Walla Crag

On the last morning of our three day break in the lakes, after another hearty breakfast, we decided on a short walk before driving home. Only a mile or two up the road from the hotel was a National Trust carpark perfectly suited for a walk around Walla Crag. I like National Trust carparks because I’m a life member so I can park for free (insert smiley face emoji).

The route that I’d plotted on my Garmin was only three miles and was supposed to be a low level walk. This is low level for the lake district. We set off an immediately spotted a sign pointing towards the easy gradient up to the top of the crag. As you can see from the photo below, this most definitely wasn’t my definition of an easy gradient.

However, there were some amazing views across Derwentwater.

Eventually we reached the top of the crag, which was covered in snow. The views across the other side weren’t as good as there was plenty of low lying cloud obscuring the views across to Great Dodd, Stybarrow Dodd and Helvellyn. We also spotted a trio of small Fell Ponies, before starting to walk gently back around the far side of the crag.

As our route slowly turned from the north east to the north west we then given cloudy views across Keswick and Skiddaw. We then passed a woman running up the hill that we were slowly walking down. Once upon a time, many years ago, me and Helen could have run up a hill this steep. Although, at my best I would never have been able to keep up with Helen on the way back down, she is an absolute demon at descending.

This route was quite popular as we passed a number of other walkers and runners as we crossed a small frozen stream and down a slippery farm track.

The last part of the walk went through Great Wood, even though it wasn’t very large.

Back at the carpark and I handed my ticket to a couple who were eyeing up the instructions on the parking meter. Apologies to the National Trust if they are reading this.

Our short break in the lakes had been a much needed respite from work and everything else, and our three walks had all been excellent. I would thoroughly recommend staying at the Mary Mount hotel as well. Helen has given it a stellar review.


Catbells in the lake district is my lovely wife’s favourite fell. We first went there together 18 months ago (read about it here) and it was about time that we climbed it again.

We stayed at the brilliant Mary Mount hotel on the shores of Derwentwater, in the shadows of Catbells. After a hearty breakfast, including a sausage for Nelly, we set off directly from the hotel, stopping off briefly to look at the frozen Lodore Falls, which were a little disappointing. From there we found the lake perimeter footpath, walking around the southern tip of the lake. We then started to climb, crossing a small road and taking a footpath along the lower section of the fell.

We continued along the lower slopes of the fell before turning west and heading up. From experience there are a couple of places where you need to scramble, often on all fours. It can be difficult to select the best route, so I would scout ahead and then suggest the best route to Helen and Nelly. Catbells is also made up of a lower hill with a saddleback before the tougher climb up to the summit.

The photo above indicates that we were blessed with amazing weather once again. In the distance is the main summit, which looks far harder than it actually is.

At the top the trig point has been replaced with a stone plinth with details of every fell and hill that can be seen on a clear day. We could see every one of them.

The previous evening we’d looked at the Garmin route that I had plotted, and we were worried that the route back down would be incredibly steep and treacherous. However, after a quick Google search most people stated that the route we were on was the best one.

From the top of Catbells we continued towards Maiden Moor. To climb that particular fell would be a long day as there isn’t a short route back to the hotel. We’ll save that for another day. Instead, we headed down on a steep but safe set of steps, which was far easier than the scramble up the other side.

Once we reached the bottom we had a gentle and flat walk back to the hotel. Less climbing than the previous days walk up High Seat (read about it here), but slightly longer.

Feeling fit and healthy, we had a quick brew at the hotel before driving into Keswick for a look around. We found a dog friendly café and had yet another brew and cake. As far as I can tell, all cafes and pubs in Keswick are dog friendly. I then bought a couple of half bottles of rum to enjoy over Christmas, if they last until then.

Another brilliant day in the lakes.

High Seat and Bleaberry Fell

Like many people I had some annual leave from work that I needed to take before the end of the year. The week before Christmas already had a number of people off, so I took last week. Not wanting to just sit around all day, we booked two nights away at the excellent Mary Mount Hotel near Keswick, overlooking Helen’s favourite Fell, Catbells.

We decided to go for a walk close to the hotel before checking in. I had a quick look on Garmin routes and created what I hoped would be a pleasant walk. It turned out to be a fantastic walk. I still sometimes struggle to get my head around the fact that I can create a route on an App on my phone, and then synchronize it with my watch, giving me a route, with map, to follow.

We parked up in a small carpark and walked up a narrow icy road towards Ashness Bridge, where we headed onto a footpath. The first section was steep and continued up for ages, until it started to level out a little, with stunning views back over Derwentwater and Catbells.

We slowly continued to climb, avoiding more icy sections, stopping for photos, including this selfie taken by my beautiful wife.

We soon reached the top of High Seat, with views across Thirlmere and Helvellyn. The photos that we took just didn’t do it justice, so you’ll have to make do with my silly face.

We briefly chatted to a runner, who was enjoying running over the frozen bogs, before we headed down towards Bleaberry Fell. This section was very easy walking, with a number of other people out enjoying the clear views, and only a very small rise to the summit. We also felt that it was safe for Nelly to be allowed off her lead for a while. She’s getting old and doesn’t run off as far as she used to. She also wasn’t in the slightest bit interested in the view.

From the top of Bleaberry Fell we could see all of Keswick, Derwentwater and Bassenthwaite Lake.

The descent down from the fell was fairly steep and icy in places, but then it levelled out again as we turned south back towards the car. However, there was a nasty sting in the tail, as the final section of path before we joined the road was again very steep and covered in ice. We all nearly fell over a number of times and we were happy to see Ashness Bridge once again.

I have to say that it was one of the best walks we’d been on, especially as it had been a last minute route decision. It was helped by the stunning conditions, which even though it was very cold, the views were some of the best we’re ever likely to see. Final distance was just over 9km, with 600m of climbing. Not an easy walk, but incredibly rewarding.