Walla Crag is a fabulous viewpoint on the eastern side of Derwent Water, much of the panorama is hidden until having climbed through the trees the ascent of Cat Gill is left behind, and the crag is finally gained. The summit cairn once stood much closer to the edge than it does now having been moved back to the official Ordnance Survey spot height.
Even the path alongside Cat Gill is interesting, steep at times, and stone pitched in places. Brief enticing glimpses of the waterfalls can be heard often tease the walker by hiding out of clear sight deep within the gill.
It is said that Lady's Rake, the only breach in the crag, was named after the Countess of Derwentwater who used the precarious rake to evade capture after the arrest of her husband for his actions in the Jacobite Uprising of 1715. These days the rake is not a recommended ascent or descent route!
The top of the crag is reasonably safe in mist, a wall back from the crag is a good handrail which should not be strayed from in those conditions. On this walk Brockle Beck acts as a good collector of wayward walkers, funnelling water and walkers alike down to the farm at Rakefoot.
The start point is the National Trust pay and display car park at Great Wood, on the Borrowdale road a couple of miles south of Keswick. Exiting the car park in one direction you return from the opposite: always a good ingredient for a great circular walk.
Walk height profile
note that gradients are usually grossly exaggerated
From the car park entrance bear right into the car park far cul-de-sac, walk past the picnic bench and large tree trunks to continue on a path into the woods. The path runs vaguely parallel with the exit road over to your right. Keep left on the track.
Approaching Cat Gill you hear the sounds of numerous small waterfalls and the path bears left to start the real climb alongside the gill.
Follow the path on a narrow terrace alongside the gill.
Reaching the gate go through and continue on the path.
Bear left away from the gill to a kissing gate. The path then zigzags steeply up through gorse and the ever present trees.
At the top go through another kissing gate and continue on the path.
Eventually you leave the trees behind and reach open fellside. Keep left to walk alongside the wall on your left.
You can ignore the first stile over the wall. In 350m (385 yards), approaching the top, climb the step stile over the wall; a dog gate is alongside.
Bear right and follow the boggy path through heather to the rocky summit.
The cairn appears to be further back from the edge of the crag than in Wainwright's day. Bear right past the cairn and cross back over the wall via another stile. There's a dog gate here too.
Turn left and start the descent.
Bear right to avoid a boggy section, and continue ahead. The narrow path widens and becomes track like in response to the almost continuous damp boggy conditions under foot. Moss, and particularly sphagnum moss suggests this section is always boggy.
In mist the wall over to your left could be followed more closely. Whilst over on the right Brockle Beck would collect anyone straying too far - effectively funnelling you down to Rakefoot. Taking the middle line, when the wall comes in from the left bear right and follow the well worn path alongside.
Just above Rakefoot, as the Beck and wall converge bear left to drop down to the gate. Continue on the rough track beyond and at the bottom cross the beck by the footbridge to the road.
Turn left along the road for 200m (220 yards).
Turn very sharp left through a gateway into a field and follow the path to and over the footbridge. Bear right along the other bank of Brockle Beck. Follow the terraced path keeping right as directed by a small footpath marker.
At the path junction before the aerial mast turn left on to the path between the wall and fence heading back to the woods.
Continue into the woods. Barely more than 100m (110 yards) when the path splits take the right hand fork.
This rough track descends gently through woodland. Keep on the track until nearing the road, which you will hear, where the track sweeps right bear left on a narrow path dropping back to the car park.
If you like this walk then why not try one of our other nearby walks:
|Walla Crag and Bleaberry Fell from Great Wood||40m (44 yards) away|
|A Short Walk From Ashness Bridge to High Seat||1.8km (1.1 miles) away|
|A Short Stroll to Lodore Falls||2.0km (1.2 miles) away|
|Around Derwent Water||2.0km (1.3 miles) away|
|A short walk to Friar's Crag from the Moot Hall, Keswick||2.1km (1.3 miles) away|
|The National Trust Centenary Stone from Keswick||2.1km (1.3 miles) away|
|Castlehead Viewpoint from the Moot Hall, Keswick||2.1km (1.3 miles) away|
|Cumbria Way - Keswick to Caldbeck||2.1km (1.3 miles) away|
|The Old Keswick Railway Line and Latrigg||2.4km (1.5 miles) away|
|Catbells||2.6km (1.6 miles) away|
|Catbells, Maiden Moor, High Spy - A Half Newlands||2.6km (1.6 miles) away|
|Catbells and the Newlands valley||2.7km (1.7 miles) away|
|Castlerigg Stone Circle||3.0km (1.8 miles) away|
|Causey Pike and Scar Crag||3.9km (2.4 miles) away|
|Skiddaw Shepherd's Memorial||4.0km (2.5 miles) away|
|Misty Skiddaw||4.0km (2.5 miles) away|
|A longer walk over Bakestall and Skiddaw||4.0km (2.5 miles) away|
|Lonscale Fell via Burnt Horse Ridge||4.1km (2.5 miles) away|
|Latrigg: a short stroll||4.1km (2.5 miles) away|
|Raven Crag, Castle Crag and The Benn||4.2km (2.6 miles) away|
|Robinson, Hindscarth and Dale Head - A Half Newlands||4.5km (2.8 miles) away|
|Robinson and Hindscarth from Little Town||4.5km (2.8 miles) away|
|A Shorter Coledale Round||4.6km (2.8 miles) away|
|To Force Crag Mine - a Coledale Low Round||4.6km (2.8 miles) away|
|The Coledale Horseshoe||4.8km (3.0 miles) away|
|High Rigg, Naddle Fell, and Wren Crag||4.9km (3.1 miles) away|
|Great How||4.9km (3.1 miles) away|
|Lodore Falls, Watendlath, Grange Fell, and the Bowder Stone circular||5.0km (3.1 miles) away|
Unless otherwise stated the text in this walk is the copyright of Hug Solutions Ltd trading as The Hug and the photographs are the copyright of Elizabeth Oldham. Hill data is derived from Database of British and Irish hills which is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License. Maps contains Ordnance Survey data © Crown copyright and database right 2011 and paths © OpenStreetMap Contributors,CC-BY-SA, 2011