Walla Crag and Castlerigg from Keswick.

Start. Brundholme Road, Keswick.

Route. Keswick - Cockermouth, Keswick and Penrith Railway - Eleventrees - Goosewell Farm - Castlerigg Stone Circle - Castle Lane - Nest Brow - Rakefoot - Walla Crag - Cat Gill - Great Wood - Calfclose Bay - Stable Hills - The Ings - Friar's Crag - Keswick - Lake Road - Derwent Street - St John's Street - Station Road - Fitz Park - Brundholme Road.

Notes. A walk of contrasts today, come take a wander with me under a moody sky. We'll stride out along the track bed of the Cockermouth, Keswick and Penrith Railway, drink in views from a 3,000 year old stone circle and enjoy the dizzy heights of Walla Crag, the eastern shore of Derwent Water will guide us back via Friar's Crag, with it's spectacular views down the lake. You may need your waterproofs there's a lot of dark cloud around, who knows which valley the next shower may drift down, lace up a decent pair of boots, there's been a lot of rain, it will most likely be damp under foot, shall we start.

After parking at the junction of Brundholme Road and Spoonygreen Lane I headed east joining the track bed of the Cockermouth, Keswick and Penrith Railway at Keswick Station. With a good surface under foot I headed out of the town. In several places Bow String bridges aided my crossing of the River Greta, as I stepped from one of these fine bridges a finger-post invited me to Castlerigg Stone Circle. After ascending the field I passed under the busy A66 to access a narrow ribbon of tarmac that was to guide me to the Neolithic circle. It was the second time I'd visited the circle today, I stopped on the way to Keswick hoping it would be quiet, it wasn't, a multitude of cameras on tripods were strategically placed around the stones, getting a decent picture was nigh on impossible. Now it was tourists in bright coloured jackets, like ants swarming all over the ancient monument, disappointed I left cursing Castlerigg's popularity.

Via the plumb straight Castle Lane I wandered, crossed the main road at Nest Brow before joining a sunken lane that guided me through sheep pastures to Rakefoot. A narrow foot-bridge aided my crossing of Brockle Beck before the ascent of Walla Crag started in earnest. Guided by a dry stone wall, a loose path under foot I ascended, the climb was easier than it looked, I was soon standing on the summit drinking in fine views over island studded Derwent Water, the Vale of Keswick and a multitude of shapely mountains that make up the north western fells.

Unfortunately a cold wind drove me from the summit, following my friend the dry stone wall I descended Cat Gill. Steep in places, slippery in others, unscathed I reached the main valley road, crossed to join the Derwent Water shore path. Around Calfclose Bay I wandered, over Stable Hills then passed The Ings, along the shore of Strandshag Bay I strolled to access the stunning views from Friar's Crag. From this low crag so eulogized by John Ruskin I joined the crowds of day trippers wandering to and from Keswick. Via Lake Road, Derwent Street and St John's Street I walked to gain access to Fitz Park. A short walk through this busy park followed before stepping onto Brundholme Road a few hundred yards from the parked car.

view route map.


The River Greta with views to the north western fells.

Rising high above the valley of the River Greta, the Blease Fell face of Blencathra, the caravans in the middle distance occupy the site of the Low Briery Bobbin Mill, 40 million bobbins a year were produced in this small corner of Cumbria to be shipped around the world.

Walking through the pages of railway history, Bow String bridges aid my crossing of the River Greta.

Castlerigg Stone Circle with views to the Blencathra massif.

With my back to the standing stones, soaking up views to the fells of north western Lakeland.

The many ridges of the Blencathra massif, seen from Castle Lane.

Still between the dry stone walls of Castle Lane looking to Latrigg with a curtain of cloud drawn across the Skiddaw massif.

Looking over the Vale of Keswick to Bassenthwaite Lake.

Dappled light on High Rigg, squint and you can just make out a couple of walkers on the summit.

Viewing sylvan Latrigg from the sunken lane above Rakefoot.

Rising to the south west, my high ground for today, Walla Crag.

Stunning views over Keswick and it's vale, seen from the lower slopes of Walla Crag.

The dramatic rock scenery of Blencathra seen from near the summit of Walla Crag.

A stunning panorama from the summit of Walla Crag.

Walla Crag provides a fine viewpoint.

Looking back to Blencathra.

The summit Walla Crag with views over Low Moss to the cloud capped Dodd's.

Another breath-taking view over Derwent Water.

Falcon Crag seen from the start of the Cat Gill descent, with Cat Bell rising from the far shore of Derwent Water.

Rising from the western shore of Derwent Water, the ever popular Cat Balls.

Barrow capturing the late morning sun.

Approaching Friar's Crag with a wonderful view through the Jaws of Borrowdale.

Friar's Crag may be low in stature but gifts the visitor with stunning views over Derwent Water, described by John Ruskin as "one of the most beautiful views in Europe". Christened Friar's Crag because it was an embankment point for monks making a pilgrimage to St Herbert's Island on the right.

Final view of the day, a light dusting of snow on Grisedale Pike seen from near the landing stages at Keswick.

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