Derwent Water and the Cat Bells Terrace Path.

Start. Keswick (Crosthwaite Road car park).

Route. Keswick (Crosthwaite Road car park) - Greta Bridge - Cumbria Way - Portinscale - Nichol End - Fawe Park - Lingholme - Silver Hill - The Park - Cat Bells Terrace Path - Brandelhow Bay - Manesty Park - Great Bay - Lodore - Screes Coppice - Kettlewell - Barrows Bay - Ashness Gate - Cat Gill - Great Wood - Calfclose Bay - Stable Hill - The Ings - Strandshag Bay - Keswick Landing Stages - Keswick - Greta Bridge - Crosthwaite Road- Crosthwaite Road car park.

Notes. This is a walk I've grown to love over recent years, unfortunately so have many other people, one thing is for sure, it matters not a jot what time of year it is, bad or good weather you are unlikely to be alone for very long. Having said that I've added a couple of twists to take me away from the crowds to enjoy solitary vistas and silence, feel free to join me on this classic circuit of Derwent Water.

My day started wandering over the surface of Crosthwaite Road to access High Hill, once in High Hill I made my way to Greta Bridge, next to which a foot-path runs beside housing before cutting across sheep pastures to Portinscale. This I followed to a foot-bridge spanning the River Derwent, I crossed to enter the village. Passed the Chalet Tearoom and Restaurant I wandered then on to Nichol End where I left the road to join a rough track passing large houses hidden behind high hedgerows and tall fences. This trod guided me through the mixed woodland of Fawe Park, I wandered, passed Lingholme and Silver Hill, then through the grassland of The Park, I emerged onto a tarmac lane above Hawes End. The Keswick Launch had not long dropped it's cargo of foot passengers off, a constant procession of whom were ascending Cat Bells, the rest trudging the lake shore path, me well, I was heading for the quiet.

Directly across the lane a finger-post pointed the way to Cat Bells and Newlands, I followed said path ignoring the busy trod up Cat Bells. I stepped onto the Terrace Path, an old pack horse route cutting across the flanks of Skelgill Bank and Cat Bells. For very little effort this path gifts the lucky rambler with stunning views across Derwent Water and down Borrowdale. I passed just two people before heavy rain forced me to descent to Brundelhow Bay hoping for some shelter in Manesty Park.

Now on the lake shore path woodland walking continued, through the park round Great Bay, a superb boardwalk path ushered me over wet ground at the foot of Derwent Water. After crossing the River Derwent I stepped onto the main valley road near the Lodore Hotel. Walking passed the hotel was fought with danger, with one eye on passing traffic I made for a path running parallel to the main road, this well hidden trod ushered me through Screes Coppice depositing me at the Kettlewell car park, I crossed the road to join the shore of Derwent Water once more. Easy walking followed through classic views as far as Barrow Bay and the landing Stage at Ashness Gate, here I turned my back on the lake, ascending the steps then the narrow ribbon of tarmac that climbs to Ashness Bridge. But that was where all the people would be, I was again looking for solitude, I found it after a couple of hundred yards.

On the left an unsigned path vanished into tree cover, climbing to meet another path cutting across the flanks of the hill, passing under impressive cliffs gifting the walker with stolen views over Derwent Water. This I followed all the way to Cat Gill and Great Wood where I descended to the lake shore for the final time today. That was it Derwent Water was my companion all the way back to Keswick, the path was busy but all I had to do was look across the lake and ignore the chatter, I also ignored the famous view point of Friar's Crag which was absolutely heaving with people.

view route map.


Striding out over the Cumbria Way with this view for company.

Rising from the Vale of Keswick, it's head in cloud mighty Skiddaw.

En route through Fawe Park.

The Cat Bells Terrace Path looking to the Skiddaw massif.

Walla Crag with Bleaberry Fell rising to the right, seen over island studded Derwent Water.

Still on the Terrace Path, witnessing rain washing Grange Fell clean.

The King's How top of Grange Fell under a heavy shower.

Brundelhow Bay where the waters of Derwent Water kiss the shore and Brundelhow Point reaches into the lake.

Autumn reflections.

Wandering through the tree cover of Manesty Park.

Viewing Cat Bells over Great Bay.

The superb stretch of path floats the walker above the wet ground at the foot of Derwent Water.

The River Derwent backed by the Skiddaw massif.

Approaching Barrow Bay, the weather's improving but Skiddaw still has its cap on.

Barrow Bay where Walla Crag and Falcon Crag cast their reflections in the still waters of Derwent Water.

Passing below the climbing cliffs of Falcon Crag, enjoying stunning view over Derwent Water.

A stunning path to walk at a equally stunning time of year.

One of the many cataracts of Cat Gill.

Under a cap of cloud Maiden Moor with Cat Bells to the right, seen from the edge of Calfclose Bay.

The Jaws of Borrowdale seen from Strandshag Bay.

Soaking up the view from Strandshag Bay, the high skyline being Grisedale Pike, forward a bit to Swinside, forward a bit more, sylvan Derwent Isle then with all the people Friar's Crag.

Looking across Derwent Water from Strandshag Bay, Rowling End leading to Causey Pike with Barrow to the right.

Viewing Maiden Moor from the same spot.

The River Greta as seen from Greta Bridge.

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