Catbells, which is situated on the western shore of Derwent Water in Keswick, stands only 451 metres high. However, despite it’s modest height it is one of the most popular fells in the area. Alfred Wainwright, the guidebook author, said “It is one of the great favourites, a family fell where grandmothers and infants can climb the heights together, a place beloved.” Catbells, although known as a family fell, does have some dangers from the closed lead mines on it’s slopes. However, many of the shafts which were previously open have now been sealed. All three mines closed in the 1890’s.
Nearly all ascents of Catbells start from Hawes End. However, visitors to Keswick can combine a climb and a sail on the lake as Hawes End is also served by the Keswick Launch Company, or Derwentwater Lake Cruises as it is better known. From the summit of Catbells the panoramic view of Derwent Water, Bassenthwaite Lake, Skiddaw, Newlands Valley, Keswick and Borrowdale are spectacular.
Above Derwent Water and on the lower slopes of Catbells stands Brackenburn Lodge, although now holiday accommodation, it was previously the home of Hugh Walpole, who lived here from 1923 until his death in 1941. The Keswick Museum and Art Gallery has many manuscripts of his novels, together with the work done by William Wordsworth and Robert Southey.