Catbells is one of the most popular fells in the Lakes measuring in at 451m, or 1,480ft. Whether you’re a new climber, experienced mountaineer, or just looking for a good adventure – it’s one of the best routes you’ll find straight from Keswick.
Walking Catbells: Is Catbells easy?
The hike is arguably one of the most rewarding in the Lake District, too – with views from the top extending over Derwentwater and out towards Bassenthwaite Lake. Catch this on a clear day, like we did this week, and you’ll never want to go home.
Heading to Catbells
Adam and I took a trip out to Keswick on Wednesday to climb Catbells.
It’s been a while since we’ve attempted a good fell hike, so this seemed like the perfect walk to get us back into things. BLTs packed and loaded up on coffee, we set off from Keswick Rugby Club car park (the best place to park in Keswick, FYI), and headed straight for Derwentwater.
Alpacaly Ever After
It’s very easy to access the fell – just follow the Derwentwater route until you find the sign for Catbells.
You’ll get to pass Alpacaly Ever After on your way through – Date Nights Away sells a Llama Trekking Experience here that I’m super eager to do when we get the chance.
Though only considered a small hill, Catbells has all the makings of a Lake District mountain with a good climb and even a little bit of rock scrambling near the top. The first 10 minutes or so were fairly muddy thanks to all the rain we’ve been having, but we soon found ourselves on a pretty easy path to carry us most of the way.
The family fell
You’re likely to see a huge variety of walkers heading up Catbells- we hiked alongside a group of kids on a school trip, several couples, and even a family with a small baby.
We seemed to pass everyone three or four times by seemingly taking it in turns to have breaks, so you’re likely to get to know the people you’re walking alongside.
Scrambling on Catbells
There are two small scrambling patches on ascent which are steep, but not overly difficult.
Anyone who knows me knows I’m not the best on my feet when it comes to scrambles, but this was pretty simple to tackle. There’s a couple of routes available here, so you won’t feel like you’re holding anyone up by taking it slow and steady.
The last scramble will carry you to the summit of Catbells.
Other online guides have told us the top can be bitingly cold – but we caught the fell on a pretty good November’s day and managed to have a sandwich at the top with the help of a few warm layers. If you’re looking for a good point to change your socks, this is it.
The view from the top extends over Derwentwater and Newlands Valley, stretching for miles on a clear day. This is a great place to get photos – some of our very best are in this blog post for you to get a good idea of what’s on offer in return for your climbing efforts.
Many people around us then decided to descend in the same way they climbed up, but we’d recommend following the path round to climb down the steps on the far side of the fell.
These can be a little monotonous but seemed like the safer (and easier!) route down. We took ourselves back down to the Derwentwater path, and followed this back round into Keswick. In the end, the full walk was around 7.5 miles – but you can park at the bottom of Catbells and take a shorter 3.5 mile route if you’d prefer.
If you’re interested in the bag I’m wearing here, by the way – it’s The Daypack from Salkan.
Is Catbells worth climbing?
Catbells is a fell we’d love to climb again and again.
The route felt safe and plenty of walkers were around – even if it meant the hike was a little busy. If you’re looking for something to get you back into the swing of things, or even just to get the heart rate up – this is it. Choose a good day weather-wise, and you’re in for an even better experience.
Absolutely – Catbells is a fantastic hike with spectacular views of Derwentwater and beyond from above. It’ll take you around an hour to ascend and you can make your route as long or as short as possible, meaning it’s suitable for most ages and abilities.
Yes, Catbells is a Wainwright, and it’s a nice quick one to do. It’s easy to tick off Great Gable, another Wainwright, after hiking Catbells if you’re looking to string a few together.
Catbells isn’t exactly easy, as it’ll definitely get your heart going and you will need to climb using your hands at times. It’s still pretty good for new hikers, however- as it’s relatively small compared to other Wainwrights out there and the route up is pretty safe and sturdy.
Catbells overlooks Derwentwater near Keswick in the Lake District. You can access it via the Derwentwater path – follow the signs for the fell.