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How long does it take to hike the Catbells/Latrigg Peak?

sandy, utah
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How long does it take to hike the Catbells/Latrigg Peak?

We'll be in the Lake District for only 7-8 hours on May 18th before driving to York that night. I'm trying to figure out what hikes we can take with our limited time. The guidebooks I've read all mention hiking the Catbells via catching a boat at Keswick and getting off at Haws End. If we do this, how long would it take, including the boat ride to Haws End and back from High Brandelhow Pier (is the best pier for a return ride back to Keswick?) It will be my husband and 2 young adult kids, all in good shape and myself in fair shape. If we have disposable rain ponchos, should we attempt this even in the rain? Rick Steves' guidebook also mentions a short drive and then hike north of Keswick to the top of Latrigg Peak. I'm wondering if we should try to do both. Would that give us any different views than the ones from Catbells? Where would we find the turnoff for the road to Latrigg Peak and about how long would the drive/hike probably take us one-way from Keswick? Thanks for your help.

South Pole
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for Lesbos, Zagorohoria
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11. Re: How long does it take to hike the Catbells/Latrigg Peak?

I think it was the reference to disposable rain ponchos that was most worrying!! If the OP had indicated that they were to be properly clothed & shod several posters would have taken a more postive angle!!

Lake District...
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12. Re: How long does it take to hike the Catbells/Latrigg Peak?

If the weather is good and the forecast is fine then for the time it takes to climb up and down Catbells a bit of warm clothing and any waterproof or windproof will be fine in May.

Trainers are also fine with care.

There is an option to descend about 1/3 of the way up at the first plateau !

There isnt a long walk in from the launch jetty or the car and many locals or runners will do it without bothering with a waterproof and in walking sandals in good weather .

If going for a longer high level walk or higher I agree proper clothing is important.

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13. Re: How long does it take to hike the Catbells/Latrigg Peak?

I'd be wary of Catbells, charming though the view is, it can be a walking motorway if you pick the wrong time to walk it. I'd avoid if you are on a Saturday

2 other options in the Keswick area are Dodd, which overlooks Bassenthwaite, and its a lovely walk up through forest tracks, and a summit with a view to equal many of much higher fells, its a truly lovely perspective, and is an easy few hours round trip and Raven Crag, which overlooks Thirlmere, one of the most ignored lakes. You need a bit of a head for heights to get the best out of it, as the summit is very exposed, but its a stunning view and one very few people see.

U.S. expats
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14. Re: How long does it take to hike the Catbells/Latrigg Peak?

I would echo the very sound advice of everyone here.

Catbells is a nice hike if you are prepared with the right gear--most especially hiking boots. (I disagree that trainers would be adequate--they would slip if it were wet)

The path up is steep, narrow, and can be crowded. It may not matter how fast *you* can go, if the people ahead of you are slower. There really aren't a lot of places to pass.

Once you get to the summit, if there has been any moisture, it is like hiking on a polished slate incline dashed with water. It will be difficult to enjoy the views, as you'll be looking at your feet so as not to slip...

Catbells draws a good number of people--it is a honeypot. Try going with some of the other suggestions above.

Lake District...
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15. Re: How long does it take to hike the Catbells/Latrigg Peak?

If you want to miss out the rocky path up the "front" get the launch to the Brandelhow landing walk through Manesty park and climb up to the Pass or Hause between Catbells & Maiden Moor. From the Hause its 90m to Catbells summit - not difficult, then retrace path back to the Hause and descend on the opposite side (West) by a gentler miners path round to the front of Catbells and pickup the launch at Hawse End.

You'll meet hardly anyone on the miners track.

May the 18th is a Friday not in school holidays, changeover day for many holiday lets and thus not a peak time .

I always use the miners path to descend .

Just to reassure people Keswick Mountain Rescue only list 1 rescue on Catbells ( frozen turf) since 1945; as a local and regular walker here some of the advice and warnings I consider OTT for a May walk.

Edited: 18 February 2012, 22:25
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16. Re: How long does it take to hike the Catbells/Latrigg Peak?

An estimate of 2-8 hours for the walk may sound vague and unhelpful, but it's probably quite accurate. If you're really fit and you just go for it, you could probably do it in 2 hours (but it wouldn't be much fun as there wouldn't be enough time to enjoy the view). If you are less fit and you stop for admiring the view, eating sandwiches, taking little detours etc, you could quite happily spend 8 hours.

I think the moral is that although you should be aware of the time it's likely to take and not, for example, start a walk 2 hours before it gets dark if it's likely to take 4 hours, trying to define a precise schedule probably isn't the right way to do it. I'm guessing 4 hours would be a reasonable estimate for a lot of people, but it really depends on how fast you walk or how often you stop to admire the view, so it could be a lot more or less. Take your time, and enjoy the view!

Totally agree with other posters about the complete inadequacy of a disposable poncho if the weather turns nasty. Do make sure you have proper footwear as well. And I'd probably abandon the idea of a fell walk altogether if the weather is bad, and do a low level walk instead.

I'd also agree that Catbells can be rather touristy, which detracts from the fun a bit on busy days.

Latrigg is absolutely great if you want maximum view for minimum effort, if you park at the car park round the back of it. There are some other good suggestions above as well.

Did anyone mention Walla Crag yet? That's another fell near Keswick that is easily climbed, has nice views, and isn't nearly as touristy as Catbells.

Or if you don't mind a bit of a drive, you could make your way to Buttermere and climb Rannerdale Knotts: another easy climb with lovely views. If you're not experience in this sort of thing, I would avoid the short route up to the top from the north-west of the fell, and ascend from Buttermere village along the ridge.

I would probably plan to do only one fell, but if you finish one and still have a little while to go before you need to be somewhere else, you could always have a quick trip up Latrigg.

Edited: 20 February 2012, 14:15
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17. Re: How long does it take to hike the Catbells/Latrigg Peak?

Lattrigg is a easy walk,you can start from Keswick town centre.You can buy leaflets of Lattrigg & Catbells from Keswick tourist Information centre in town called "Moot Hall".

Catbells is a easy to moderate walk but still be aware.The footpath is easy to follow but like other post says it rocky with scree so wear walking boots and good outdoor clothing to keep you warm and safe.There are great views from Catbells summit of Derwent Water and surrounding area.Allow a early morning start to complete both walks.

Derwent Water Circular walk is also nice,starting point,Keswick boating landing stage near Hope park.Review/photo"s on my profile if you wish to view.

Enjoy your trip.

Cork, Ireland
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18. Re: How long does it take to hike the Catbells/Latrigg Peak?

I would second the suggestion of Walla Crag. It is a nice, easy walk, there is one steep bit at the start but overall it is pretty easy going. The views from the top are stunning. It is a shorter walk so may be more suitable for your time frame. The descent brings you by Ashness Bridge, which I believe is the most photographed spots in the Lakes! You come back to Keswick along the shore of the river so all in all it’s a very pretty walk and you could easily do it in 3-4 hours with stops and lunch, so it might allow you to have a look around Keswick.


By the way, we did this walk on May 15th last year and the weather was brutal up there! Visibility was poor and it was very, very cold. Whatever walk you decide to do, please make sure you have warm layers, a good rain coat, hat and gloves. It can get really cold up high and if you are in the UK for a couple of weeks, you are pretty much guaranteed to get rain at some stage!

19. Re: How long does it take to hike the Catbells/Latrigg Peak?

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