Kings How and The Bowder Stone

Kings How and The Bowder Stone

Kings How and The Bowder Stone

Kings How and the Bowder Stone Walk Borrowdale

This is a pretty little walk fit for a king. Kings How is not particularly strenuous or demanding but a pleasant interlude if you have a couple of hours to spare.

We parked at the National Trust car park on the B5289 on the left as you come from Keswick, just past the village of Grange on the right and opposite Holmcrag wood. Kings How Grid reference: NY 253168 .We paid for 3 hours which was ample and cost just over £5.

Kings How Car Park

We turned left out of the car park along the road and almost immediately there is a National Trust sign indicating the Bowder Stone to the left. There is a clear track leading to the stone.

The stone is about 30 foot high and 50 feet across. It weighs around 2000 tons and is remarkable as it balances on one corner. As the rock is not local it is thought most likely that it landed here in the ice age carried from Scotland by the glaciers.

The rock is popular with climbers and is also accessible to most by a sturdy wooden ladder that takes one to the top. Once up there you find yourself on a fairly narrow ledge looking across to the woods.

It is a pleasant distraction in the clearing surrounded by woodland and in March the daffodils were out making it picture postcard pretty.

Continueing our Kings How walk from the Bowder stone it is an incessant if not steep climb up to King’s How. It was mid/late March when we went and the stubble of last year’s bracken studs the hillside along with the odd fallen and stripped branch. It is easy to imagine the ferns that must upholster the hillside as you walk through it in the spring and summer. As you near the peak if you look behind you there in contrast to the more autumnal colours of the fell the village of Grange surrounded by its lush green fields appears like an emerald cut in a diamond shape.

Kings How Borrowdale

As you turn a corner and just below the summit you happen upon a plaque with some indistinct lettering which has inscribed: “In Loving Memory of King Edward VII, Grange Fell is dedicated by his sister Louise as a sanctuary of rest and peace. Here may all beings gather strength, find in scenes of beautiful nature a cause for gratitude and love to God, giving them courage and vigour to carry on his will.

Princess Louise was the daughter of Queen Victoria and sister of King Edward V11. As the president of the National Trust at the time she made Grange Fell a memorial to her brother at the time of his death in 1910.

If Grange was an emerald, then by now if you look to your left Watendath Tarn is every bit a light blue sapphire glinting in the spring sunlight.

Having reached the summit from which can be seen beautiful views over Grange, Derwent Water and Keswick with Borrowdale Valley, Scafell and Great Gable to to the South we make our way back down the other side by the distinctive track which eventually leads us straight back to the car park.

Kings How and the Bowder stone is a jewel of a hike in the crown of Lakeland walks.

Latrigg Walk

Latrigg Walk Keswick

Latrigg Walk Keswick

Latrigg Walk

Latrigg is an iconic Lakeland fell- walk and one of the lowest fells in the Lake District. It’s an all year round climb, which is very popular due to its convenient location overlooking the town of Keswick. The summit of Latrigg rewards the walker with beautiful views down the Borrowdale valley, Derwent Water and Bassenthwaite Lake, and the Helvellyn range can be seen.

You can start a walk to the summit of Latrigg from practically anywhere within the town of Keswick and its multitude of Guest Houses with good parking available throughout.

Walking from the leisure pool making your way to Spooney Green Lane, a bridleway is clearly signposted leading to Skiddaw. The bridleway crosses the A66 and makes its way to a wooden 5 bar gate and kissing gate. Passing through the gate the path ascends the western slopes of Latrigg with views towards Skiddaw and Bassenthwaite Lake. The total ascent of Latrigg is approximately 1,000 feet with the main footpath following the western flank before it turns back towards Keswick and the summit.

For many the challenge of Latrigg is to ascend by the more strenuous routes which are not on the Ordnance Survey maps. Along these routes you may even find people out running from Keswick to the summit and back again!!

First Route to the Summit of Latrigg

As you follow the footpath upwards you will come to a small island and here you can leave the well trodden Ordnance Survey route and head off North Easterly through the pine trees. We followed this route which traversed the fell until we came to the end of the woodland area and a fence line. Along this path there are some wonderful views of Keswick and Derwent Water. Upon reaching the fence we jumped over and followed it until we reached a gate on our left.

Once through the gate it is a short walk to the summit of Latrigg and the small wooden bench seat which marks the summit. On a quiet day you may find the seat empty but we where not so lucky.

Second Route to the Summit of Latrigg

Look for a path, which turns acutely off to the right from the main Ordnance Survey track and follow this as it gracefully and partially zigzags a course to the summit of Latrigg.

On leaving Latrigg following the summit ridge North Easterly towards Blencathra and Threlkeld returning back the way we had climbed from our original approach via the fence line. Here the footpath is easily followed and on good ground as you make your way downwards and onto the road.

