Walla Crag and Ashness Bridge from Keswick.

Start. Keswick (Crosthwaite Road)

Route. Keswick (Crosthwaite Road) - Fitz Park - Station Street - St John's Street - Ambleside Road - Springs Road - Springs Farm - Springs Wood - Rakefoot - Walla Crag - Cat Gill - Falcon Crag - Ashness Bridge - Cat Gill - Great Wood - Derwent Water - Broom Hill Point - Calfclose Bay - Stable Hills - The Ings - Strandshag Bay - Keswick (Lake Road) - Main Street - Crosthwaite Road.

Notes. I’ve had the pleasure to grace Walla Crags summit many times over the years, why not it’s one of the best viewpoints in the Lake District, it maybe just the shoulder of Bleaberry Fell but with afforested cliffs rising high above Derwent Water it’s a spectacular crag. Then we have the timeless beauty of Ashness Bridge, a photographers favourite with Derwent Water and Skiddaw as a back drop. If you feel a shorter walk preferable park in Great Wood car park, you can ascend by our route or up Cat Gill, either way the route is considerably shorter, but you don’t get to visit the shops in Keswick, advantage or not you decide.

We parked in Crosthwaite Road car park, after lacing our boots we wandered through Fitz Park the River Greta our companion on this short section, once at Station Road we left the riverside path. Via Station Road, Station Street and St John’s Street we made our way to Ambleside Road, at the foot of Manor Brow we entered Springs Road, this narrow lane guided us to Springs Farm the start of our ascent.

Through Springs Wood we climbed the music of Brockle Beck serenading us as we ascended, when the path swung right we continued ascending along a boundary fence, as height was gained the views up Borrowdale opened out. Eventually the path crossed Brockle Beck to access a tarmac lane, this in turn guided us to Rakefoot the start of a steep ascent.

We ascended, steep gets you up quickly, we were soon drinking in views from the summit of Walla Crag, we hung around until the cold wind started to bite. Wrapped in an extra layer we headed south, across the edge of Low Moss, we forded the head waters of Cat Gill before passing Falcon Crag. The long easy descent deposited us at Ashness Bridge, a gem of a packhorse bridge on the lane to Watendlath, this bridge has been photographed many times, we took a few more before joining a signed path directly across the road.

The sign promised passage to Great Wood, the path was narrow but a delight to walk over, it guided us under massive crags between gorse, birch and oak, we forded Cat Gill at a convenient footbridge before descending through Great Wood to access the shore of Derwent Water. Once on the shore it was easy walking all the way back to Keswick, round Calfclose Bay we wandered, around Broom Hill Point, over Stable Hill and passed The Ings. A superb stretch of board walk carried us above wet ground depositing us at Strandshag Bay, we avoided Friar’s Crag and the crowds amassing there. We wandered passed the public jetties and Theatre by the Lake to access the streets of Keswick, Sue insisted on visiting a number of shops, her fetish for shopping satisfied we slowly made our way back to the car.

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Stepping out into a stunning day.

Sue ascends through dappled light in Springs Wood.

An icing sugar morning at the head of Borrowdale.

On the lower slopes of Walla Crag viewing the white washed tops of the Blencathra massif.

Stunning conditions across Skiddaw and it's lieutenants .

Soaking up morning views over the Vale of Keswick.

Clough Head and the long ridge leading to the slopes of Great Dodd seen over Castlerigg Fell.

From the ascent of Walla Crag gorgeous views over the Glenderamackin valley to the many ridges of Blencathra.

A winter wonderland on the Dodd's.

Exquisite views to the Scafell range from the summit of Walla Crag.

Impressive views from the summit of Walla Crag.

Still on the summit soaking in wonderful views to the snow capped mountains of the Skiddaw massif.

White caps on Lakeland mountains, Grasmoor and Grisedale Pike with shadowed Cat Bells to the left.

Seen from Walla Crag, dark backed by the snow veneered Helvellyn fells Dodd Crag.

Spectacular views up Borrowdale, under snow across the skyline Seathwaite Fell, Great End and the Scafell massif, Great Gable with Gable Crags clearly visible.

Across Derwent Water in sunlight and shade Cat Bells.

First class in anybody's book, the view over Derwent Water from above Cat Gill.

Derwent Water and Bassenthwaite Lake seen from under the cliffs of Brown Knotts.

Ashness Bridge, a gem on the lane to Watendlath with amazing views over the tree tops to Skiddaw.

Traversing the lower slopes of Castlerigg Fell, above us out of shot Brown Knotts, in front Great Wood and the white tops of the Skiddaw fells.

The ever popular Cat Bells across Derwent Water.

When sunlight dances across the slopes of Maiden Moor and Cat Bells the shore of Derwent Water can be a magical place.

White coats on the mountains of the Skiddaw massif, from left to right, in shadow Ullock Pike, under a light dusting of snow Carl Side, next mighty Skiddaw followed by Little Man.

Wonderful views towards the Jaws of Borrowdale.

Calfclose Bay and the craggy face of Falcon Crag.

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