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Catbells to High Spy

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Catbells to High Spy
Author: Colpeakbagger, Published: 13 Oct 2012 Walk rating : Rating:star1 iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UKstar1 iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UKstar1 iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UKstar0 iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UKstar0 iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UK
Cumbria, North Western Fells
Walk Type: Mountains
Catbells to High Spy
Length: 9 miles,  Difficulty: boot iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UK boot iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UK boot iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UK boot iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UK
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A Lake District Classic, Catbells with its distinctive profile appears in a multitude of postcards and photographs and is always prominently on the Keswick and Derwentwater skyline. This walk follows the line of the ridge that goes from Catbells across Maiden Moor to High Spy and then down through the woods near Grange and along the lane back to the start.

The start of this walk is from roadside parking along the lane that runs between Catbells and Derwentwater. The easiest way to get there is from Keswick, follow the signs for Borrowdale and just after the end of Derwentwater there is a road on your right signposted to Grange. Follow this road back along the other side of the lake and park anywhere you can find a gap towards the beginning of the ridge.

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Walk Sections

Start to Hause Gate
Start to Hause Gate

Start point: 54.5801 lat, -3.1658 long
End point: 54.5602 lat, -3.1699 long

The route to the summit of Catbells zigzags up from the point of the ridge where it meets the road you have parked on. It climbs up to the subsiduary top of Skelgill Bank from where you get a good view of the way ahead as it undulates towards the final short climb up to the summit of Catbells. In his Pictorial Guide, Alfred Wainwright decribed Catbells as a family fell suitable for "grandmothers and children" and it is certainly very popular, however from the top you are going to less frequented parts as you continue on the path that follows the ridge as it drops down to the walkers crossroads of Hause Gate.

Hause Gate to High Spy summit
Hause Gate to High Spy summit

Start point: 54.5602 lat, -3.1699 long
End point: 54.5338 lat, -3.1856 long

The path now starts to climb again as you head up Maiden Moor. Its hard to know where to look as the views all around are incredible. On one side you have Derwentwater and the view down into Borrowdale whilst on the other you can look across Newlands valley and the rest of the North Western fells. Maiden Moor doesnt really have a top being more of a plateau and the path makes its way across this and climbs gently towards High Spy, the highest part of this walk. Passing the cairn on top of Blea Crag on your left you will know when you get to the top of High Spy as it has a 8 foot high cairn in a sort of bottle shape.

High Spy summit to Grange
High Spy summit to Grange

Start point: 54.5338 lat, -3.1856 long
End point: 54.5469 lat, -3.1569 long

And so down we go. From the cairn at the top of High Spy, keep following the path south as it descends down towards Rigg Head. Pass over a stile in a fence and now head down through the disused quarries. The path is steep and stepped as it twists through the old slate workings with abandoned buldings on either side. As you get towards the bottom of the quarry workings the path becomes less steep and curls around to the left where it now heads through the woods at the base of Castle Crag. After passing Castle Crag you now follow the banks of the River Derwent all the way to the village of Grange.

Grange to Finish
Grange to Finish

Start point: 54.5469 lat, -3.1569 long
End point: 54.5801 lat, -3.1654 long

You are on the last bit now as at the village of Grange you turn left and follow the lane all the way back to your car. The road is quiet and passes through patches of woodland and gives good views over Derwentwater and up towards Skiddaw.

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Text and images for this walk are Copyright © 2012 by the author Colpeakbagger and may not be reproduced without permission.


The information in this guide has been provided in good faith and is intended only as a guide, not a statement of fact. You are advised to check the accuracy of the information provided and should not use this guide for navigational directions nor should you rely on the accuracy of the weather forecast. You are advised to take appropriate clothing, footwear, equipment and navigational materials with you according to the current and possible weather and nature of the terrain. Always follow the country code and follow any additional warnings or instructions that may be available. Some walks may be very strenuous and you are advised to seek medical advice if you have any doubts as to your capability to complete the walk.

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