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Sussex Scrapbook ~ Nature walks throughout the year
Green Man
Saturday 28th March 2009
Cat Bells (451m) & High Spy (653m) from Grange.
The Lake District, Cumbria, England
8 miles

This walk is much easier than the Scafell ascent as there is no scrambling to be done, but parts of the ascent from Grange are very steep. The truly gobsmacking views from all parts of this fell are due to it being surrounded by far higher fells, with the huge, deep valleys of Newlands on one side and Borrowdale on the other. The peaks of Skiddaw, Helvellyn and Scafell Pike are all visible from this walk and today they were all capped in snow.
The path from Grange (The Allerdale Ramble) is fairly easy going and crosses many gills and rills before going up very sharply to the top. From there, the promontory of Cat Bells is out by itself and still further up. You come back on yourself from there and very sharply go up to Maiden Moor. By leaving the main path and taking the route right, along the ridge edge, you get the best view out across Newlands Valley to the Derwent Fells. It's very hard to make any headway along this part of the walk as you are just bowled over by the stunning views on all sides.

Part of the Allerdale Ramble up from Grange.

Derwent Water with Skiddaw and Helvellyn in the distance

Cat Bells sticking out by itself, seen from up towards Maiden Moor


The Derwent Fells with Newlands Beck running along the bottom

The cairn at High Spy

Spiky rocks and a superb panoramic view at High Spy including Dale head just across the valley

When Dale tarn comes into view we started looking for the turning East alongside High Scawdel and down through the mines

The path East, down into Honister slate mines

The steep path follows rough steps made from the waste slate that's in huge heaps on the mountain side.
The waste in this valley is now used to make and repair paths throughout the Lake District in what's known as the Fix the fells project.

It all feels very much like a location in Lord of the Rings

There are mine entrances everywhere, but no one but a fool would go down them without proper equipment and training.
Was that distant drumming I heard then?......

We hopped, skipped and slid, down and down until we met the stream

At the bottom we crossed the stream and headed North through the Borrowdale Valley.
The water has come directly from the Scafell massif and so we may have even seen it yesterday...?

We touch on the Cumbria Way only for a mile or so...

......under overhanging crags like Castle Crag

..... and mossy woods perched on the sheer inclines.

A dry-stone sheep fold reminds us we're back in civilisation

The Herdwick sheep are everywhere around here, but we didn't see any on Scafell Pike!

Finally our stream meets up with the River Derwent, which we follow back to Grange, once again on the Allerdale Ramble.