked to the skin, at leased the rain had stopped. Cold, wet and miserable I headed off the hill, descending over Skelgill Bank to reach sheltered ground, at the foot of the hill I joined the Allerdale Ramble, an excellent footpath I'd never had the pleasure of. Traversing the lower slopes of Cat Bells this path proves you don't have to climb very high to gain exquisite views, my mood lifted as I wandered slowly back to Grange.

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Dating back to 1861 Grange Bridge, one of the twin arches with Castle Crag in the background.

Dark against a rain filled sky, Goat Crag.

Gain a little height and Walla Crag tilts into view across Derwent Water.

The scene across Derwent Water, a rain washed Blencathra rises into grey cloud.

Dark across Borrowdale, Grange Fell.

On Hause Gate looking to Hindscarth and Robinson.

Ascending Cat Bells looking back to Hause Gate and the path leading onto Maiden Moor.

A heavy rain shower sweeps across Derwent Water.

Viewing Causey Pike and Ard Crags across Newlands.

Approaching the summit.

It might be grey and damp but this is still a wonderful view through The Jaws Of Borrowdale.

Drinking in the extensive views from the rocky crown that is the summit of Cat Bells, the Skiddaw massif looms over Keswick.

Bassenthwaite Lake as seen over Newlands.

Looking south to the head of Borrowdale with the green slopes of Maiden Moor to the right.

Island studied Derwent Water.

Bleaberry Fell and High Seat seen over Derwent Water, with Clough Head and the Dodds grey across the horizon.

The tentacular ridges of Hindscarth and Robinson seen across Newlands.

From Skelgill Bank views back up the steep ridge of Cat Bells.

Wandering along the Allerdale Ramble with wonderful views over Derwent Water.

Skiddaw rising above the Vale of Keswick.

Drandelhow Bay.

Seen across sunlit sheep pastures, Grange Fell.

Before stepping onto the narrow grey ribbon leading back into Grange a quick look to Castle Crag with the Borrowdale Fells rising behind.

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