A guided walk to the summit of Catstycam

A walk up Catstycam

3 July 2014

It was a marvellous day for our guided walk up Catstycam, perfect walking conditions, lovely sunshine and a fresh north-easterly breeze to cool us. Five people joined us at the Information Centre, Glenridding for our memorable summer's day out on the fells.


Catstycam is a fantastic mountain to walk up, almost touching the magical 3,000 feet of its famous neighbour Helvellyn, England's third highest mountain. From the valley floor it's easy to spot its pyramid shape, visible for many miles.  Alfred Wainwright, famous fellwalker and author of 'A Pictorial Guide to the Lakeland Fells', described Catstycam as "a true peak, and its small shapely summit is the finest in the Eastern fells; if it were rock and not mainly grass it would be the finest in the district." Praise indeed!

Lunch with a view

Co-leader Simon Brown guided us up the steep path following Miresbeck. We were in good form stopping for lunch near the famous Hole in the Wall (not an ATM!) in just over two hours. We were rewarded with a magnificent view of Helvellyn and its two famous edges, Striding and Swirral and, of course, Catstycam itself. Superb views were opening up – as far away as the Solway Firth and Morecambe Bay, also High Street opposite and fabulous Fairfield.

Red Tarn

We stopped by Red Tarn where Simon regaled us with fascinating facts, including the impact climate change may have on fragile upland habitats. We also learned about the schelly, a rare fish which populates the tarn. Rookie walk leader Matthew Nelson, who was shadowing the walk as part of his training, was clearly taking all this in for future use!

Onward and upwards for the final 600 feet of ascent and time for a few more tales from Simon. Did you know, for example, the area has a rich lead mining history?

Homeward bound

As we descended we took in the magnificent views for a final time. Glenridding and home beckoned all too quickly. We had all very much enjoyed the day together. The very welcome donations from the walk participants we received will go towards looking after this wonderful place.

Guided walks

Want to know more about this fascinating area? We organise lots of guided walks throughout Ullswater over the season. Or why not join us for the Ullswater Walking Festival and enjoy a host of walks from 21 September this year? See you there!

Author: Neil Park

Volunteer walk leader
Lake District National Park

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