8th March 2008

Raining cats and dogs around Derwent Water


Walk Overview
Time 11.20 to 14.20
Duration 3 hr
Distance 9.8 mile
Ascent 1413 ft
Walking with On my own
Portinscale - Nicol End - Below Cat Bells - Manesty - Grange - Lodore - Barrow Bay - Borrowdale Road - Keswick - Portinscale
Fells visited
Directory places visited

Starting Point Information Centre
Roadside parking near Portinscale suspension bridge

This is somewhere I tend to start walking from qutie a lot. It's nice and handy for Keswick, Borrowdale, Newlands Valley, Skiddaw, Latrigg and even the Castlerigg Stone Circle area.

The parking is free and no matter at what time of year or time of day I've always managed to get a space here.

From here you're only about 10 minutes walk from Keswick with everything the town has to offer, and in the opposite direction you're less than 5 minutes walk from Portinscale.


Route Map

I'd deliberately set out a bit later today and as I was crossing the suspension bridge at Portinscale I was thankful I'd missed the mornings forecasted rain; or so I thought at the time. There was just so much water about though, from the River Derwent, seen here looking rather full, to the fields, paths and the roads.

Walking through Portinscale.

Next stop was Nicol End Marina.

The Skiddaw fells seen in the distance with the higher tops in cloud.

And looking around to Blencathra.

Even at rather less than 700ft, which was the somewhat modest height to which I ascended on todays walk, the wind was having an adverse effect on my ability to walk in a straight line. And while it was still manageable enough on this path; to say the least, it would have been a struggle to maintain steady walking if I'd have been higher up on the fells themselves. Despite that; as I was walking along the path above the road, I talked to two separate and clearly well equipped couples who both commented on (our) disbelief that so many clearly under equipped groups were still intent on taking young kids up Cat Bells in these conditions. As one guy said to me "if the authorities new that people were putting their kids in that sort of danger at home, the kids would be taken off them".

Cat Bells may be seen by some people as a soft option, and a family fell, but anyone who has been up there during strong winds, when the rocks are wet and slippery, will know just how difficult the final section of the fell can be.

The lovely little village of Grange, although not quite looking its best on this grey March day. I suppose this is typical; if it's going to start raining anywhere, then it has to be the furthest point from the car.

Now this is what I call rain. This wasn't the so called rain that everyone else gets, this was real Lake District rain. It was Cats & Dogs material, it was bucketing down, it was stair rods, it was the whole lot at the same time. This is indeed what we all love to hate about the place.

As if that wasn't bad enough, then it started to get really heavy, but I couldn't understand why I was the only one out walking! Although they do say that madness and lunacy can creep up on you unawares, then, before you know it you're sitting in a padded room with a straight jacket on. Now I'm not altogether sure what stage of madness I must be at, but I actually found myself laughing out loud as I was walking along here. At first it was a rather slow, deep sounding laugh; no doubt something deep inside me was wondering exactly what I was playing at. Before long however, it developed into more of a whimper than a laugh. By that stage all I could do was plead with the rain to "please stop, or at least ease off a bit".

Well at least this proves I made the right decision to walk all the way around to Grange, instead of trying to walk across the path between Manesty and Lodore.


Decision time again. I thought with the lake being so high, the section where the path leading to Barrow Bay and the main road might be flooded, as it often is. So I carried on walking along the road. As it turned out the water wasn't quite high enough to flood the path, but at least the road was quiet so I didn't end up playing dodge the car.

Almost back in Keswick now. The rain had stopped, the cloud had lifted a little and I was wishing I'd set off a couple of hours later.

A grey afternoon in Keswick.

David Hall -
Lake District Walks