Keswick, Cumbria Sunday 25th June 2017

Today’s Walks

Strenuous Leader : Malcolm Chamberlain   Distance : 9.00 miles

We will leave the coach park near Booths supermarket to walk to the Theatre by the Lake car park, head through Cockshot Wood and across the B5289. There is then a steep ascent of 100m to the view point at Castlehead Wood which will give us panoramic views of Derwent Water. We then climb up through Spring Woods which will lead us to Rakefoot and ascend Bleaberry Fell (590m) via Walla Crag. We will then head south to High Seat, which should offer excellent views of Derwent Water and Bassenthwaite, before descending to the shore of Derwent Water. The last 2 miles of the walk will follow flat paths on the eastern side of Derwent Water, past Strandshag Bay and back to Keswick.
The chippy on Keswick High Street is open until 7pm on Sundays!

Moderate Leader : Sue Daniels   Distance : 7.00 miles

The walk starts with a long gradual climb by road and good footpaths up to Walla Crag where we are treated to an outstanding viewpoint over Derwentwater. We will probably have lunch here and enjoy the views. Leaving here we follow a well-trodden path over the fells gradually descending​ to Ashness Bridge. We then follow the road down to the lakeshore and follow the path through woods and fields back to Keswick. If I remember rightly there is only one stile to climb over which for one of my walks is a record low!

Leisurely Leader : Ruth Melling   Distance 7.00 miles

From the coach park we head in a southerly direction along the side of Derwentwater, passing Friar’s Crag on the way. We turn off and climb up through the wooded Walla Crag, the main climb of the walk, then head across fields to Castlerigg and Goosewell Farm where we can make a little detour to see the famous Castlerigg Stone Circle. From here we go along a minor road for a while until we pick up part of the disused railway back into town. There were very few stiles and lots of nice views We thank Ruth’s sister Jean for suggesting and assisting Ruth with this walk.

Leader : Pam Chamberlain   Distance : 4.00 miles

Easy with an optional extension of ½ mile
We will leave the car park at Booths and take a route through the parks to the Theatre by the Lake and then we will follow the shore of Derwent Water, stopping at view points along the way and taking time to look at the Ruskin Memorial and Friar’s Crag. We will continue our walk along the shoreline to Strandshag Bay and pass in front of Stable Hills and back to the lakeside to give us views of Derwent Isle, Lord’s Island and St Herbert’s Island.
We will pass the National Trust’s Hundred Year Stone at Calfclose Bay and the landing stages for the cruise boats at both Ashness Gate and Lodore. There is a little road walking on a loose gravel pavement and stony lakeside paths.
This is a flat linear walk with a bus trip back from Lodore to Keswick which will cost £2.40 for those of us without bus passes.
If there is still bounce in the legs we can continue round the lake to take in the views from the Chinese Bridge.

Notes On The Area

Many people will already be familiar with Keswick which is the largest town in the Lake District National Park, and developed largely from its importance as a mining centre during Elizabethan times, when German miners were brought in to exploit the lead and copper deposits in the surrounding fells. But, for most people, Keswick is a place superbly situated at the head of a splendid lake and beneath the gaze of one of Lakelands finest mountains, Skiddaw. It is an enormously popular place, and therefore always very busy, at the northern end of arguably Lakeland’s most beautiful valley, Borrowdale. It is the home of mountaineer Chris Bonnington. It has been said that towns and villages built from local stone blend into the landscape. The Moot Hall was built in 1813 on the site of an earlier building and was, until recent times, used as the town hall but now it houses the tourist information centre. The town’s oldest building is the church of St Kentigern at Crosthwaite. It is generally accepted that the Lakes in general, and Keswick in particular were opened up to the outside world by the first poets and travellers to venture into the region – Gray, Coleridge, Keats, Southey, Scott, Tennyson, Ruskin and Stevenson. To them, and those who followed in their footsteps, must go the credit (or blame) for bringing this remarkable town to the notice of others.

On the fells to the south-east of the town, is the famous Castlerigg Stone Circle believed to date from about 3000 BC, predating the great circles at Stonehenge and elsewhere. It is commonly regarded as the best stone circle out of many in Cumbria. Enthusiasts of stone circles consider Castlerigg, spectacularly set among the mountains of Lakeland, to be one of the earliest stone circles in Europe.

As well as copper and lead, graphite was also mined in Borrowdale, where it was first discovered, and this brought about the establishment of a pencil factory. Cumberland Pencil Museum, found at the Southey Works, Greta Bridge, illustrates the pencil story from the discovery of graphite to present-day methods of pencil manufacture. It is an interesting place to visit. Even today their coloured pencils are the best.

Thought by some to be the most beautiful Lake, Derwent Water is three miles long and just over one mile wide. The lake has three large islands, all abundantly wooded. The largest is Derwent Isle opposite the landing stage. The other two are Lords Island opposite Friars Crag and St Herberts Island in the middle of the lake. There is a smaller island, Ramps Holme, nearer the eastern shore, and the Floating Island near Lodore which appears at infrequent intervals. Friars Crag, a rocky promontory about a mile from Keswick, is generally supposed to be so called because it was the landing place of the friars of Grange. On the crag is the Ruskin Monument, erected in 1900.

There are lots of things to do in or from Keswick other that the obvious walking and outdoor activities. There are rides on the lake, it has a nice park with a pitch and putt and at Bassenthwaite there is Osprey watching in the summer, for example.