To make for a longer and more interesting walk we continued downwards onto the disused Keswick railway walk which is distinguished by a 5 bar gate, with a kissing gate adjacent. There is also a sign post here. Also of note is the fact that you should be able to see a wonderful old railway bridge from the gate and sign post. There is also a shelter of stone construction in which you will find the Cumbrian way of spelling 1 through 10.

Taking the railway footpath we continued on our walk away from Keswick and headed towards the Lakeland village of Threlkeld. You will find the railway path to be good quality and relatively flat, making it good for cyclists and walkers.

The railway footpath is approximately 3 miles long and was created by the Lake District Park Authority following the acquisition of part of the former Cockermouth, Keswick and Penrith Railway which closed in 1972. Over the railway footpaths 3 mile length between Threlkeld and Keswick there are 8 redundant old railway bridges which cross over the River Greta making this a wonderful walk.

We followed the railway footpath until it met the A66 and here we turned off and walked along the main through fare through the village of Threlkeld until we arrived at the Horse and Farrier where we had our lunch.

After lunch we returned the way we had come back down to the railway line path and walked along its length back in to Keswick.

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

Latrigg is a great easy walk for all to enjoy.

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.

Keswick Walks

Sunset From Latrigg, Keswick & Derwentwater

Sunset From Latrigg, Keswick & Derwentwater

Keswick Walks

Keswick is regarded by some as the capital of the Lake District and as such is the base for many weekend breaks, walking holidays and simple get away from it all relaxing breaks.

There is an endless combination of Keswick walks around the town and surrounding area, suitable for all ages and abilities, which are easily accessible such as, Derwentwater and Borrowdale. Walkers may choose from gentle strolls to full day’s mountain hiking, with many in between.

A few of my personal favourites include Latrigg, Walla Crag, Castlerigg Stone circle and the walking and cycling Railway path. This combination of Keswick walks offers something for everyone.

The Keswick Walks Railway Path

The Keswick Railway path is a purpose built path which offers a relatively even and flat nature walk. The route follows the valley bottom of the river Greta heading out of Keswick towards the Lakeland village of Threlkeld and the well-known Lake District mountain of Blencathra. It is hard to get lost on the Railway path and is simply a case of following the path, making this a good family walk, with children and dogs. This walks path is buggy friendly, whilst suitable for wheelchair users at the Keswick side, and runs approximately 4 miles in total. Once you have walked as far as you desire, simply retrace your steps and amble back enjoying the fauna and flora of this Keswick walks.

Friers Crag / Around Derwentwater

This is one of the great local short level walks, suitable for children and prams, whilst suitable for the disabled, with great views of Derwentwater and surrounding fells. Starting with your back to the Keswick Information Centre, take the right hand exit into Lake Road and continue for approximately 150 metres. Take the paved road which is still Lake Road down to the right under the subway. On leaving the subway continue ahead with Hope Park on your right. Bear right past the wishing well and go past the Theatre on your left. As you arrive at the lake continue ahead onto the gravel track to Friers Crag. This particular one of our Keswick walks is approximately 4 miles and with little or no climb and should take about 1.5 hours to complete.

Keswick Walks Latrigg

Of all the local Keswick walks Latrigg is a good moderate walk which will push your level of fitness and therefore be a good indicator before you try any of the more impressive Lakeland fells and mountains. The Latrigg walks are generally circular by nature starting at Fitz Park and on up Spooney Lane across woodlands and fields. Then following the footpath to the summit and an amazing viewpoint of the surrounding area. This particular Keswick walks is approximately 6 miles and climbs about 1,000 feet and should take about 3 hours to complete.

Keswick Walks Sunset

Keswick Walks Sunset

Keswick is most definitely well situated for any walking trip or holiday, being centrally located within the Northern Lake District, exploring this area of outstanding natural beauty, with exceptional Lakeland views from such destinations as Skiddaw, Blencathra, the Helvellyn Range and the Borrowdale fells all within walking distance or a short, car bus or launch ride away. At this point I believe it is worth mentioning the Ullswater launch as this is a marvellous way to access the Helvellyn range and Striding Edge walks, although it is great do complete a day’s walking being car free where ever possible.

Equipment

For any day out enjoying our local Keswick walks it is always advisable to go well prepared and with good gear. This is the secret of enjoying walking anywhere, and all types of walks. Don’t compromise on your own comfort and safety for the sake of a cheap or rushed purchase, as it’s simply not worth it in the long run. Remember quality lasts long after the price is forgotten. Being safe, warm and dry, remembering this is the Lake District after all and it does rain.

Keswick History.

The valleys and surrounding area of Keswick has a strong history of copper and slate production, with Honister slate mine and the Threlkeld quarry worth a visit.

Perhaps one of the most famous discoveries, was that of graphite in Borrowdale around 1550. Derwent pencils are renowned for their quality and the Pencil Museum in Keswick will lead you through how they lay claim to the world’s first graphite pencil.

Whatever Keswick walks you ultimately embark on I hope you enjoy.