By: Blonde One
Cat Bells is known by its owners, The National Trust, as a ‘proper little mountain’. It stands at 451 meters so it is not exactly the highest of the Lakeland fells but it feels like a mountain in some respects and is well worth visiting. As you can see from the weather picture we had a very small window of opportunity to do anything so Cat Bells was the obvious choice. We were treated to some fabulous views across to the snow capped mountains and down to Derwent Water.
The well maintained paths from the north took us almost in a straight line up to the summit. It was incredibly steep nearly all the way, and included some short sections of scrambling, thus making it an interesting route to take. Looking around the 360 degree view from the summit literally took my breath away. The high winds and steep climb contributed to the loss of breath! Derwent water looked amazingly inviting to the east and the mountains all around looked glorious in the part sunshine with their snow caps.
We took the Hause Gate and Fellside route down which was superbly maintained. The slate steps helped us get down quickly. This was just as well, as we endured a hideous, squally hail storm just as we left the summit.
Cat Bells was recently voted number 4 in the list of Britain’s Favourite Walks so we weren’t alone in loving it. We were featured at number 57 on Dartmoor but I don’t think I mind losing out to somewhere as picturesque as Cat Bells.
Despite this fell being only 451 meters it is still a Wainwright. How right he was when he said:
“Oh, how can I put into words the joys of a walk over country such as this; the scenes that delight the eyes, the blessed peace of mind, the sheer exuberance which fills your soul as you tread the firm turf? This is something to be lived, not read about. On these breezy heights, a transformation is wondrously wrought within you. Your thoughts are simple, in tune with your surroundings; the complicated problems you brought with you from the town are smoothed away.” Alfred Wainwright