Walla Crag and Derwent Water.

Start. Keswick.

Route. Keswick - Landing Stages - Friar's Crag - Strandshag Bay - Stable Hills - Calfclose Bay - Ashness Gate - Ashness Bridge - Falcon Crag - Cat Gill - Walla Crag - Rakefoot - Spring Wood - Spring Road - Keswick.

Notes. As old Wainwright described it, “a pageant of beauty, the loveliest and precious of all the valleys of Lakeland”.....pause for breath, he was describing Borrowdale, and I think the old chap was right, views formed around 40 years ago still ring true today. Guarding the entrance to the valley, island studded Derwent Water and Walla Crag, with sylvan slopes rising from the waters edge terminating in a crown of rock, our choice destination today. The ascent of Walla Crag can be as hard or easy as you wish, we opted for the easy, a pleasant walk along the lake shore before the jetty at Ashness Gate marked the start of our ascent.

We left the car in Keswick, our route passed the Theatre by the Lake en route to Frier's Crag, championed by John Ruskin whom laundered praise on the low outcrop reaching into Derwent Water, as having “one of the three most beautiful scenes in Europe”, it was a grey scene today with an abundance of dark cloud, it may even be raining at the valley head. From Friar's Crag we wandered along the shore of Strandshag Bay, through woodland as we passed The Ings, the path guided us over Stable Hills and on to Calfclose Bay, now accompanied by the hum of traffic we wandered on to Barrow Bay where the Jetty at Ashness Gate marked a change in direction.

We turned our backs on the lake our next view of it would be from the high fell side under Brown Knotts. With tarmac under foot we ascended the lane leading to Ashness Bridge before joining the path climbing the north bank of Barrow Beck, this soon swung north ascending diagonally across the fell side. This was an easy climb gifting us with stunning views over Borrowdale and Derwent Water. Under the cliffs of Brown Knotts we walked, above Falcon Crag a favourite vantage point for budding photographers, the wet stuff started to fall as we crossed the head waters of Cat Gill to reach the summit of Walla Crag. Without stopping we traversed the summit descending almost immediately, we forded Brockle Beck at Rakefoot, then again to access Springs Wood, we exited the wood to find ourselves wandering along Springs Road. All that remained was to pick our way through the streets of Keswick back to our starting point.

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The Landing Stages at Keswick with murky views to Causey Pike.

Reflections in Isthmus Bay.

Stunning views from Strandshag Bay, the Jaws of Borrowdale, King's How and Castle Crag.

Seen from Strandshag Bay, Rowling End leading to Causey Pike with the low rocky bluff of Friar's Crag to the right.

Sunlight on Swinside.

Across Derwent Water, everyones favourite, Cat Bells.

On the edge of Calfclose Bay looking south.

Wonderful views over Derwent Water, fronds of cloud tumble over the coll between Maiden Moor and High Spy.

Views from Ashness Gate.

As seen from the jetty at Ashness Gate the cloud capped Skiddaw massif.

Ashness Bridge.

Above Ashness Bridge the views begin to open out, under cloud Skiddaw with Dodd to the left.

A stunning view over Derwent Water with Bassenthwaite Lake just visible in the distance.

A little higher and the views get even better, this is from our lunch stop under the cliffs of Brown Knotts.

View taken over Ashness Wood.

Derwent Water and Bassenthwaite Lake.

Skelgill Bank across Derwent Water.

The head of Derwent Water.

A sprinkling of the wet stuff on the slopes of Maiden Moor.

Mouth-watering views over Derwent Water, Cat Bells with Causey Pike just visible through the cloud.

Another view to rain washed Maiden Moor.

The many islands of Derwent Water with sunlight catching the white washed buildings of Keswick.

Now it's our turn to get wet, mountains in the mist

Carrying a little snow, seen across Low Moss the Helvellyn massif.

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