For the second day of my brief Lake District visit, the weather was a little less “breezy” and some of the snow had melted, so I decided to visit Cat Bells. I’d not been to Cat Bells for about fifteen years. Although one of the more modest fells, it has superb views and the weather conditions looked good for a few photos.
From Braithwaite, I followed the A66 back to Keswick for about 500m, using the parallel cycle way until I came to the footpath heading south towards Little Braithwaite across the fields.
From the bridge at Little Braithwaite, there is a delightful path along Newlands Beck to a minor road that leads to Stair. From Stair, I took the lane to Skelgill.
From Skelgill, there’s a track which contours around the base of Cat Bells heading south. The low angle of the sun and the snow made for some good photos, even for a poor photographer like me.
After a few hundred metres, there’s a track that gently climbs the flank of Cat Bells towards the col with Maiden Moor. This is not marked on the 1;50,000 map but provides excellent walking and superb view of the fells to west of Cat Bells (Causey Pike, Sail and Ard Crags).
Although there was a light covering of snow and ice, the gentle incline of the path made it easy.
Even from this distance, you could make out the zigzag path up Sail (a bit of an eyesore IMO).
Before reaching the col, there was a grassy path which cut straight up to the southern end of Cat Bells. Once on the ridge the snow was a bit thicker, but the views opened out all around.
To the south-west, Robinson and Hindscarth looked quite alpine.
To the north, Skiddaw and Blencathra were magnificent with plumes of cloud flowing from their summits.
The blue of Derwent Water contrasted with the green lushness of Borrowdale.
To the north-west, I could see the snow-clad hills of the Scottish Southern Uplands.
Descending the north ridge of Cat Bells was a bit tricky with the snow and ice, but it afforded wonderful views across the northern end of Derwent Water.
Back down in Newlands, I reversed my route back along Newlands Beck. I arrived back at the campsite mid afternoon. While it wasn’t a long walk it was wonderful for the views. Cat Bells has to have some of the best views in Lakeland.