Hikes in the Lake District
- This article is an itinerary.
With its scenic hills and picturesque lakes, the Lake District is especially well-suited to hiking.
The Coast To Coast Walk also passes through the area.
Hayeswater is situated about a mile SE of the hamlet of Hartsop in the Patterdale Valley. It nestles between The Knott to its west and Gray Crag to the east and it is at an altitude of almost 1400 feet (425m). The lake is natural but now used as a reservoir serving the Cumbrian town of Penrith. It is fed from the south by Hayeswater Gill, which rises close to the route of the Roman High Street and continues to Cow Bridge where it joins the outlet stream from Brothers Water.
There is ample car parking at Cow Bridge, a quarter of a mile north of Hartsop on the A592. There is also a small car park at the end of the road that leads through Hartsop from the A592. From this point a choice of paths is available. The path to the South of Hayeswater Gill leads unerringly to Hayeswater in a half-hour. The path to the North of the Gill leads to the reservoir's Filter House and then a path crosses the stream via a footbridge to join the first mentioned route.
When you reach Hayeswater you will find a bridge that crosses the reservoir's outlet. Standing on the bridge and looking to the east you will clearly see the path that leads up to 'The Knott' whose summit is at 2408 feet (739m) (OS Grid Reference NY 437 126). The clear path heading south from 'The Knott' passes along the 'Straights of Riggindale' to reach the summit of High Street.
This will be sufficient exercise for many walkers who can easily retrace their steps to Hartsop. For those of a sterner constitution, the continuance south west to Thornthwaite Crag (and its impressive Beacon) at OS Grid Reference NY 431 100, and then west to Stony Cove Pike (NY 417 100), can be recommended. Again a choice of routes is available. Descending the ridge Nort-West fronm the summit leads back to the A592 over the top pf Hartsop Dodd, whilst following the path eastwards from the summit, another path branches off North-West at NY 413 098 and leads steeply down Rough Edge to Caudale Bridge.
From Keswick, stand at the lake shore and look across the water - the nearest hill is Catbells, and many thousands of people stand right here and decide that it looks small enough to tackle, but big enough to be worthwhile. This makes it one of the most climbed hills in Lakeland, and allegedly the one with the most minor accidents, due to all the ill-prepared walkers setting out to climb it.
Take the Derwent Launch ferry over to Hawes End landing stage, then follow the path uphill through the woods. The path crosses a lane a couple of times - once you cross the cattle grid the road takes a steep sharp turn to the left, but you continue straight on up the track toward Skelgill Farm. (The most popular route up Catbells would be up the slope to the left of here, but stick with me - this route's nicer.) This track climbs gently as you walk south along the Newlands Valley, above the hamlet of Stair and toward the disused Goldscope Mines. Branch off from the track onto a footpath which gently climbs away to the left, and heading for a dip in the hills beyond the knob of Catbells. You reach the viewpoint as you crest the ridge onto this dip, which is between Catbells and the next hill along on the ridge - Maiden Moor. Here you can take a side-trip to the summit of Catbells, or just admire the great views of Derwentwater, Borrowdale valley, and Keswick situated below Skiddaw.
Carrying straight on from the dip toward the lake, you'll quickly find a prepared path which descends down and right, to the lakeshore close by an historic house on an isthmus on the lake. To the left of this is a landing stage which is served by the Derwent Launch, or you can walk back clockwise around the lake to Hawes End, or continue on footpaths via the village of Portinscale and a small suspension bridge right back to Keswick.
For a longer walk, ridge-walk along to Maiden Moor then follow paths descending to the hamlet of Rosthwaite and return along the River Derwent to Grange and then Derwentwater. Or on the descent to Rosthwaite, turn left once you meet the old drove road near Castle Crag and follow this to Grange.