Start. Keswick (Crosthwaite Road car park).

Route. Keswick (Crosthwaite Road car park) - Lower Fitz Park - Station Road - Lake Road - Theatre by the Lake - Landing Stages - Friar's Crag - Strandshag Bay - Cockshot Wood - Borrowdale Road - Stable Hill - Calfclose Bay - Great Wood - Cat Gill - Walla Crag - Rakefoot - Nest Brow - Castle Lane - Castlerigg Stone Circle - Eleventrees - Penrith Road - Upper Fitz Park - Lower Fitz Park - Keswick (Crosthwaite Road car park).

Notes. This is a popular short walk from Keswick, to a fabulous view point overlooking Derwent Water and the Vale of Keswick. The summit of Walla Crag pulls no punches, it's exactly what it says on the tin, but because it's a short outing why not follow in my foot fall and extend it a little. We'll include an ascent of Cat Gill a superb noisy water filled ravine, and because it's raining and not many people visit Castlerigg Stone Circle in the wet lets trot off over there to.

My day started in Crosthwaite Road car park, rain rattling on the car roof drowning out the sound of the radio, I very nearly abandoned, my other option, to have a look in some walking shops in Keswick, it wouldn't be the first time I'd traded a walk for an expensive gortex jacket, unfortunately it still meant exiting the car. The rain eased to a downpour I threw my waterproofs on, to my surprise so did two dozen other people, the flurry of activity saw us all exit the car park together, me just me alone headed through Fitz Park.

So through Lower Fitz Park I wandered to access Station Road, this in turn deposited me into Lake Road which guided me through the streets of Keswick down to the lake shore. I strolled on to Friar's Crag, a low crag reaching into Derwent Water, gifting the many visitors with superb views, even on wet days. I continued along the lake shore to be met by a diversion, high fences stopped sneaky beggars like me nipping through. The diversion took me into Cockshot Wood then onto the main Borrowdale Road, a foot path ran parallel to the road behind a hedge away from the traffic, this inconvenient diversion soon ended, the drive to Stable Hills marked the point I stepped back onto my planned route.

I continued passed Stable Hills and Calfclose Bay, just after the bay a change of direction was called for, I turned my back on Derwent Water my sights set firmly on the Cat Gill ascent of Walla Crag. Through dripping woodland I climbed, after crossing the valley road the exit road to Great Wood car park guided me to the path ascending Cat Gill. To the song of falling water I ascended the gill, legs and lungs working overtime, every so often enticing glimpses into the beck bottom would stop me in my tracks, when the path swung away from the gill the gradient eased and the summit of Walla Crag tilted into view.

Grey vistas, heavy rain showers sweeping up the valley, that was the view today, before one blew my way I descended to Rakefoot, the farm tucked away in the shelter of Pike. The farm lane then ushered me to a finger-post promising access to Castlerigg Stone Circle, I followed said path through sheep pastures eventually emerging onto the main road at Nest Brow, after crossing the busy road I stepped into Castle Lane. This narrow tarmac lane sees little traffic, it safely ushered me between dry stone walls and hedge rows to the stone circle.

I wandered around a while, took some snaps of grey miserable views, when the next heavy shower arrived I accessed the oddly named Eleventrees, the lane that would guide me back to Keswick. I had intended to wander back on the railway path but that was closed, something to do with building a very expensive pipeline, so it was the main road back into town, which was eerily quiet, it turned out to be also closed, this time just to traffic.

view route map.


Looking over Derwent Water from Crow Park, to the left ever popular Cat Bells, the right Cousey Pike, in the centre overlooking Newlands, Robinson.

The stunning view from the waters edge in Crow Park, Castle Crag and the Jaws of Borrowdale.

All ready for the first influx of visitors of the day.

"The view from the crag was one of the finest in Europe" John Ruskin's view on Friar's Crag, not bad is it.

Taking in the view from Strandshag Bay, Friar's Crag with Causey Pike behind.

Ever popular Cat Bells captures the morning sun.

View taken along the east shore of Derwent Water to King's How and little Castle Crag.

A small slice of Cat Gill.

Ascending to the chorus of running water, looking over Falcon Crag to the steep slopes of Maiden Moor.

Rain washes the Vale of Keswick, watching the drama unfold from the summit of Walla Crag.

Grey views through pouring rain, Lords Seat and Barf from the summit of Walla Crag.

Looking to the east over Low Moss, across the horizon Clough Head with Great Dodd under a heavy shower.

In sheep pastures near Rakefoot looking to the Helvellyn massif.

Wreathed in cloud and heavy rain Clough Head and Great Dodd, seen over High Rigg.

Castlerigg Stone Circle, run your fingers across the contours of the age old stones....

....the circle is believed to be the oldest dating back to 3000BC....

..... it is important in terms of megalithic astronomy and geometry, as the construction contains significant astronomical alignments, although its origins are unknown it is believed that it was used for ceremonial or religious purposes.

Handy if you're heading in the opposite direction to me.

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