Friar's Crag is a little rocky outcrop just over 1.0km (0.6 miles) from the Moot Hall in the middle of Keswick town centre. It is famed for the views down Derwent Water, to the fells across the water including iconic Catbells and to the Jaws of Borrowdale. So named as it is believed to have been the place that monks used to leave from bound for the friary on St Herbert's Island. The route is wheel-friendly as it is mostly tarmac or firm gravelled pathway.
The walk starts at the Moot Hall in Keswick, which is a familiar landmark for visitors being in the middle of the town centre. At the northern west end is the famous clock tower with only an hour hand. The other houses the Tourist Information Centre. Scattered amongst the expected variety of shops there are many outdoor emporia supplying the needs of the whole spectrum of climbers and walkers.
Leaving the shops quickly behind the route passes under the Borrowdale road to Hope Park, and on to the Theatre by the Lake. Beyond which you come to the shore of Derwent Water at a wide slipway. Keeping to the promenade above the slipway, jetties and launches you have fine views across the water. The tarmac ends at a small boathouse and the way then becomes firm packed gravel through a sheltered avenue of trees to seating on the end of Friar's Crag. Through the trees the view is southwards to the Jaws of Borrowdale - a phrase coined by early visitors and which Wainwright described as the 'loveliest square mile in Lakeland'. As well as the stunning views, in amongst the trees is a memorial to John Ruskin.
For people with limited mobility it is closer and perhaps more convenient to start at the Theatre by the Lake, where there is a large pay and display car park. There are a number of town centre car parks, all pay and display.
Starting from the Moot Hall, looking up at the face of the clock tower, pass along the right hand side of the building, which at the far end houses the Tourist Information Centre. Pass the Old Keswickian chip shop along its right hand side into the lane through the shops to George Fisher. Turn right immediately in front of the shop into Lake Road.
Nearing the end of Lake Road bear left to go through the underpass, then left in front of the cafe. The gardens of Hope Park are now on your right, down some steps, which you can wander through, exit at the far corner.
Continuing on, a road comes alongside you. Keep right skirting the car park and up to The Theatre by the Lake.
Keep ahead, past the theatre entrance. There is then a wide slipway down to the water's edge. There's usually some very tame ducks, swans and geese who frequent the area to beg food off anyone that looks like they might have bread. Bear left on to the promenade.
The promenade runs along above the jetties and launches. Approaching a small boathouse the track becomes firm gravel, keep left. Continue ahead to the seating atop Friar's Crag.
The stepped form of Catbells' northern ridge is distinctive across Derwent Water, to the right of it the Nessie like undulations of Causey Pike's summit ridge. Derwent Isle lies close to the shore.
The monument to John Ruskin stands in the trees just back from the seating area.
Return back along the outward route.
If you like this walk then why not try one of our other nearby walks:
|The National Trust Centenary Stone from Keswick||same start point|
|Cumbria Way - Keswick to Caldbeck||14m (15 yards) away|
|Castlehead Viewpoint from the Moot Hall, Keswick||14m (15 yards) away|
|Around Derwent Water||22m (24 yards) away|
|The Old Keswick Railway Line and Latrigg||0.6km (0.3 miles) 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||2.5km (1.5 miles) away|
|Lonscale Fell via Burnt Horse Ridge||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|
|Grisedale Pike and Hopegill Head||3.9km (2.4 miles) away|
|Force Crag Mine||3.9km (2.4 miles) away|
|A Short Stroll to Lodore Falls||3.9km (2.4 miles) away|
|Whinlatter Forest - Heavy Sides Walk||4.5km (2.8 miles) away|
|Words In The Woods||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