Start – Skelgill car park NY247212, Distance – 14.4km, Ascent – 874m, Time – 5hrs 00mins plus stops.
As my introduction to hill walking in the Lake District, I couldn’t have asked for better conditions to ensnare me for life. What the hell was I doing for the previous 40 years of my worthless existence? Anyway, better late than never, and a trip up Cat Bells in virtually any weather is a great start to any love affair with the Lakes and hill walking in general. On this walk, we chose to drop into Borrowdale after walking the High Spy ridge, but you could just as easily descend to the west towards Newlands Valley. Route finding should present no difficulty – just follow the crowds!

Derwent Water, with Blencathra in the background. This was my first “serious” hill walk in the Lake District and I was subsequently surprised to find out that not every day is like this in the Lakes!

Newlands Valley, with Causey Pike getting all pointy on the left. A very hard frost the night before resulted in stunning walking conditions.

A complete absence of wind probably meant that the flight for these guys was probably short – how they even got up in the first place, I’ll never know, but it must have been worth it for the views alone

Looking across the mouth of Newlands Valley to Bassenthwaite Lake.

The clarity of the views was pretty stunning. The conditions, coupled with the fact that it was a Sunday, meant that Cat Bells probably had more people on it than Keswick High Street

A frosty looking Borrowdale. The descent from High Spy into Borrowdale was fairly treacherous – that’s the (small) price you pay for walking in conditions like these.