Catbells seen from Maiden Moor

The strange configuration of Catbells, as seen from Maiden Moor.

Height: 1481 feet above sea level.

Volume: Book 6 (The North-Western Fells)

Date climbed: 18th March 2011 (walk 33).

Bagged as number: 102 out of 214. [ << Hallin Fell (101)  (103) Maiden Moor >> ]

Catbells, viewed on the approach

Catbells, viewed on the approach from the north

Route of ascent and descent: Ascended from near Hawse End (the same way that everyone else will, to be honest), having come from Keswick by way of Portinscale and Fawe Park. Left on the ridge to Maiden Moor.

What Mr Wainwright says (from page 2 of his chapter): “Catbells is one of the great favourites…. Its popularity is well deserved: its shapely topknot attracts the eye, offering a steep but obviously simple scramble to the small summit; its slopes are smooth, sunny and sleek; its position overlooking Derwentwater is superb. Moreover, for stronger walkers it is the first step on a glorious ridge that bounds Borrowdale on the west throughout its length with Newlands down on the other side. There is beauty everywhere – and nothing but beauty.”

What I say: Yes, it’s certainly an attractive fell, and for those who appreciate this kind of thing, it is a particularly sharp and pointed one with a narrow ridge and small summit. From Maiden Moor to the south its distinctiveness is particularly apparent (see picture at top). The views, particularly of Derwentwater, are spectacular. And it’s all at under 1500 feet.

The summit of Catbells

The summit of Catbells, with Derwentwater and Blencathra behind

Yet at the same time this is not a place to go to get away from it all and it does start to matter after a while. Both times I have been up in my life it’s been incredibly busy. No, I don’t want to keep the fells to myself or anything but all I’m saying is, there are lots of places not far away that are just as beautiful and yet much quieter (e.g., Grange Fell just across the valley) – because, after all, one reason many people do walk is for the tranquility. Catbells is unquestionably a beautiful fell, but it is not a tranquil one.

[ << Castle Crag    Catstycam >> ]


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