Derwent Water and Walla Crag.

Start. Keswick (Crosthwaite Road car park).

Route. Keswick - Fitz Park - Station Road - Lake Road - Theatre by the Lake - Friars Crag - Strandshag Bay - Stable Hills - Calfclose Bay - Borrowdale Road - Brown Knotts - Falcon Crag - Cat Gill - Walla Crag - Rakefoot - Springs Wood - Springs Road - Ambleside Road - Station Road - Fitz Park - Keswick.

Notes. Walla Crag a precipitous cliff on a short ridge running from Bleaberry Fell, sheer cliffs plunge into woodland before the gradient eases as the tree cover ends on the shores of Derwent Water. It is without doubt a popular short walk from Keswick via Springs Wood and Rakefoot, but other paths climb to it’s rocky crown. Steep and unforgiving, a real leg burner up spectacular Cat Gill, but in my book this is the best, we have lake shore rambling, woodland, a traverse under dramatic climbing cliffs and grand buttresses, spectacular views and an easy ascent on a well used path to the summit.

My day started wandering through Fitz Park, Station Road then guided me to Lake Road which in turn lead to Derwent Water. Passed the jetties and pleasure boats I wandered, I avoided Friars Crag for social distancing reasons, opting to head straight for Strandshag Bay, round the bay I walked to access a nice new path cutting through an area of wetland. After passing Stable Hills the path guided me along the shore at Calfclose Bay terminating at an easy scramble, I then crossed the Borrowdale Road leaving the lake shore behind, directly across the road a narrow still allowed access to the fell side.

After passing through said stile a muddy path climbed the fell, this narrow trod meandered round rocky outcrops, passed between birch trees, cut through gorse eventually joining another path passing beneath spectacular cliffs and buttresses, this is a superb path hugging the 530ft contour. Pretty easy walking followed, plenty of time to enjoy spectacular views and drink in the scenery. After what seemed ages I reached a finger-post, a parting of the ways and a warning, my eyes were drawn to the warning, “Walla Crag Steep Climb”.

Up I went, it was steep but I’ve climbed steeper, hands on in places, but nothing to get the adrenalin pumping, after crossing a stile the path leveled and joined the main trod rising from Ashness Bridge. I continued climbing, much easier going now, the cliffs of Brown Knotts to my right breathtaking views on my left. Above Falcon Crag I strolled before traversing the head of Cat Gill to gain access to the summit of Walla Crag. For a while at least I had the summit to myself, when the inevitable crowds started filtering onto this rocky aerie I took my leave. North I descended to Rakefoot, a few yards down the lane a gate allowed access to Springs Wood, the descent continued a stoney track under foot, the song of Brockle Beck accompanied stunning views over the Vale of Keswick, the track ended at Springs Farm where I stepped onto Springs Road, a narrow ribbon of the grey stuff that ushered me back into the streets of Keswick.

view route map.


Sunlight in Fitz Park with the Skiddaw massif under a thick blanket of cloud.

Causey Pike and Barrow seen from the Landing Stages at Keswick.

Stunning views up Derwent Water from Strandshag Bay.

Sunlight and shadows on the flanks of Maiden Moor.

One of the delectable heights of Lakeland, Cat Bells with Maiden Moor to the left.

From the Great Wood shore of Derwent Water views to sunlit Skelgill Bank, Cat Bells rises to the left with Causey Pike to the right.

Looking into the dark depths of Great Wood with the Skiddaw massif kissed by cloud.

This path clinging to the contours of the fell side gifts the lucky walker with stunning views across Derwent Water.

The view north over island studded Derwent Water.

On the path from Great Wood, looking back enjoying this stunning view over Derwent Water.

Across the divide of Derwent Water, Maiden Moor and Cat Bells.

Viewing the white washed buildings of Portinscale with Bassenthwaite Lake behind.

A litany of Lakeland fells seen from above Falcon Crag, kissed by cloud Grasmoor and Grisedale Pike, forward a bit, Ard Crags, Causey Pike and Barrow, in sunlight and shade dipping it's toes in Derwent Water Skelgill Bank.

Looking back over the distant drama of Borrowdale.

Soaking up the breathtaking view from above Cat Gill.

Borrowdale's moody skyline, in the middle distance Grange Fell and the rocky aerie of King's How, through diffused light the bulk of the Borrowdale Fells, right a bit Seathwaite Fell and far right Great Gable.

Walla Crag provides a fine view point, across Derwent Water Causey Pike, Barrow and Grisedale Pike.

And in the opposite direction over Low Moss, Clough Head with Great Dodd beneath cloud.

Sunlight catches the slopes of Dodd Crag with Clough Head dark on the horizon.

On the edge of Springs Wood looking to sylvan Castlehead.

Keswick as seen from Springs Road.

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