The summit peak of Catstycam.

The summit peak of Catstycam, with the sunlit Pennines in the far distance. Pictured on walk 47, December 2011.

Height: 2917 feet above sea level.

Volume: Book 1 (The Eastern Fells)

Date climbed: 14th August 2012 (walk 61)

The summit of Catstycam

The summit of Catstycam: Red Tarn below.

Bagged as number:  192 of 214. [ << Base Brown (191)  (193) Birkhouse Moor >> ]

Route of ascent and descent: Ascended from Glenridding, via the lead mine and the north-west ridge. Descended to Red Tarn then went on to Birkhouse Moor.

What Mr Wainwright says (from page 2 of his chapter): “If Catstycam stood alone, remote from its fellows, it would be one of the finest peaks in Lakeland. It has nearly, but not quite, the perfect mountain form, with true simplicity in its soaring lines, and a small pointed top, a real summit, that falls away sharply on all sides. From Birkhouse Moor particularly it has the appearance of a symmetrical pyramid, and from the upper valley of Glenridding it towers into the sky most impressively. But when seen from other directions it is too obviously dominated by Helvellyn….”

Catstycam from Birkhouse Moor

Catstycam from Birkhouse Moor. From this angle, the east shoulder blends into the main peak and it looks an almost perfect tetrahedron.

What I say: Undeniably, Catstycam is one of the sexiest mountains in the Lakes. From some viewpoints it is unrivalled in its perfection of mountain form; the photos alone should illustrate this. However, from other sides it does lose this shapeliness, with the east shoulder, particularly, being a rather unsightly bulge, kind of like cellulite on an otherwise well-toned thigh, that kind of thing. Nevertheless this is a fine climb, and not too difficult either; almost the perfect ascent in fact in that once you hit the bottom of the north-west ridge it’s all pure uphill, with no question as to route, and it leads directly to the tiny, undeniable summit.

Though it is the 10th highest of all his 214, Wainwright gives comparatively little space to the fell (8 pages, and two of them are full-page illustrations).  I suppose that as a simple pyramid, subservient to a still-higher parent fell (Helvellyn), there may not be much to keep exploring over and over, but it does seem a shame, as I like this fell and admire its beauty. It’s nowhere near as hard to get on and off as it might seem from a first look and all in all, this is worth some effort.

[ << Catbells     Caudale Moor >> ]

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One Response to “Catstycam”

  1. […] half-day’s walk yesterday (Tuesday 14th August), walk 61, saw me bag two more fells, Catstycam (the highest one I had left) and Birkhouse Moor. Two completions to note – Catstycam […]

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