Hawse End to High Brandelhow
3-4 hours | Grading:
This stunning Lake District walk involves
a stiff climb but the views make it well worth it. Ensure you
are wearing adequate footwear and carry a waterproof.
Take the boat to Hawse End (the 10-30 a.m. from
Keswick Landings is a good one if you're in Keswick). Walk through
the wood away from the landing stage and out onto the road at
the metal gateway. Slightly to your right, cross the road (by
the metal fence) and follow the stone wall up to the next road.
Follow the road uphill, over the cattle grid, for fifty yards
where the "end" of Catbells is visible. Follow the signs
directing one to the footpath for Catbells. (The preferred initial
route changes sometimes to prevent erosion.)
steady climb takes you up the ridge, but stop every now and then
to look backwards at the opening vista below. You will have noticed
that there are two summits on Catbells, and just before you reach
the lower, there is a memorial tablet set in the rock to Thomas
Arthur Leonard. (Who's he? Well, you'll find out!)
Once on the first summit, the main summit is
clearly visible to the south and after a walk through the intervening
dip, this can be reached. This is at a height of 1481 feet (451
metres). This is an excellent place to eat one's packed lunch,
(about 1 p.m. given the timings suggested) but beware, the sheep
on Catbells are not at all shy and are very partial to sandwiches!
If one looks to the west, the side away from
the lake, one is gazing into Newlands Valley and the hamlet of
Little Town, familiar to Beatrix Potter readers as the territory
of Mrs Tiggy-Winkle.
Continue south to the depression of Hause Gate,
usually marked by a low cairn and turn left (East) i.e. towards
the lake. The path is well worn and descends by a series of zigzags
with occasional rails against which one may pause to enjoy a whole
new series of perspectives of Derwentwater and lower Borrowdale.
Coming to the road at the bottom turn left
and in a few yards is the track which takes you down to the lake
shore at High Brandelhow, (approximately 3-30p.m.) where one may
relax among the trees or splash about in the lake.
For kids of all ages, there is a certain tree
there, near the water's edge, which is extremely climbable right
to the top in the way its branches are laid out like a spiral
staircase - just the way to draw off any remaining energy while
waiting for one's boat back across the lake.