Renowned Lake District writer and walker Alfred Wainwright acknowledges the popularity of Catbells among fellwalkers of all ability by saying:
“It is one of the great favourites, a family fell where grandmothers and infants can climb the heights together, a place beloved. Its popularity is well deserved, its shapely topknott attracts the eye offering a steep but obviously simple scramble.”
Distance: Approx 3.5 miles/5.7 kms
Time: 3 hours approx plus stops
Difficulty: Moderate – A short steep section on ascent with some minor scrambling.
Starting point: Take a Keswick Launch to Hawes End jetty.
From the moment you step on the fell you can start to enjoy sensational panoramic views over Keswick, Derwentwater, Borrowdale, the Newlands Valey and the Western Fells.
- Follow the path up to the road away from the lake shore. From the cattle grid walk up the road 50 metres. The clear path leaves the road at the first bend and zig-zags steeply up the main breast of Skelgill Bank. The path levels for a short while and then climbs again to the summit of Cat Bells. There are some scrambly sections but nothing too technical.
- Take a well deserved rest and obligatory photo stop at the top before descending south to the saddle of Hawes Gate.
- From Hawes Gate, at the point where four paths meet, descend the steep but made up path to your left (East). Follow the path down and then take the path left towards a plantation of conifers. Here you join the main terrace path but your direction is downwards following a dry stone wall to the road. Follow the road left for approximately 50 metres and then turn right down to the lakeshore at Brandlehow Bay past the old mine workings.
- Now follow the lakeshore path through the wooded shore line, passing High Brandlehow Landing stage and then Low Brandlehow, eventually returning to the start point at Hawes End.
- 5.2 miles from Low Briery