26th March 2014

Cat Bells from Portinscale


Walk Overview
Time 1:30 to 5:30pm
Duration 4 hr
Distance 7.7 mile
Ascent 1500 ft
Walking with Jennifer
Portinscale - Nichol End - Skelgill Bank - Cat Bells - Side of Cat Bells - Skelgill Farm - Stair - Newlands Beck - Ullock - 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


Portinscale was a busy thoroughfare today with walkers, runners, cyclists and bikes with trailers.

I was almost across the suspension bridge when I took this picture looking across to Latrigg. Getting a steady picture wasn't as easy as it should have been though. The bridge always seems to have bounced up and down when people walk across it bit it seems to be getting noisier and bouncier as time goes on.

The chalet. According to Jennifer they do nice tea and cakes in here so we thought we'd call in at the end of the walk. And when we got back, , , , it was closed.

A view across Derwent Water to Latrigg, taken from Nichol End Marina.

We hadn't decided to walk up Cat Bells until we got to this point but the rain seemed to be holding off and as an added bonus the fell looked deserted.


Only a couple of steps onto the fell and you see this view across to Causey Pike, Outerside and Barrow.


More of Derwent Water comes into view as we round the corner of the ridge.


Looking back down the path to see the northern fells.

The Derwent Water side of Cat Bells looking through to Borrowdale.

Looking ahead from Skelgill Bank to Cat Bells summit.

A close up of Stair and Stoneycroft.


A close up of Little Town with Newlands Church up there on the right.

Looking behind you can see Bassenthwaite, Derwent Water and the northern fells.

Walla Crag, Clough Head, Great Dodd, Watson's Dodd and Bleaberry Fell. The big wet thing at the bottom is Derwent Water.


Dramatic skies above the fells around the head of Newlands Valley.

Cat Bells has a couple of rocky bits on the approach to the summit. This is one of them and in the background are Latrigg, Blencathra, Walla Crag and Clough Head.

A snowless High Seat on front of snowy Helvellyn, Helvellyn Lower Man, Catstye Cam, White Side and Raise.

Perfect timing. Just as I was about press the button, Jennifer walked across the top of the fell.

Heading down to Newlands Valley now.


Blimey, that's the strangest looking sheep I've ever seen.


We had two choices here, right takes you back to the bottom of Cat Bells, left takes you down to Stair.

That's the way we didn't go and that's Blencathra in the distance.

Looking up to Skelgill and Cat Bells. The sun may have been out but the temperature wasn't half dropping. Poor Jennifer was glad to get back to the car and a bit of warmth.



Flood damage along the riverside path.

It isn't a huge distance and it hadn't taken that long to get here but Cat Bells looks an awful long way from here.



David Hall -
Lake District Walks