Catbells & Castle Crag
This outing was the first fruit of my recent retirement, and a rich crop it proved to be! Both fells were ones I had had my eye on for some time, but had somehow never got round to. I went up the first - Catbells - from just above Manesty Wood (near Grange), arriving eventually by the fell-side road and the obvious, upward-slanting path off it, at the north-south ‘spine’ that runs along the top of the fell. The views from here to the summit, both to the west across the Newlands valley and its attendant pikes (e.g., Hindscarth, Robinson, and Causey Pike) were at their best, as was the northern panorama, encompassing the remainder of Newlands, and, more distantly, Bassenthwaite Lake, Skiddaw and Blencathra. Descent was to Hause Gate and then up a short way beyond it to the eastern flank of Maiden Moor, for glimpses into Borrowdale and especially of distant Castle Crag. From there, back down to Hause Gate and then by the well-paved windy path down to Manesty Woods once again.I then drove to Seatoller in order to walk to Castle Crag from there (on the basis of Mark Richards’ excellent advice in his ‘North-Western Fells’) via High Doat (a sort of outlier of High Spy) and along the subsequent ‘high level’ southern approach. This afforded very fine views of the ‘Jaws of Borrowdale’, framed by KIng’s How on the right and Castle Crag itself on the left, until the ‘neck’ joining Castle Crag to the eastern flank of High Spy was reached. From there, up to the summit, with very fine views back to Borrowdale, over to Langstrothdale, and north towards distant Skiddaw. The return involved descending back to the ‘neck’ and then to near Rosthwaite, where a path along the Derwent winds back to the start.The weather showed these two excellent fells and their neighbours off to best advantage, thus making a most enjoyable and hopefully auspicious start to this new chapter of my life!Catbells walk - Highest point (Catbells): 1480 ft./ 451 m. Distance: 2.77 miles/ 4.445 km. Ascent: 1324ft./ 403m.Castle Crag walk - Highest point (Castle Crag): 951 ft./290 m. Distance: 4.65 miles/7.49 km. Ascent: 1320 ft./ 402 m.
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