This is, I suppose, a sort of Half-Newlands: along the ridge from Catbells, across Maiden Moor and on to High Spy, before dropping down to Dale Head Tarn and the long but beautiful trek back beside the infant Newlands Beck. Not to be considered just half-a-walk or any such mischievousness, it really is a grand day out.
The Newlands Horseshoe usually takes in the six summits of Catbells, Maiden Moor, High Spy, Dale Head, Hindscarth, and Robinson, but it's a long day with over
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. 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 appears 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.
Continue across the summit and down to the col. Climb the track ahead. There is another little scrambly bit as the path swings right, it then degenerates a bit into a wide eroded scar before the gradient eases towards the high expanse of Maiden Moor. Either continue on the main track and miss the summit, or for the best views of the surrounding valleys bear right on a narrow path towards the top of Bull crag. Maiden Moor's summit is rather indistinct, just head over the highest ground.
Return, or continue on the track. The next prominent summit is High Spy North Top, just off to the left of the track - not to be mistaken with High Spy itself, whose cairn is unmistakable. Obsessive baggers might want to visit this top as well as it's a Nuttall.
Just after High Spy North Top beside the track is another shallow and muddy tarn.
Being a ridge of high ground, even if rounded in places, there isn't much to go wrong. Indeed just following the main track will see you eventually at High Spy with its immense, remarkably well engineered cairn.
Continue over the summit. There is a cairned path of sorts down the rough rock strewn hillside heading, roughly south-west, for the col with Dale Head. Wainwright calls this Rigg Head but it remains un-named on the 50K and 25K OS maps. Dalehead Tarn is the larger pool of water that can be seen a little above the stream.
To Dalehead Tarn: cross the stream and climb the engineered steps the other side bearing slightly left. The tarn comes into view in approx 100m. Return across the stream.
Drop down on the narrow path beside the stream into, eventually, the Newlands Valley. To find the path from the stream look up to High Spy and bear left keeping close to the stream on your left, it starts within 50m (55 yards) just before a rocky outcrop.
Meander along the path which is never far from the stream. The waterfalls along here are superb especially after a good downpour. Before the final major cascade the path splits, a higher path forks faintly ahead and our path, more clearly bears left and continues to follow the stream. There is nothing wrong with the higher path, other than it is sometimes hard to follow. However, you'll miss the best waterfall!
Below the cascades the ground levels out and in places becomes boggy. Bear right a little remaining on the path, which eventually becomes a track. This is later metalled and makes for hard, if easy walking. Follow the track as it skirts above the field enclosures. Past a climbing club hut, so be aware there may be vehicles about, and eventually you'll find yourself above the car park at Little Town.
The track splits here, take the right fork onto a grass track. It climbs a little above the hamlet, follow as it contours alongside a wall and through the quarry. Eventually meeting the minor road at Skelgill bear right to the car park just 300m (330 yards) away.
If you like this walk then why not try one of our other nearby walks:
|Catbells||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