Always a good idea to get out early on Catbells and beat the crowds. And on a fine morning, with grand long views, you need to get out even earlier.
We set out from Hawse End, climbing steadily on Catbells’ picturesque ridge. Such wonderful views over a very placid Derwent Water. In this rainy summer we’ve been snatching the dry days.
You can see why Catbells is popular. Its shape is quite beautiful, especially when seen from Keswick. It challenges visitors to that town to make the expedition – and has for nearly a couple of centuries. Read old Victorian guide books and there it is – Victorian gents and ladies used to extol its virtues.
Setting out early paid off. We had the summit to ourselves and only when we were leaving did we see anyone else on the ridge. By that time we were on our way to Hawse Gate and the accompanying height of Maiden Moor.
The heather in this part of the Lake District is quite magnificent at the moment. Great sweeps of purple on the slopes of Causey Pike and its neighbouring summits.
Looking down from Bull Crag and across the Newlands Valley must be one of the finest views in Lakeland.
We walked down towards Little Town, past the extensive workings of the Yewthwaite Mine. Nature has healed the scars of the mining operations. Only the Herdwick sheep rule these mineral works these days.
I’ve just been re-reading Arthur Ransome’s adventure Pigeon Post, a wonderful fictional account of copper-mining in the Lakeland Fells in the 1930s. A beautiful expression of Ransome’s love of the Lake District as well.
We followed the gentle path that contours the western side of Catbells on our way back to Hawse End. Looking up the hundreds of feet we could see the crowds out. A long and patient procession waiting to scramble up the rockier parts of the ridge. Like an approach march on some mightier mountain.
Getting out early paid off…