Over Cat Bells.

Start. Cat Bells car park.

Route. Cat Bells car park - Skelgill Bank - Cat Bells - Hause Gate - High Ground - Fell Side - Cat Bells car park.

Notes. Rising from the western shore of Derwent Water, reaching a modest 1,481ft one of the most popular hills in the Lake District. Described by old Wainwright thus. “It is a great favourite, a family fell where grandmothers and infants can climb the heights together, a place beloved, it's popularity deserved”. Well I guess the old chap spoke the truth, but don't let him lull you into a false sense of security, it's a steep climb, hands on in places, if you're not so supple it won't be so easy. Our assault on the hill was totally without planning, our strategy was to circumnavigate island studied Derwent Water, when the rain eventually stopped. After lunch in Portinscale I took a wrong turn, Cat Bells loomed high in front of us, a eureka moment, the hill was there, just inviting us to climb it.

After parking in Cat Bells car park, a farmers field, £3 paid via an honesty box, we headed up the hill. A good path ascended the spine of the ridge, up we went in the company of many other walkers. For starters we ascended Skelgill Bank, scrambling above the memorial to Thomas Arthur Leonard, pioneer in developing organised outdoor holidays for working people through the Co-operative Holiday Association. Along Skelgill Bank above old mine workings we strolled before the final pull to the summit. There's a certain air of exposure on the summit, the ground drops away in every direction leaving you open to the elements, with no shelter and the elements in the guise of dark rain bearing cloud heading in our direction we made for the coll at Hause Gate, then descended in the lea of the hill to Fellside, here we joined the Allerdale Ramble for our return journey. Above Brackenburn we wandered, once the home of Sir Hugh Walpole, New Zealand born English novelist, passed a memorial plaque and seat in his memory, then back to our starting point. An exhilarating three plus miles, and the elements, well they never did materialize.

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Dappled sunlight on the Skiddaw massif, seen from the start of our ascent.

Overside Wood showing the first sighs of Autumn.

Derwent Water seen from the ascent of Skelgill Bank.

Views over Derwent Water, including St Herbert's Island and Rampsholme Island backed by Walla Crag.

Stunning mountain scenery over Newlands, Rowling End leading to Causey Pike, with the bulk of Barrow drawing the eye to Outerside with Grisedale Pike on the horizon.

Approaching Skelgill Bank looking to Cat Bells.

From Skelgill Bank a wonderful view over Derwent Water, Keswick and it's vale backed by the shadowed slopes of Lonscale Fell and the Blencathra massif.

Skelgill Bank with awe-inspiring views into Borrowdale.

Dramatic scenery over Newlands, the splendid ridges of Hindscarth and Robinson.

Impressive, the view over Newlands to Bassenthwaite Lake and little Binsey.

Let Skelgill Bank carry the eye to mighty Skiddaw.

From the summit of Cat Bells magnificent vistas over the flat lands of Newlands.

Seen from the summit of Cat Bells, the ridges leading to Knott Rigg and Causey Pike with Sail and Crag Hill dark on the horizon.

Yours truly on the summit of Cat Bells, I must congratulate Sue, for managing to keep all the people crammed onto this small top out of shot.

Looking through the sylvan Jaws of Borrowdale, Castle Crag and King's How.

Moody weather over the ridges rising from Newlands, from front to back, High Crag followed by Scope End leading to Hindscarth, and High Snab Bank in turn leading to Robinson.

Blencathra as seen from the summit Cat Bells.

Descending from Hause Gate with views into Borrowdale for company.

Sir Hugh Walpole's memorial seat, a great place to sit and drink in the scenery over Derwent Water.

Looking to Grange Fell, the large white washed building rising from the tree line is Brackenburn, Hugh Walpole's Lakeland residence.

Bleaberry Fell across Derwent Water.

The islands on Derwent Water capture the afternoon sun, with Blencathra under a dark cloud.

Brooding above Keswick, Skiddaw.

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