Catbells : The Lake District

by | Jan 30, 2020 | Go Outside, The Lake District, Walking

Route Information

An out-and-return circular walk

Route Difficulty: Easy

Distance: 6.38 km (3.99 miles)

Route Elevation:  451 m

Route Ascent: 465 m

Route Time: 2-3 hrs

Start and Finish: Small Car Park at Hawes End which is free, CA12 5UE. You can also get a boat from Keswick which takes around 10 minutes.

Depending on the featured walk and especially in mountainous areas, you may need to Calculate the time using Naismith’s Rule and factor in to your own pace.


Unfortunately, there are no facilities along this route with the nearest toilets, cafes and pubs being in Keswick.


Very few hazards along this route, apart from a few short easy scrambles

The Urban Ranger Website cannot outline every single hazard on a walk – it’s up to you to be safe and competent, and to be able to read a map and use a compass. Plan your route properly with the latest advice from the AdventureSmart website

Public Transport

Traveline for UK Public Transport

Weather Forecast

MWIS Lake District Weather


Possibly the most well-known walk in the lake district, Catbells is a true favourite walk for all ages.

Alfred Wainwright said of Catbells, it is one of the favourites, a family fell where grandmothers and infants can climb the heights together, a place beloved.

Catbells is infamous and is one of the most favoured walks in the Lakes, and was recently voted the 4th best walk in Britain. Rising gently to the west above Derwent Water, Catbells is a short sharp, steep climb which offers impressive views on a clear day. The route is generally walked in anticlockwise fashion from the car park at Hawes End.

Standing at 1480 ft Catbells is just short of 3 miles from Keswick and its distinctive shape catches the attention of many visitors.

Catbells is the last fell on the ridge separating Derwent Water from Newlands Valley. It rises due south from Hawse End, reaching the summit in two distinct steps. The lower top is named Skelgill Bank, beyond the summit of Catbells is the steep sided depression of Hause Gate, before the ridge broadens and twists south westward to Maiden Moor.

Formed from an Olistostrome of disrupted, sheared and folded Mudstone, Siltstone and Sandstone Catbells earns its 4th place ranking in the UK’s best walks.

Starting from the Hawes End side, walking Catbells is a gradual ascent with some tricky little parts to navigate but nothing too serious or demanding. The route is very easy to follow and it would be very difficult to get lost in all honesty.

Skelgill Bank offers the first ascent at 338 metres before you get your fix on Catbells at 451 meters in the near distance. With great views either side of Derwent Water and the Newlands Valley this walk provides some stunning scenery in every direction.

Once at the summit you will head down to Hause Gate where you will then head left and down the steps towards Manesty. Once you reach the woods on your left do an immediate left and follow the Allerdale Ramble path back to Hawes End.

Catbells is possibly one of the best fells to try your mountain fitness on before trying something bigger. There are no real dangers along the route and that is why it is so accessible to those of all ages.

One of the safest and most scenic walks in the Lake District.  

Viewranger Unlimited OS maps for Great Britain


Exclusive 10% discount for users of my website. With Viewranger new Ordnance Survey map subscription, you get unlimited access to all OS Explorer and Landranger maps for Great Britain at 15 zoom levels. The discount coupon code of “urbanranger2020″can only be used by clicking the button below.