Cat Bells is a short, sharp, steep climb richly rewarded by spectacular views of Skiddaw, Newlands Valley to the west and Derwent Water to the east. On its own this short walk could be gently ambled along to make the most of a clear day. An afternoon, or summer evening brisk stroll would delight too. Go around anti-clockwise as we suggest here, the scrambly bits are easier in ascent, and the steps off the ridge whilst tedious get you down quickly and without difficulty.
The small car parking area near Hawse End gets quite busy. Please park responsibly, respect local residences and double yellow lines.
Walk height profile
note that gradients are usually grossly exaggerated
At the start of the small parking area near Hawse End follow the signpost to "Cat Bells 1 mile". This narrow path climbs across the hillside round to the north ridge. Bear right onto steep zigzags heading straight up the nose of the ridge. The first scrambly bit comes as you reach the memorial stone. Here the easiest way up is a path to the left of this face.
Continue over Skelgill Bank and the fun really begins. Although it may appear intimidating, there are no technical difficulties on this last steep pull up, but it will require care and three points of contact.
The first obstacle appeared to be a piece of overhanging rock in the direct line of the path. This is best tackled head on: to the left is more awkward, nothing on the right. Straight on the handholds are fine. Those of us, like the author, with short legs might use a knee otherwise it's just a big step up.
Nearing the top, with many options facing you, the easiest path can be found on the right hand side of the face which although loose presents no difficulties. The summit is at the top of this section.
Carry on over the summit and down to the col at Hause Gate where four paths meet. Turn left and drop down the steep engineered steps zigzagging down the hillside. The path bears right over a knoll. On reaching the bottom and the bridleway, turn left. This wide track mainly traverses above the road, meets it once, and then climbs again slightly to continue back to the foot of the north ridge. Reaching the road again, turn left, and then left again to return to the car park.
If you like this walk then why not try one of our other nearby walks:
|Catbells, Maiden Moor, High Spy - A Half Newlands||same start point|
|Catbells and the Newlands valley||60m (66 yards) away|
|Causey Pike and Scar Crag||1.5km (0.9 miles) away|
|Robinson, Hindscarth and Dale Head - A Half Newlands||2.2km (1.4 miles) away|
|Robinson and Hindscarth from Little Town||2.2km (1.4 miles) away|
|Walla Crag and the Great Wood||2.6km (1.6 miles) away|
|Walla Crag and Bleaberry Fell from Great Wood||2.6km (1.6 miles) away|
|A Short Stroll to Lodore Falls||2.6km (1.6 miles) away|
|A Short Walk From Ashness Bridge to High Seat||2.8km (1.7 miles) away|
|A Shorter Coledale Round||2.9km (1.8 miles) away|
|To Force Crag Mine - a Coledale Low Round||2.9km (1.8 miles) away|
|The Coledale Horseshoe||3.0km (1.9 miles) away|
|Around Derwent Water||3.1km (1.9 miles) away|
|The National Trust Centenary Stone from Keswick||3.1km (1.9 miles) away|
|A short walk to Friar's Crag from the Moot Hall, Keswick||3.1km (1.9 miles) away|
|Cumbria Way - Keswick to Caldbeck||3.1km (1.9 miles) away|
|Castlehead Viewpoint from the Moot Hall, Keswick||3.1km (1.9 miles) away|
|Grisedale Pike and Hopegill Head||3.3km (2.0 miles) away|
|Force Crag Mine||3.3km (2.0 miles) away|
|The Old Keswick Railway Line and Latrigg||3.6km (2.2 miles) away|
|Whinlatter Forest - Heavy Sides Walk||4.1km (2.5 miles) away|
|Words In The Woods||4.1km (2.5 miles) away|
|Lodore Falls, Watendlath, Grange Fell, and the Bowder Stone circular||4.3km (2.7 miles) away|
|A Short Walk to The Bowder Stone||4.4km (2.7 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