Thursday, 14 July 2011

Catbells - looking back on my first Fell

"No Keswick holiday is consummated without a visit to Catbells" - A.Wainwright

Not the first fell I attempted, but Catbells was the first Lakeland mountain that myself and crag rat Rainer successfully conquered. Yes, it's far from being the biggest of the bunch, but Catbells has a charm of its own and despite being hugely popular, you still get a sense of being away from it all.

It's not as easy as you might think - there is a small scramble and a couple of spots where some effort is required. It was also my introduction to that popular Lakeland trick of thinking you are just about to reach the summit when the next ridge apears beyond. Catbells does this a couple of times to you.

Situated close enough to Keswick, Catbells offers many options. It can be climbed on its own, or as part of the Newlands Horseshoe, or as a longer walk from Keswick - the walk through Portinscale and Swinside on the way is well worth doing - watch this space for a description of that walk coming soon. and you can make it an adventure by including a boat trip across Derwentwater on one of the Keswick cruises from Keswick to Hawes End.

Catbells from across Derwentwater
The views from Catbells are just spectacular and make this such a popular fell. You can look northwards over the vale of Keswick and over to Bassenthwaite Lake.

Looking north to Bassenthwaite Lake

Turning around you can across Derwentwater to see Keswick nestled at the top of the lake, with the mountains of the Skiddaw range creating the perfect backdrop.

looking down back along Catbells to the Northern Fells
Across the Lake you can see the fells of Walla Crag and Bleaberry Fell and looking down along Borrowdale you can see Castle Crag and the lush valley.

the view along Borrowdale
Having said that is has it's tougher moments, this really is a fell for everyone. We have seen people of all ages going up and down Catbells, one of the most memorable being a young girl asking her mother where the McDonalds was. No, I didn't make that up.

the view opposite Catbells from the camping barn
With one of my favourite bases for the north western Lakes being the camping barn  at Skelgill farm on the flanks of Catbells, this is a fell and area I'll be visiting time and time again.

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