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Walk up Catbells from Hawes End and Derwentwater

By Emma Knipe   

on November 8, 2019    4.8/5 (5)

Walk up Catbells from Hawes End and Derwentwater

Further Details

Route Summary:

Many fellwalkers have cut their teeth on this fine little hill that’s the perfect taster hill for what the Lakes have to offer.

This walk includes the Wainwright of Catbells

Route Start Location: Hawes End

5.91 km 379 m 2.5 – 3 hours

Calculate the time using Naismith’s Rule and factor in your own pace.

Activivity Type: Easy Moderate Walk

Summits and Places on this Route


None on route but plenty of pubs, cafes and shops in nearby Keswick.


A few short, mild scrambles.

Remember that we cannot outline every single hazard on a walk – it’s up to you to be safe and competent. Read up on Mountain Safety , Navigation and what equipment you’ll need.

Parking : CA12 5UE for Hawes End.

Roadside parking by Hawes End and there is a small, free car park on the way to Skelgill. If parking in Keswick and taking the boat, there are multiple large pay-and-display car parks in Keswick, including Keswick Lakeside Car Park, which is a short walk from the launch.

Public Transport:

The Keswick Launch runs boats from Keswick to Hawes End. The journey takes 10 minutes and all parking issues by Catbells can be avoided. Plus, a boat trip is a great start to the walk!

Traveline for UK Public Transport

Recommended Maps


Walk up Catbells from Hawes End and Derwentwater Ordnance Survey Map and GPX File Download

Download file for GPS

Walk up Catbells from Hawes End and Derwentwater

Catbells is the perfect introduction to the Lake District. The route is simple to navigate and after a short climb to the summit, walkers are rewarded with wonderful panoramic views of Derwent Water and the Northern Fells.

The walk is very popular and there aren’t many occasions to avoid the crowds. Parking is limited but any issues can be avoided by beginning in Keswick and catching a boat to the start of the walk. The route up Catbells is one of the best easy fell walks in the Lake District.

Walk up Catbells Route Description

1. From the parking area, follow the signpost for ‘Catbells 1 Mile’.

Walk up Catbells

2. The well-defined gravel path steadily climbs through the bracken.

Walk up Catbells

3. Derwent Water soon appears and there are great views back towards Skiddaw.

Walk up Catbells

4. The path bears around to the left and then to the right to approach a mild scramble. At the centre of the rocks, there’s a memorial plaque for Thomas Arthur Leonard. Described as the “Father of the Open-Air Movement in this Country”, Leonard was crucial in setting up the Youth Hostel Association, the Ramblers Association and the National Trust.

Walk up Catbells

5. The path levels out and gradually continues upwards, with wonderful views down across the Newlands Valley and Coledale.

Walk up Catbells

6. The route steepens and reaches the final mild scramble; there’s a slightly easier route to the right of the rocks if you don’t want to tackle the scramble head on.

Walk up Catbells

7. The summit is marked with a trig point and boasts breathtaking, 360° views of the lake and neighbouring mountains.

8. From the summit, continue straight ahead following the rocky footpath downhill.

Walk up Catbells

9. After approximately 600 metres, the path forks. Take the left hand footpath, which gradually bears around to the right, looking towards Borrowdale.

Walk up Catbells

10. At the junction, turn left.

Walk up Catbells

11. The well-defined footpath runs through the bracken to reach another junction. Bear left, following the sign for ‘The lake’ and ‘Hawes End Jetty’.

Walk up Catbells

12. The path joins the road for a few metres and then turns left. Running a few hundred metres above the lake, the route offers wonderful views of Skiddaw and Blencathra.

Walk up Catbells

13. Ignore the uphill left hand fork and continue straight ahead to rejoin the road. Turn left along the road, following the Public Footpath sign for ‘Hawes End Jetty’.

Walk up Catbells

14. At the junction, follow the road around to the right to return to Hawes End or turn left to reach the car park on the way to Skelgill.

Based in the Lake District and with frequent trips to Snowdonia, Emma spends most days in the mountains. She splits her time between leading group hikes, volunteering with the National Trust, mountain biking, hiking with the dog and planning the next adventure.

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