Nestled in fells
View of Derwentwater, Borrowdale, Catbells and Keswick during a hike to Skiddaw High Man, Lake District, Cumbria
Some background information:
Derwentwater is one of the principal bodies of water in the northwestern part of the Lake District. It occupies part of the valley of Borrowdale and lies immediately south of the town of Keswick. The lake is three miles (4.8 km) long, one mile (1.6 km) wide, has a maximum depth of 72 feet (22 m) and covers an area of two square miles (5.2 km2). It has an elevation of 246 feet (75 m) above sea level and is both fed and drained by the River Derwent.
Derwentwater is a place of considerable scenic value. It is surrounded by hills (known locally as fells), and many of the slopes facing Derwentwater are extensively wooded. A regular passenger launch operates on the lake, taking passengers between various landing stages. There are seven lakeside marinas, the most popular stops being Keswick, Portinscale and the Lodore Falls, from which boats can be hired. Recreational walking is a major tourist activity in the area and an extensive network of footpaths exists within the hills and woods surrounding the lake.
The lake is believed to be the last remaining native habit of the vendace fish (Coregonus vandesius) from the four originally known sites Bassenthwaite Lake and Derwent Water in the Lake District as well as Castle Loch & Mill Loch near Lochmaben, Scotland.
Catbells is a fell in the Lake District, which has just a modest height of 451 metres (1,480 feet). Despite this it is one of the most popular fells in the whole area. Catbells is situated on the western shore of Derwent Water within 3 miles (5 km) of Keswick and can be seen in the centre of my picture right behind Derwentwater. The fell's unusual name may well have come from a distortion of "Cat Bields" meaning shelter of the wild cat, although this is not certain.
Renowned British fell walker, guidebook author and illustrator Alfred Wainwright acknowledges the popularity of Catbells among fellwalkers of all ability by saying: "It is one of the great favourites, a family fell where grandmothers and infants can climb the heights together, a place beloved. Its popularity is well deserved, its shapely topknott attracts the eye offering a steep but obviously simple scramble."
Catbells is the last fell on the ridge separating Derwentwater from the Newlands valley. It rises due south from Hawse End, reaching the summit in two distinct steps. The lower top is named Skelgill Bank. Beyond the summit of Catbells is the steep sided depression of Hause Gate, before the ridge broadens and twists south westward to the fell of Maiden Moor.
Although Catbells is renowned as a "family fell" it does have some dangers especially from the disused lead mines on its slopes. The Yewthwaite mine, which is on the western side of the fell has extensive spoil heaps and shafts. Many of the shafts were previously open and dangerous but most have now been blocked off. The Brandlehow and Old Brandley Mine worked a lode for lead ore on the eastern side of the fell bordering Derwentwater. All three mines ceased production in the 1890s.
On the lower slopes of the fell above the lake stands Brackenburn Lodge, now holiday accommodation but formerly the home of the English novelist Hugh Seymour Walpole who lived here from 1924 to his death in 1941.