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Navigate to parking spot shown, ascend Catbells, and then follow the ridge to High Spy taking in Maiden Moor, and then drop off the summit of High Spy into the Borrowdale valley. We would then 'nip' up Castle Crag for our last Wainwright. To return I will follow the River Derwent to the shore of Derwent Water, and then follow the lake back to our car at the foot of Catbells.
I'd say in the region of 100%- perfect weather permitted a successful hike of the Wainwrights planned.
Catbells, Maiden Moore, High Spy, Castle Crag. (in that order)
This route was selected for the first walk of the E.M.U.K. Wainwright challenge as it includes the smallest of all the Wainwrights; Castle Crag, which is 290m high. It seemed a shame to travel to the Lake District and only do this Wainwright as it would of only taken us a couple of hours maximum. So we decided to include the ridge that Castle Crag is kind of joined to, which contains Catbells, Maiden Moor and High Spy. The whole walk is ten miles long and takes around 8 hours.
It was an excellent day! The weather was amazing! My new boots didn't wreck my feet, and we didn't get lost. What more can you want? How about a lemonade stand on top of your first mountain? (Catbells) Done!
The people manning the Lemonade stall were raising money for charity (building bridges in Africa), and offered a piece of tiffin and a glass of home made lemonade for a pound! Bargain!
After the surprise home made lemonade we carried on to Maiden Moor, which to be honest in my mind doesn't deserve being named its own mountain. You kind of skip past and think, "where was that mountain again?" But who am I to say? The views from the ridge are amazing in all directions. Derwent Water looks particularly spectacular, especially on a sun baked day such as this one.
In the picture above the path leads that off to the left is heading to the summit of High-Spy, Derwent Water is behind you when looking in this direction. I did have to stop a few times just to take it all in!
Right, it's time to confess to our first error. We did make one teeny-tiny mistake, we thought we were on the summit of High Spy, when really we were on "High Spy North Top"
I can tell other people have made this mistake, and I actually witnessed another make the mistake of thinking this is the summit of High Spy. When you're stood on the "North Top" people have been piling up stones which lure you into thinking you are on the summit of High Spy. The real summit of High spy has a large trig point style cairn and can be seen from the "High Spy North Top", google it. The summit of the "High Spy North Top" is right above where it says Blea Crag on the O.S.
I only realised I wasn't on the summit when I'd dropped off the ridge and ended up down the valley from Castle Crag (that's what you get for believing other hikers instead of trusting your map skills), instead of up the valley from it. I'd left the ridge at least half of a mile early. I could tell about half way down we were not on a "right of way". OOPS!
I'm going to have to go back to High Spy, never mind! I'll "bag it" when I'm hiking Dale Head.
It took me a minute or two to realise what I'd done. Silly me, I wasn't paying enough attention to my map, a rookie mistake that hopefully won't happen again! It was quite disheartening to realise I had to make my way up the valley and not down if I still wanted to visit Castle Crag but that's what we came here to do, so onwards and upwards!
There were quite a lot of people in the valley along the River Derwent. Sunny day + bank-holiday-weekend = BUSY! Lots of people dragging their in-laws up to the top of Castle Crag. Actually quite funny to see the faces on some of the people. Pained, to say the least!
My first walk in quite a while, and I'll be honest, this tiny hill took it out of me (I was running low on energy by this point!). We lounged around on top for nearly 45 minutes in the shade of a tree which on the summit of a Wainwright is rare! I think it was gone three in the afternoon by the time we left, we actually managed ten minutes with the summit to ourselves which on any Wainwright is also rare!
I balanced a stone in the "Castle Crag Art Garden", and you should too if you pass by.
Follow the valley down until you get to the lake (Derwent Water), and then follow the shoreline path towards Keswick- to our car which is parked at the foot of Catbells. simples. All went according to plan as well-which is nice.
We decided to pass through a small village named The Grange. I had a feeling there would be an ice cream shop, and there was! (I have a nose for these kinds of things). You head out of the village on the only road towards lake Derwent Water until the Cumbrian Way crosses your path, then you take that path until you hit the lake shore. The path along the lake shore is nice and flat, and easy to manage even with tired legs. It also offers some nice views of the lake (obviously). As you are leaving The Grange you get to behold the route you have just taken across the ridge. A grand sight may I add.
Once you're on your way back along the side of the lake you can pretty much turn your brain off. Follow the path whilst taking in the tranquillity (well maybe not on a bank holiday weekend) and ponder over your next chosen Lakeland conquest. I've never seen much of Wast Water so I think that maybe that's the next call.
See ya' later!