Derwent Water

Derwent Water Viewed From My Cat Bells Walk

Derwent Water Viewed From My Cat Bells Walk

Derwent Water Keswick

Derwent Water is one of the smaller Lakeland lakes, whilst being set within one of the most beautiful valleys of the Lake District as the lake occupies part of Borrowdale and is immediately south of Keswick. Derwentwater is surrounded by some stunning scenery and the very popular fells and walks such as Skiddaw and Cat Bells walk.

Derwent water measures approximately 3 miles (4.8 km) long by 1 mile (2.6 km) wide and is some 72 feet (22 m) deep, with several islands within the lake, one of which is inhabited, and that being Derwent Island House, an 18th century residence, which has a National Trust property and has a tenant, although open to the public on five days each year.

Derwent Water is fed by the river Derwent from the catchment area in the high fells at the head of Borrowdale. The lake is very beautiful to take pictures of with absolute calm in the early mornings and a mirror effect of the fells upon the water, and often times at dawn the fells will be a stunning red colour as the sun rises, with swirls of mist upon the water, although you can find waves splashing against Friar’s Crag when driven by a southerly Gale.

Derwent Water Launch

Derwent Water has a regular passenger launch operating upon the lake, taking passengers between various landing stages. There are seven lakeside marinas, the most popular stops being, Keswick boat landing, Portinscale and the Ladore Falls. Should you stay upon the launch as it makes it way around the lake to enjoy this journey, it will take approximately 50 minutes round trip.

There is very little car parking around the Ladore Falls so taking the Derwent Water launch is a great way to see the lake and also incorporate this in to seeing the Ladore Falls, although this is best done after rain for a more stunning scene.

The most popular way to enjoy the beauty of Derwent Water, whilst visiting the Keswick area is by walking the shores and footpaths around the lake, or sit upon a bench and watch the toing’s and throwing’s of the launch at the Theatre in the Park jetty and the Lakeside Car Park which is a pay and display, as always.

Should you wish to get upon the water under your own steam you can hire rowing boats, and motors boats. Derwent Water is a peaceful place for the family, whether picnicking, fishing, swimming or simply walking.

Should you be looking for a Lakes walk I can personally recommend using the Derwent Water launch, embarking from Lakeside car park jetty and disembarking at Hawes End, to then walk one of the classic Lakeland fell walks of Cat Bells walk which I completed recently as was rewarded with some of these great pictures of Derwent Water. The footpaths around the lake follow the banks through some extremely attractive woodland offering truly spectacular views, which makes Derwent Water on of the most popular Lakeland areas for walkers.

Much of the surrounding land is now the property of the National Trust, the lake itself was one of the Trust’s earliest acquisitions. The nearby Scarfell Pike was donated to the trust in memory of the men of Cumbria who gave their lives in the First World War.

For accommodation there is the 220 year old Barrow House Lake District Hostel which is an old mansion and ideally situated for a relaxing family or group break. Boasting extensive grounds with a large play area and woodlands, children will find plenty of space in which to enjoy. To book a hostel or hotel please look at our hotel and hostels pages. Whilst Keswick offers a multitude of Bed and Breakfast facilities.

Should you wish to see better quality photographs of Derwent Water please visit Derwent Water on our Lake District Walks Flickr account.

Please feel free to comment on this Derwent Water, share or even hit the Face Book like button.

Lake District Walks Derwent Water Video

There is an abundance of holiday accommodation within the Derwent Water and Keswick area with Campsites near Castlerigg Stone Circle, Keswick Guest Houses and local pubs. For a pet friendly home search our Lake District Cottages for a local cottage close to Penrith and the Eden Valley. Whatever time of year you visit Keswick and Derwent Water you will find a friendly place to stay.

I trust you enjoyed my article on Derwent Water.

