Just to the south of Keswick is a small often overlooked bump. It is almost unseen from the Borrowdale Road despite that passing across its foot slopes, and yet this outcrop of rock is an excellent vantage point. It's so good there is a toposcope pointing out and naming the fells in view. The field of view is across Derwent Water to the distinctive stepped ridges of Catbells, Grisedale Pike, and the nessie like ridge of Causey Pike with its five summit bumps. Further south down the length of the lake is the dark toothed labyrinth of fells dubbed by early visitors as the Jaws of Borrowdale, and which Wainwright described as the 'loveliest square mile in Lakeland'.
The walk starts at the Moot Hall in the middle of Keswick town centre. It's the distinctive building comprising a clock tower, with only an hour hand, at one end and the Tourist information Centre at the other. Leaving the town centre there's a little road walking to do, and a moderate gradient past The Alhambra Cinema. The shops are soon left behind and after a few houses and occasional views of Skiddaw between them, you leave the road and head for the viewpoint.
Castlehead Viewpoint is wooded and going through the gate at its feet you have a bit of a short sharp climb through trees. Nearing the top there is a little rocky step to clamber up, only then is the view revealed. On top are a couple of benches to sit on and contemplate. A toposcope helps to name the fells.
The return back to Keswick crosses the often busy Borrowdale Road into Cockshot Woods. You can turn right and make a bee-line straight back, but we think an amble to Friar's Crag is in order. Crossing a small field you get to Strandshag Bay where there is a gravel shore line path to Friar's Crag. From there it's an easy stroll to return to Keswick and the Moot Hall.
There are a number of Keswick town centre car parks, all pay and display.
This walk takes you to the top of the following hills: Castlehead.
If you need accommodation we have details of 35 properties offering rooms near the start of this walk. Here are some examples:
Start facing the clock tower end of the Moot Hall. Pass along the left hand side of the hall and continue ahead to the road in front of Keswick Boot Co. Bear right, the gradient starts gently, continue up past the incongruously brick built Alahambra Cinema. In a little over 400m (440 yards) from the cinema the road dips slightly and at the foot of the following steep rise turn off right into Springs Road. Follow this for approx 200m (220 yards), and at the public footpath sign turn right onto a fenced path between fields. Castlehead Viewpoint is now directly ahead. Go through the gate at the end into the woodland.
In the woods bear right, climbing steadily, keep left. Reaching a fence corner on your right, bear left up a steep vague path. It becomes easier to see there is path just a few metres along. Follow it along a rising terrace, and then at the foot of an outcrop of rock clamber up the worn smooth path under the last of the trees to the summit.
At the summit you'll find a couple of benches and a toposcope.
Return back down the rocky step and path to the fence corner, turn left to continue descending on the wide path and keep right. Beware of the busy Borrowdale Road in only 150m (165 yards). Drop down the steps to the roadside, and cross to the other side. Turn left and take the off-road path. In just less than 100m (110 yards) turn right onto a fenced path between fields.
Go through the gate at the end, and turn left. Follow the path to another gate and go through into a field. Cross the field (used for lambing in spring), initially ahead to a footbridge across a boggy patch and then slightly right on a wide grassy pathway to the gravel path near the shore of Derwent Water.
Reaching the gravelled path turn right to round Strandshag Bay and on to Friar's Crag. Go through the gate at its foot and bear left up steps past the memorial to the conservationist John Ruskin, and then to the benches.
From the benches on Friar's Crag turn right on to the gravel path, now heading back to Keswick. Following it above the shore, you join the promenade above the launches, and all the ducks, swans, geese, seagulls that gather at the slipway at the end. Bear right to pass along the front of The Theatre by the Lake, and bear left along the pavement beside the road and Hope Park - which is a pleasant wander through gardens.
Keep to the pedestrian promenade to Hope Cafe at the end, bear right through the underpass into Lake Road. At the top of the road at the junction outside George Fisher, turn left and follow this pedestrianised road back into the market square and 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||14m (15 yards) away|
|The National Trust Centenary Stone from Keswick||14m (15 yards) away|
|Cumbria Way - Keswick to Caldbeck||20m (22 yards) away|
|Walla Crag and Castlerigg Stone Circle||22m (24 yards) away|
|Around Derwent Water||30m (33 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|
|Latrigg: a short stroll||2.4km (1.5 miles) away|
|Lonscale Fell via Burnt Horse Ridge||2.4km (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||3.2km (2.0 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|
|Force Crag Mine||3.9km (2.4 miles) away|
|Grisedale Pike and Hopegill Head||3.9km (2.4 miles) away|
|A Short Stroll to Lodore Falls||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