A Circuit of Derwent Water, With a wee Twist.

Start. Keswick (Crosthwaite Road).

Route. Keswick (Crosthwaite Road) - Greta Bridge - Cumbrian Way - Portinscale - Nichol End - Lingholm - The Park - Cat Bells Terrace Path - Manesty - Great Bay - Lodore - Screes Coppice - Kettlewell - Barrow Bay - Ashness Gate - Ashness Bridge - Brown Knotts - Low Moss - Walla Crag - Rakefoot - Castlerigg - Spring Wood - Keswick.

Notes. A circuit of Derwent Water a popular excursion for those on foot, getting more popular every year. We've walked it before so here's a route with a wee twist, with far better views for little effort. And because it was such a nice day I threw in a diversion near the end, it seemed a good idea at the time.

Keswick was quiet, I rolled into the car park, the first vehicle, now where to park. After parking Crosthwaite Road guided me to High Hill which in turn lead to Grete Bridge, here a finger-post invited me to Portinscale, I obliged letting a good path usher me through sheep pastures, a fine suspension bridge allowed a dry crossing of the River Derwent and access to Portinscale village. After turning left at the first road junction I wandered passed the The Chalet Tearooms and Restaurant, followed by the Derwent Water Marina. The road wound through mixed woodland, I left the tarmac at Nichol End, a good path then guided me passed Fawepark and Lingholm and Silver Hill. This time of year this is a lovely airy forest walk, I soon found myself traversing The Park with Cat Bells looming above the tree tops directly in front of me. Stepping from the tree cover at Hawse End, directly across the lane a finger-post invited me to Newlands and Cat Bells, today this was to be my route, not Newlands nor Cat Bells but the Cat Bells Terrace Path. Along the edge of a dry stone wall I walked to access the lane that runs along the flanks of Cat Bells, I rounded the corner to be greeted by another finger-post, this invited me to wander the Terrace Path, I obliged and a stunning walk it turned out to be.

Two miles of easy walking followed with breath-taking views for company, a strategically placed bench made for a perfect brew stop, eventually the path spat me out onto the narrow road at Manesty. I continued along the tarmac lane until another finger-post invited me to Lodore, a good track then guided me across the valley, board walk paths carried me across boggy ground guarding the head of Derwent Water, and a splendid foot-bridge safely ushered me over the River Derwent, once I reached Lodore I turned to head back to Keswick, that's when I decided on a short diversion, Walla Crag.

At the moment and for the last couple of years the path passes the front of the Lodore Hotel, up until building work started it cut behind the hotel to access Lodore Falls, alas I'm thinking it may never run behind the hotel again. The road is busy, quite dangerous, take care. Once passed the hotel I joined a narrow trod running through Screes Coppice parallel to the road, if you fancy visiting Lodore Falls turn right when you reach this path. This delightful trod deposited me at the Kettlewell Car Park where I joined the lake side path.

The lake shore soon guided me to the jetty at Ashness Gate, here I turned my back on Derwent Water ascending the tarmac lane signed Watendlath and Ashness Bridge, I can honestly say this was the hardest part of the ascent of Walla Crag. Once at Ashness Bridge another finger-post promised passage to Walla Crag. Initially the path followed Barrow Beck before swinging north cutting under the cliffs of Brown Knotts, the easy ascent that followed guided me above Falcon Crag into stunning views, I cut across the head of Cat Gill before stepping onto the rocky crown of Walla Crag. The views up there were stunning unfortunately the wind was freezing, unable to find sufficient shelter I beat a hasty retreat descending to Rakefoot before entering Spring Wood. To the tune of falling water, in the company of Brockle Beck I descended through mixed woodland, after passing Annie's Pantry (it was closed) I stepped onto the tarmac of Springs Road, the narrow ribbon of the grey stuff that guided me back into Keswick.

view route map.


Striding out over field paths en route to Portinscale, looking towards Bleaberry Fell as the sun paints the clouds.

Grisedale Pike above Portinscale.

En route through Fawe Park.

Seen from The Park, Skelgill Bank with Cat Bells behind.

One of many stunning views from the Terrace Path, In sunlight and shade mighty Skiddaw.

Viewing Cat Bells from the Terrace Path, under the steep slopes of Skelgill Bank.

Island studded Derwent Water and the grey bulk of Blencathra seen from this wonderful trod.

Seen through diffused light, Grange Fell and King's How.

Staggering view across Manesty Park and the head of Derwent Water.

The scattered community of Manesty backed by Maiden Moor with Cat Bells far right.

Walking through the sunshine at the head of Derwent Water, this board walk path under foot enjoying views back to a shadowed Maiden Moor.

Walla Crag across Derwent Water.

Brooding Skiddaw across Derwent Water with the woodland of Manesty Park sun lit to the left.

Rising from the Jaws of Borrowdale the cliffs and woodland of Castle Crag.

The stunning view across Derwent Water, dominating the horizon the Skiddaw massif.

One of Lakeland's many gems, Ashness Bridge with views to Skiddaw.

Clinging to a reassuring path, ascending Walla Crag with this view for company, Maiden Moor and Cat Bells over Derwent Water.

Keswick forever in the shadow of Skiddaw.

Breath-taking views from the summit of Walla Crag.

An inspiring place if it wasn't so cold the summit of Walla Crag, here we have a view to Blencathra.

Looking east over the mires of Low Moss, rising from the valley of St John's in the Vale, Clough Head and Great Dodd.

About to be swallowed up by the tree cover of Spring Wood, my final view of the day, Walla Crag with sunburst over Derwent Water.

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