Classic Lake District Walks – Walk up Catbells

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Post Code for Sat Nav: CA12 5UE


Roadside parking by Hawes End and there is a small, free car park on the way to Skelgill. If parking in Keswick and taking the boat, there are multiple large pay-and-display car parks in Keswick, including Keswick Lakeside Car Park, which is a short walk from the launch.

Public Transport:

The Keswick Launch runs boats from Keswick to Hawes End. The journey takes 10 minutes and all parking issues by Catbells can be avoided. Plus, a boat trip is a great start to the walk!

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Route Summary:

One of those classic walks that almost everyone who walks in the Lakes has walked at some point or other.

Distance: 5.91 km

Ascent: 379 m

Time: 2.5 – 3 hours

Start and Finish: Hawes End near Keswick


None on route but plenty of pubs, cafes and shops in nearby Keswick.


Some steep sections

Remember that we cannot outline every single hazard on a walk – it’s up to you to be safe and competent. Read up on Mountain Safety , Navigation and what equipment you’ll need.


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Classic Lake District Walks – Walk up Catbells Details

The ascent of Catbells is probably one of the most popular easy fell walks in the Lake District. The walk from Hawes End on Derwentwater is the most popular route up Catbells, but it can alternatively be ascended from Little Town or for a longer approach, from Portinscale just outide Keswick. The Portinscale walk follows the Allerdale Ramble (part of the Cumbrian Way) and then joins this walk. While limited parking is available at the start of the walk up Catbells (Catbells Parking Postcode = CA12 5UE), we recommend that owing to the popularity of this walk that you either walk in from Portinscale or catch the launch from Keswick to the start of this walk.

Image credits – Emma Knipe.

Walk up Catbells oute Map and GPX Download

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Walk up Catbells from Hawes End and Derwentwater

Its with thanks to the National Trust who ensure that this busy little hill does not become eroded by the hordes of walkers

1 – The bet bet is to catch the Keswick Launch which has numerous pickup and drop off points on Derwentwater, including Hawes End. More information is available on their website – Keswick Launch Hawes End.

2 – The climb up Catbells is an excellent introduction to fell walking, as it has some steep sections to get the legs going as well as a short scramble section near the summit of Catbells. Remember that this is an easy fell walk – which is still a reasonably tough walk compared to walking in the park. Thankfully, you’ll be able to take a breather at Skelgill bank and survey the views across Derwentwater and up to the summit ahead. Even better are the views from the summit, which is still a good yomp despite being only 451m in height and goes to show that it’s often the lower summits that make the best viewpoints.

3 – The descent from the summit down to Hause Gate is gentle, but then steepens as the path descends to join the Allerdale Ramble.

4  Once the route reaches the bridleway, turn left to follow the Allerdale Ramble to the start.

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