• About the Lakes
  • Lake District News
  • Things to do
  • Places to Visit
  • Where to stay in the Lake District
  • Interesting Articles about the Lake District
  • Eating out in the Lake District
  • Events in the Lake District
  • Windermere Boutique hotel luxury boutique hotel
  • Aphrodites Boutique Hotel
  • Log cabin hotels in Bowness
  • Hot tub hotels in Bowness on Windermere

Walking Cat Bells in the Lake District

Walking Cat Bells in the Lake District
Cat Bells is said to take its name from the presence of wild cats. Perhaps. With lead mines operating on either side of the fell, it became something of a hollow mountain. Slagheaps disfigure the view at Yewthwaite (west) and Brandelhow (east). The Cat Bells path is initially reinforced with stone. In summer, you will walk between banks of chest high bracken. Where there are small tracts of open ground, the old Lakeland flora reasserts itself in the shape of pale blue harebells and the ubiquitous yellow, four-petalled tormentil. The view opens out to reveal Derwentwater and the flanking fells.

Notice the scattering of islands, the two most prominent being Derwent Isle and St Herberts Island, the last-named relating to a Celtic saint, friend of St Cuthbert, who left his island retreat occasionally, and then only to call on the saint when he was visiting Carlisle. To the north is the wooded hill which commands attention because of its neat cone shape. The hill is known as Shipside.

Your upward walk is now over upended Skiddaw Slates, which consist of mudstones, shale's and flagstones that have been complexly folded (take care in wet conditions, when the rocks might be slippery). You will see, affixed to a major outcrop, a plaque commemorating Thomas Arthur Lenard, who was the founder of cooperative and communal holidays ie, the CHA a guesthouse of which is to be found in nearby Newlands Valley.

Good views will entice you to stop periodically. Several false summits will tease you. Then, at last, and with only modest effort, you will be standing on the summit, where there is no cairn just rocks worn especially smooth by the booted feet of thousands of visitors. Sprigs of heather cling to the sides of Cat Bells. You might also notice parsley fern, which looks remarkably like the garden plant of which a sauce is made for lunch. A raven or two might circle to have a good look at you before letting the wind bear them effortlessly away.

Locate the path that leads to Maiden Moor (the hulk which lies just south of Cat Bells) but leave the major path where there are cross paths, the right hand route leading to Little Town in Newlands. We go left, descending steeply on a paved path that eventually becomes one of pounded earth. Rather more than 100 yards (90m) beyond a length of wooden railing, turn left on an obvious path that descends towards Derwentwater.

Cross the main path you will find lower down and, with a wall to your right, and some newly planted rowan 'and birch among the bracken to your left, you even-tually find yourself looking over a most attractive garden, which is associated with Brackenburn, where Hugh Walpole, author of the Harries series of novels, spent part of his time (the other part was in London). Walpole described Brackenburn as his 'little paradise on Cat Bells'.

He purchased the house in 1923, enlarged it and converted the upper storey of a detached garage into a repository for his books which eventually numbered 30,000 and as a study. He wrote many books and also his Harries Chronicle here. In The Fortress, he set the home of Adam Paris so that much of the scenery could be described by looking out of his study window. Among his many notable visitors was W H Auden, who was a simple and jolly soul. He 'did not make me feel a silly worn-out old man', observed Walpole.

At the tarmac road, go left for a short distance until (on the right) you see an obvious footpath leading down the hill. A small peninsula by Derwentwater is the setting for a house that has one of the most favored sites in the Lake District. Named after Abbots Bay, its nucleus was a cottage built by Percy Withers, an Edwardian romantic, who bought the land in 1902. He sold it for £1,800 in 1915, and in 1949 the muchextended Abbots Bay House was sold for £4,000. In the early 1980s, it came into the possession of owners, who subsequently put it on the market for £I.2sm. With it came the(; diminutive Otter Island, where mallard and free ranging geese nest.

The footpath by Derwentwater extends to Brandelhow Bay, to one of the lake landing stages and, eventually, to an attractive woodland way to Hawes End, bypassing the boat landing. Walk on shingle to gain a path that is shaded by huge trees chestnut, beech and oak, with some relatively old birches. The birch, a pioneering species in the sense that it is among the first tree to become established, is not especially long-lived, fling prey to various fungal diseases.

The path runs close to Hawes End, a large house. Remain on the path until you see a footpath sign pointing (left) to Cat Bells. An easy climb, partly over tree roots, leads to the tarmac road connecting Portinscale with GrangeinBorrowdale. A finger post 'Skelgill' is situated beside the path we will follow (use the fingerpost simply as a marker: it is not intended to go to Skelgill).

Home >> Things to do

Other Pages That May Interest You...

Top 20 great children s activities in the Lake District

Top 20 great children´s activities in the Lake District The Lake District offers some of the best children´s activities, and things to see and do, than anywhere else in...

Continue Reading Here: Top 20 great children s activities in the Lake District
Published: 2011-09-02 10:32:11

Top 10 walks in the Lake District

Top 10 walks in the Lake District The Lake District is undoubtedly one of the best places to walk in the UK, and whether you ...

Continue Reading Here: Top 10 walks in the Lake District
Published: 2010-09-01 08:41:15

Top 10 Autumn and Winter farmers markets in the Lake District

Top 10  Autumn and Winter farmers markets in the Lake District ...

Continue Reading Here: Top 10 Autumn and Winter farmers markets in the Lake District
Published: 2010-09-01 08:31:33