Cat Bells Walk

Cat Bells Viewed From Derwent Water

Cat Bells Viewed From Derwent Water

Cat Bells Walk Keswick

Cat Bells is majestically poised above Derwent Water and quite arguably one of the most popular of all the low level Lakeland fell walks at 451 metres (1,480 ft); a mountain in miniature. The ascent is well rewarded with breath taking views over Derwent Water to the east and the Newlands valley to the west and back over the town of Keswick to Skiddaw and Saddleback (Blencathra walk), although Sharp Edge is not visible.

The renowned Lake District writer and walker Alfred Wainwright acknowledged the popularity of Cat Bells among fell walkers of all abilities by saying;
“it is one of the great favourites, a family fell where grandmothers and infants can climb the heights together, a place beloved. Its popularity is well deserved, its shapely topknot attracts the eye offering a steep but obviously simple scramble”.

Sometimes it is hard to fathom why generation after generation certain walks remains ever popular, although some are immortalised by writers such as Wainwright and Beatrix Potter into the national heritage and I believe it is good to know why these walks have become shrine like to those seeking the outdoors. To have the wind blowing in your face and knowing the famous have walked these very same footpaths gives food for thought.

For those with long memories or young children will be interested to learn that Cat Bells was the home of Mrs Tiggy Winkle. With several of Beatrix Potter’s earlier publications drawing their backgrounds from the area around the Newlands valley and Derwent Water, where Beatrix Potter spent several summers before 1903. The Tale of Squirrel Nutkin (1903) was inspired by the red squirrels which still frequent the woods on the shores of Derwent Water, Owl Island where Old Brown lived in the story being St Herberts Island. The connection is strongest with The Tale of Mrs Tiggy Winkle (1905). This story is about a small girl called Lucie who lives at Little Town in Newlands. One day she meets washer woman (or washerhedgehog!) Mrs Tiggy Winkle, who works in a kitchen behind a small door on the side of Cat Bells. The real Lucie being a daughter of the vicar of Newlands whom Beatrix Potter met on her visits here.

Cat Bells Historical Connection

Cat Bells has long had its historical deep rooted past which brings people of all ages back time and again to walk these well-trodden footpaths. There are those who walked Cat Bells with their parents and return with their children and it is this lifelong connection which I believe makes such walks as Cat Bells part of the national heritage of walks if there was such an accolade.

There is ample parking around the base of Cat Bells and usually a farmer’s field wherein you may park, with currently a very reasonable £3 for the day fee for the privilege.

From here you will clearly see the ascent of Cat Bells directly in front of you and the cattle grid. There is a wooden footpath sign at the road junction which clearly indicates the start of the route. Leaving the road you will see a wide bridleway track to start with before the path commences to climb very steeply through the zig zags.

Very quickly you will start to climb and Derwent Water will come into plain view and the higher you climb the more of the Lakeland panorama comes into view. A memorial tablet will be passed for Arthur Leonard (founder of the Co-operative and Communal Holidays and ‘Father’ of the open-air movement) and eventually you will reach the first summit.

The footpath continues onwards and upwards along an undulating ridge to a final climb to the summit of Cat Bells.

The summit of Cat Bells can be a busy spot in high season and is a great place to swap walking notes with other walkers.

Continuing beyond the summit of Cat Bells following the footpath towards Maiden Moor and at the intersection of the crossroads take the left hand track, whilst descending steeply on a path through the zig zags, there being a fence on short sections.

As the track continues downwards it bends towards the right, heading away from your walk starting point, whilst you may wonder if you are going along the correct route as it is unclear at this point where you well make your uturn.

As the path widens the tree line will come into view and a dry stone wall separating the open fell from the trees. Taking the path leading left which runs along the lower slopes of Cat Bells with superb views over Derwent Water.

The footpath eventually reaches the road by the quarry, but leaves again, although here you may simply follow the road back to the walk starting point or return to the lower slopes of Cat Bells.

Cat Bells Walks Video

Should you wish to see better quality photographs of this Cat Bells walk article please visit Catbells Walk on our Lake District Walks Flickr account.

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I trust you enjoyed my article on Cat Bells walk.