Important note: Two bridges on the return along the old railway path have been destroyed in Storm Desmond, December 2015. Either retrace your steps from the summit of Walla Crag. Or from Castlerigg Stone Circle exit by one of the gates and turn left walking along the minor road down to Chestnut Hill and then the main road into Keswick.
A circular walk of moderate proportions starting in the centre of Keswick at the Moot Hall, now the Tourist Information centre, wandering along the shores of Derwent Water to climb the beautiful and steep Cat Gill to the top of Walla Crag. From the crag you can just see the Stone Circle in front of Blencathra. The return to Keswick along the old Penrith to Keswick Railway line completes the circle.
Keswick's Moot Hall has a rather fine clock tower which only has an hour hand. At Friar Crag is a memorial to John Ruskin who was a very public figure of the Victorian era lesser known for his later conservation work. The National Trust's Centenary Stone can be found in Calfclose Bay, it celebrates 100 years of the trust in 1995.
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 spot height.
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 Walla 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 Moot Hall in Keswick right in the middle of the shopping precinct and central to many of the parking options. The Moot Hall is the Tourist Information and Visitors Centre so is well signed from all points of the town.
If you need accommodation we have details of 35 properties offering rooms near the start of this walk. Here are some examples:
Walk height profile
note that gradients are usually grossly exaggerated
From the clock tower on the front of the Moot Hall in the town centre, bear right to pass alongside the hall and then right again towards George Fisher outdoor shop. Turn right just in front of the shop into Lake Road.
Bear left to the subway under the Borrowdale road and follow the path left in front of Café Hope onto the promenade beside Hope Park and the 'pitch and putt' golf.
Bear right into the park and then left to wiggle through towards the Theatre By The Lake. Follow the road bearing right down to the marina and Keswick Launch pier. Turn left onto the promenade.
Continue along the promenade to Friars Crag, in the middle of the mound is a memorial to John Ruskin.
Continue round the small outcrop, down the steps and right to the gate. Go through, and follow the path along the edge of the the parkland and shore.
Go through another gate onto a path skirting the boggy woodland of The Ings. Bear right and cross the bridge to carry on round and reach a farm track.
Turn right along the track to the farm. Bear left following the signs. At the end of the track go through the gate and bear right to remain on the footpath.
Follow the path to the fence above the lake shore and bear left. This area is Stable Hills which seems to just be a few minor bumps in a field. Follow the path around the field to the gateway at the end, go through on to the National Trust's Broomhill Point. Bear left and then right following the path around Calfclose Bay where the National Trust's Centenary Stone can be found.
Continuing round, cross the beck by the small footbridge and along the beach for a little over 100m (110 yards). Bear sharp left up to the road where there is a bus stop on both sides of the road. Carefully cross the road to the bus stop on the other side where there is a hole-in-wall to a footpath.
Follow the path initially bearing right and then round to the left to cross the exit road of the National Trust Great Wood car park. Continue on the track ahead and bear right to the forest barrier, keep right on the track which narrows to a path. Approaching Cat Gill the path bears left to climb next to the gill.
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 step 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.
Bear left onto the road and follow it for 100m (110 yards). Turn right through a slightly hidden kissing gate into the field, it is signposted "Public Footpath Stone Circle".
Follow the path alongside the wall on your left to the kissing gate at the far end. Go through and turn left again signposted "Footpath To Stone Circle". Follow the path along the field edge to the main road, the A591, at Nest Brow.
Carefully cross the road and take the narrow lane opposite, it joins the main road at an oblique angle.
Reaching the field with the stone circle climb the slightly precarious stone stile into the field. Cross the field to the stones.
Cross the field and out onto the road by one of the three usual gates beside information boards. Turn right and follow the road past the Keswick Climbing wall to the "T" junction. Turn left, and reaching the next junction bear left again.
After 100m (110 yards) as the road goes round to the left, bear off right to the permissive path signposted to the "Keswick Railway Footpath". Cross the field, and go under the A66 via the underpass.
Bear right and follow the path through the fields. After going through the gate in the wall bear left to drop down to the railway path at the Brundholme bridge.
Turn left to cross the bridge on the railway path. Follow the wide track to Keswick.
Reaching the old station buildings which are now part of a hotel continue to the Leisure Centre just beyond, and turn left to go around to the front of the buildings. Bear right down to the road.
Continue along the road beside Fitz Parks to the junction on the outskirts of the town centre. Cross the road and continue towards the town centre, keeping right to reappear back at the Moot Hall.
If you like this walk then why not try one of our other nearby walks:
|A short walk to Friar's Crag from the Moot Hall, Keswick||10m (11 yards) away|
|The National Trust Centenary Stone from Keswick||10m (11 yards) away|
|Around Derwent Water||14m (15 yards) away|
|Castlehead Viewpoint from the Moot Hall, Keswick||22m (24 yards) away|
|Cumbria Way - Keswick to Caldbeck||22m (24 yards) away|
|Walla Crag and Bleaberry Fell from Great Wood||2.0km (1.3 miles) away|
|Walla Crag and the Great Wood||2.1km (1.3 miles) away|
|Skiddaw Shepherd's Memorial||2.4km (1.5 miles) away|
|Misty Skiddaw||2.4km (1.5 miles) away|
|A longer walk over Bakestall and Skiddaw||2.4km (1.5 miles) away|
|Lonscale Fell via Burnt Horse Ridge||2.5km (1.5 miles) away|
|Latrigg: a short stroll||2.5km (1.5 miles) away|
|Castlerigg Stone Circle||2.5km (1.5 miles) away|
|Catbells, Maiden Moor, High Spy - A Half Newlands||3.1km (1.9 miles) away|
|Catbells||3.1km (1.9 miles) away|
|Catbells and the Newlands valley||3.1km (1.9 miles) away|
|To Force Crag Mine - a Coledale Low Round||3.5km (2.2 miles) away|
|A Shorter Coledale Round||3.5km (2.2 miles) away|
|The Coledale Horseshoe||3.7km (2.3 miles) away|
|Causey Pike and Scar Crag||3.8km (2.3 miles) away|
|A Short Walk From Ashness Bridge to High Seat||3.8km (2.4 miles) away|
|A Short Stroll to Lodore Falls||3.9km (2.4 miles) away|
|Grisedale Pike and Hopegill Head||3.9km (2.4 miles) away|
|Force Crag Mine||3.9km (2.4 miles) away|
|Words In The Woods||4.5km (2.8 miles) away|
|Whinlatter Forest - Heavy Sides Walk||4.5km (2.8 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