Walla Crag, Ashness Bridge and the Derwent Water Shore Path.

Start. Keswick.

Route. Keswick (Crosthwaite Road car park) - Fitz Park - Station Road - Moot Hall - St John's Street - Ambleside Road - Springs Road - Springs Wood - Rakefoot - Walla Crag - Cat Gill - Ashness Bridge - Surprise View - Hogs Earth - Mossmire Coppice - High Lodore Falls - High Lodore - Borrowdale Road - Cannon Dub - Great Bay - Manesty Park - Myrtle Bay - Abbot's Bay - Victoria Bay - Hawse End Outdoor Centre - The Park - Silver Hill - Lingholm - Fawe Park - Nichol End - Portinscale - River Derwent - Cumbria Way - Keswick.

Notes. This turned out to be a stunning walk on an equally stunning day, a wander over Walla Crag to be gifted with superb views over island studded Derwent Water. I paid homage to Ashness Bridge, a traditional stone built single arched structure on the narrow road to Watendlath, you may think you've never heard of it, but I bet you've seen many pictures adorning biscuit tins, coasters and table-mats. Up the road from Ashness Bridge the sheer cliffs of Surprise View, atop which I stopped to soak up uninterrupted vistas across Derwent Water and north to the Solway. Then we have High Lodore Falls, less visited but far more spectacular than it's better known brother further down the beck. Come along you'll love it and we'll end the day with a stroll along the shore of Derwent Water, a chance to view ground covered earlier in the day.

My day started in Crosthwaite Road, but for the purpose of this walk start in the centre of Keswick, your back to the Moot Hall. I wandered through Fitz Park to access Station Road which guided me into Keswick, we meet at the Moot Hall. Formalities over lets wander south taking the left hand of two roads leaving the market place, this is St John's Street it leads onto Ambleside Road. At the foot of a steep hill Springs Road exits to the right, our guide into the promised land.

Let Springs Road guide us, tarmac under foot, tarmac ends at Springs Farm where the climbing begins. We ascend through Springs Wood the waters of Brockle Beck our companion, before the path turns to cross the beck we're gifted with stunning views over Derwent Water, a promise of things to come. But first we reach Rakefoot the start of a steep pull to the summit of Walla Crag, it looks daunting but is easier than appears, a dry stone wall guides us all the way to the summit. The views from this rocky crown are stunning, lets sit a while, wait for the people to disperse then we'll have them to ourselves.

This rocky aerie is a popular top, the people went to be replaced by others, we exit the summit via the path that ascends Bleaberry Fell, after a few hundred yards we join a path to the right, this cuts across the head of Cat Gill slowly descending over Falcon Crag, under the cliffs of Brown Knotts to access Ashness Bridge, an easy descent through stunning vistas. Ashness Bridge is a perfect brew stop, I've got coffee and a chocolate bar, I don't know about you. Brew over we wander up the tarmac lane to visit Surprise View, a staggering viewpoint with it's very own car park, we haven't got it to ourselves, that's the price to pay for easy access stunning vistas.

Continuing up the lane we join a stoney track cutting through Hogs Earth, the name suggests wild boar once roamed this wood, or it may have been owned by some guy by the name of Hog. We exit the woodland at a fine foot-bridge, cross it then ignore the path to Watendlath, we favour Lodore. The woodland echoes to the sound of rushing water, an eager descent follows to access the source, High Lodore Falls, fierce and noisy, the waters of Watendlath Beck spilling through a narrow gap in an unbridled display of white water and froth.

Having had our fill of the spectacle we descend passed the birch, scree and climbing cliffs of Shepherds Crag to access the Borrowdale Road. Now take care this is a busy ribbon of tarmac, the foot-path is narrow with lots of trip hazards, we're on tired legs, pick your feet up please. There's something special just round the corner, a distraction from the aches and pains, not one of my chocolate bars, the Derwent Water shore path, if it's accessible, (not under water) and I think it is, I've be scanning the valley bottom from the various view points we visited, if possible we'll wander the western shore.

Just before the Lodore Hotel a finger post invites us to Manesty, apart from a few large puddles the path is dry, some lake side rambling to end the day, perfect. Follow me over a boardwalk path, single file floating above marshy ground, we wander past picturesque bays, stopping at Myrtle Bay for another brew, I like it here, quiet, sheltered just a few paces off the the beaten track. Through the tree cover of Manesty Park we wander, soon reaching the Outdoor Centre at Hawse End and the start of another path leading to Portinscale then on to Keswick.

Through woodland on a well used path we stroll, a short traverse of The Park followed before passing under wooded Stub Hill, Lingholm next, one of the properties young Beatrice Potter holidayed with her family. Open to the public with a jolly good cafe, if you're in need of refreshment, we vote to continue. Through Fawe Park then Nichol End to be ejected onto the road leading into Portinscale, once passed The Chalet Tearoom and Restaurant we must turn right. This route takes us over the River Derwent to join a section of the Cumbria Way. Through pastures we wander, hemmed in between fence posts safe from the danger of bovine lawnmowers grazing the sweet grass of the Derwent flood plane. Rather abruptly this walk ends as the path deposits us at Greta Bridge on the road leading into Keswick. You dear reader must turn right, head into town, me, I'll be turning left the car's parked just around the corner.

view route map.



Maiden Moor and Cat Bells seen from the edge of Springs Wood.

A glimpse of things to come, views over Derwent Water taking in Causey Pike and Barrow.

Ascending Walla Crag, looking back to the many ridges of the Blencathra massif.

Near the summit of Walla Crag enjoying views over the Vale of Keswick to Whinlatter.

An icing sugar day across the Dodds, Great Dodd, Watson's Dodd and Stybarrow Dodd.

The ragged heights of the Scafell massif seen over Grange Fell.

Derwent Water captures the spectre of the sky.

Enjoying the ambience of this view to Cat Bells from the summit of Walla Crag.

Views unravel for miles, Derwent Water, Bassenthwaite Lake and under a bank of cloud the Solway Firth.

The mirrored surface of Derwent Water viewed from the head of Cat Gill.

There are wonderful views to be had from this fine trod descending to Ashness Bridge.

The steep slopes of Maiden Moor seen over the head of Derwent Water.

A Lakeland classic, Ashness Bridge with views to Skiddaw.

Soaking up the views from Surprise View, ever popular Cat Bells over Derwent Water.

Viewing Maiden Moor from Surprise View.

High Lodore Falls, I'm sorry but this picture doesn't do them justice.

Great Bay, Derwent Water.

Sitting on the shore at Myrtle Bay looking to a sunlit Walla Crag.

Wonderful views to sunlit Blencathra with Walla Crag in the shadows to the right.

Awesome views to The Jaws of Borrowdale.

Reflections at Victoria Bay.

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