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Lake District Walk
Catbells, Dale Head & Hindscarth - The Newlands Horseshoe

Nat Park - Lake District - Lake District North Western Fells

Wainwrights - Catbells, Dale Head, High Spy, Hindscarth, Maiden Moor

County/Area - Cumbria

Author - Lou Johnson

Length - 12.0 miles / 19.5 km

Ascent - 3420 feet / 1036 metres

Grade - mod/hard

Start - OS grid reference NY246211
Lat 54.57946 // Long -3.168042
Postcode CA12 5UE (approx. location only)

Walk Route Description

Photo from the walk - Catbells, Dale Head & Hindscarth - The Newlands Horseshoe 
 
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This is one of the great walks of the Lake District National Park and will keep you entertained for the best part of day, A day with good visibility is a must as the views throughout are engaging and you will see many of the Lakeland peaks during the circuit. Navigation is generally easy as you are following well trodden paths but do remember to save some energy for the steep 900 foot ascent from Dalehead tarn to the summit of Dale Head.

The start for this Lake District walk is the car park at the northern foot of Catbells at Gutherscale (grid ref. NY246211). On fine days this can be very busy and parking can be at a premium so an early start is recommended. After parking start the climb onto Catbells. There are two paths initially and these soon merge to form a clear path to the summit. The reward for this initial ascent of 1200 feet is the fine views across Derwentwater and the many surrounding fells.

Many of your fellow walkers will have fallen by the wayside as you continue on an ascending path roughly south to the summit of Maiden Moor. In my mind this is the most tedious section although the views remain as you head towards the cairn on the top of Blea Crag (630 metres). This is worth a short diversion as there is a fine view along the length of Derwentwater. After enjoying the view return to the main path and continue the gentle ascent to the summit cairn on High Spy.

You have a short section of respite as you descend to Dalehead tarn at the southern end of the Newlands Valley. From here it's a matter of gritting your teeth and steadily plodding uphill until you reach the summit cairn from where the view down Newlands and across to Eel Crags makes the effort worthwhile. You now head westwards along Hindscarth Edge with a different set of fells now included in the panorama to your left. It is important that you don't get too carried away with the views and miss the turn north towards the summit of Hindscarth with its well built cairn.

The hard work is now complete and you can enjoy a mainly downhill walk back to the start. The route from Hindscarth heads almost due north and descends to High Crags and then along the pleasant ridge to Scope End. From here the path descends more steeply down the eastern flank of the ridge to reach Low Snab. Here head north on the track towards the road at Chapel Bridge. Turn right along the road passing through the collection of dwellings at Little Town. Just after the last cottage take the path signed to Skelgill and follow this through pastures to reach the road at Skelgill. Bear right along the road and you are soon back at the start.

 
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Ordnance Survey Explorer OL4Sheet Map1:25kBUY MAP
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Ordnance Survey Landranger 90Sheet Map1:50kBUY MAP
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Recommended Reading

Lake District: High Level and Fell Walks

Lake District: High Level and Fell WalksThis guidebook describes 30 graded fell walks on the ridges and high peaks of the English Lake District, the UK's most popular national park. Reaching some of England's finest and highest mountain scenery, this guide leads readers to classic horseshoes and traditional ascents as well as lesser-known routes to quieter summits.
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