Walking with; Al and Jess
Al and Jess were over in the UK visiting from California and drove down to the Lake District after spending a couple of nights in and around Edinburgh. Al and I go back a long way to 2005 where we met at the Youth Hostel in Taupo on the North Island of New Zealand where we were both working on the cleaning team. We have been out on some great walks since then including jaunts up Kinder and an epic on Half Dome in Yosemite. This time with just a half day at our disposal I decided to take the guys up onto Catbells which whilst a relatively small hill packs a punch in terms of views!
After dropping a car off at Grange we headed back towards Hawse End and under blue skies we began a slow and steady climb through the bracken and onto the exposed slopes above us. We passed the memorial plaque dedicated to Thomas Arthur Leonard, an important figure in the formation of the Co-op holiday society, YHA and Ramblers Association. The plaque is in an appropriate place for a man so well connected to walking and the outdoors. We followed the path as the views unfolded over Derwentwater towards Blencathra and down towards Bassenthwaite and Skiddaw. On the other side the Newlands Valley sat bathed in sunshine and it was all I could do to convince the guys that Lakeland weather wasn’t always quite as benign as this. Summit attained, I left the guys in peace to drink in the views and for Allen, an excellent photographer, to compose a few choice panoramas.
Eventually, and somewhat reluctantly, we left the summit and set off in the general direction of Maiden Moor before, on the saddle at Hause Gate, we angled off the top and follow the zigzagging path down to the Bridleway and then onto the narrow lane leading past beautiful houses and gardens and into the hamlet of Grange where we visited the church before picking up our car and returning to Hawse End.
Catbells is a wonderful introduction to the Lake District and ideal for the visitor with a limited amount of time. The views tick off some of the area’s best known peaks and the vistas of Derwentwater and down into Borrowdale add interest to the sloping route to the top. Whilst it’s unlikely you’ll ever have the summit to yourself, it is certainly worth the effort