Walk Report: Caldbeck to Keswick

Date: 5th Nov 2005
Stats: 18.0 miles, 3200 feet
Weather: Rained all day beyond High Pike
Trig Points: 1: TP3801 – High Pike
Fells: 1: High Pike
Other Info:  
Summary: Caldbeck, Nether Row, High Pike, Great Lingy Hill, Coomb, Skiddaw House, Lonscale Crags, Mallen Dodd, Briar Rigg, Keswick

Key to symbols:
= Trig Point     = Yorkshire Top

We had such a great time doing the Herriot Way, we decided we should try and do a walking weekend away every three or four months; to repeat the experience and to keep up the training for the C2C, planned for May 2006. We set aside the 5th and 6th November 2005 for the first of these.

We hunted around for a suitable two day circular, on the basis that linear walks are more difficult logistically, not least in getting to the start or the end without using two cars. There don’t appear to be many two day circular walks, not unless you go to the trouble of planning one yourself. In the end I posted a request on a message forum and was rewarded by a recommendation for a section of the Cumbria Way between Keswick and Caldbeck which has high and low options.

Out came Memory Map and I plotted the route for the two days. We would start at Caldbeck on Saturday morning and walk over High Pike to Skiddaw House then down to the B&B overnight in Keswick, returning via Orthwaite on Sunday.

I made the appropriate bookings, making sure we were okay to leave the car at the B&B in Caldbeck for the weekend. Selecting a B&B when there is only two or three to choose from (as in Caldbeck) is a lot easier then selecting one in Keswick where there are literally hundreds. As it was we were not disappointed by either choice.

I finished work early on the Friday and picked Rob up in Manchester. We had been asked to be at the B&B by 6pm as the proprietor was going out for the evening, this at least meant that we would have plenty of time in the pub. We arrived in Caldbeck about 5.30pm and although it’s only a small village we still struggled to find the B&B, but after asking at the dental surgery in the town we discovered it was next door!

The Briars is a lovely house with the most amazing views of the Caldbeck Fells and High Pike. The proprietor Mrs Coulthard greeted us with profuse apologies, it was actually tomorrow night she was going out and not tonight, so we hadn’t actually needed to be here so early.

I was forced to carry my own pack up the stairs this time (see HW journal), but as we weren’t using a baggage company for this two day jaunt, we had packed light and it wasn’t too arduous.

We sorted kit for the morning, folded maps and decamped to the pub for a meal and beer. The Oddfellows Arms served a very passable pint of Jennings and although the place was empty when we got there, we were told the restaurant was already fully booked for the evening. People must come from a long way, because it looked to be a reasonable size, certainly more seats that the local residents could fill. However, the bar food was excellent and very reasonably priced.

We requested an early breakfast from Mrs Coulthard who was happy to comply, although I think early for her was 8am rather than the hoped for 7am from us. We compromised and agreed upon 7.30am. We spent the rest of the evening in our room listening to Pink Floyd’s The Wall on my phone’s MP3 player and polishing off a half bottle of vodka which Rob had supplied.

The view from the B&B bedroom window – “Red sky in the morning” – it was bloody right as well – it certainly was a warning!

Looking back towards the village

View from High Pike. Carrock Fell on the right with Carrock Beck running down the middle of the shot

Grainsgill Beck. Our path is down the valley

Grey and dismal and very, very wet

That’s a path not a river. The footpaths were running water for most of the time, but we are still cheerful.

Wet Wet Wet. Its only been raining for about 4 hours now, my boots are pretty much sodden. Spirits are still high though – this is great!!

Skiddaw House Youth Hostel. A welcome shelter is open all year round although the Hostel is closed for the Winter.

Path to Keswick. Blease Fell on
the left, Lonscale Fell on the right looking down the valley towards High Rigg, Glenderaterra Beck runs down the middle

Another shot for Rob’s wife

At least we can see where we’re going

Although full of running water, the paths are well laid and the walking is not too arduous

Swollen streams across the valley

Swollen streams across the valley

The bulk of Skiddaw

Sunlight! WooHoo! But not on our side of the valley 🙁

The weather is definitely looking up


Our first sight of Derwent Water, we can’t be far from Keswick now!

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2 thoughts on “Walk Report: Caldbeck to Keswick”

  1. hi,
    Tomorrow we are leaving Belgium to walk the Speyside Way. We’re completely ready for it, although we’re a little bit afraid of midges. On a kind of ‘weather forcast’ for midges, it looks not too bad. Only at Aviemore, there was the ‘score’ a 4 on a scale of 5…
    You’re a very experienced walker. What’s your secret to let those little bastards disappear ?
    Kind regards,

    1. Koen – sorry, there is no secret to avoiding the dreaded midge! Midge repellents may work to an extent, perhaps well enough to stop the majority of them from landing on you, but even the most effective won’t stop them from clouding around you. The good news is that even the slightest breeze should keep them from flying and they are most active in the morning and evening. Hope you have a great time! The Speyside is one of the walks I hope to do one day, but I would probably aim for late April/early May to avoid the midge!

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