Short, sharp, steep and sweet, Catbells is a very rewarding climb which gives exceptional views of the surrounding mountains and lakes. This route is a relatively short walk which you could amble over several hours or finish within two if you prefer. There are some minor scrambly sections but nothing too taxing, there are always paths to either side as an alternative too. Just 3.7 miles long this isn’t the longest walk but it is very satisfying.
Park your car up at Hawse End and follow the signposts which read Cat Bells 1 mile. This will take you along a narrow path which climbs up the hillside and round to the north ridge of the fell. Bear right onto the steeped zigzags which head across the front of the ridge. Here you’ll find a first scramble, near the memorial stone. Once past this you head up over Skelgill Bank and the steep climb begins. You will find awkward bends, a piece of overhanging rock which may need a little climbing dependent on your height and as you near the top you’ll find a range of paths open to you. If you take the route to the right you will have the easiest ascent to the top.
Once you’ve reached the summit you can continue over it and head down the Hause Gate col where you’ll find four paths come together. If you take the left turn you will drop down a steep set of engineered steps which zig zag easily down the hillside. The path then takes a bend to the right over a knoll and you will reach the bottom and a bridleway, where you need to turn left. You will now find yourself on a wide track which travels above the road, meets it once and then heads towards the north ridge of Cat Bells. Once you pass this point and reach the road again you then simply need to turn left and then left again to find yourself back at the carpark at Hawse End.
This is a gentle route with some scrambling. It is a great walk for enjoying the sights and sounds of the area and is a great choice to take your dog or dogs along too. The only thing to look out for is the minor scrambling required but in most instances, you can just find a route around and rejoin the path with no difficulties.