Lancashire TelegraphKeswick walk (From Lancashire Telegraph)

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Keswick walk

Lancashire Telegraph: Keswick walk Keswick walk

Although an important medieval market town, Keswick is largely a product of Victorian tourism.

The first visitors came by coach and horses but by the 1860s the steam train had arrived and its closure in 1972 has to be seen in retrospect as a tragic error.

The old station is now a trendy cafe and part of the railway line running close to the River Greta is part of a time-share development.

There are plenty of pay and display car parks in town and the information centre house in the old Moot Hall which was built to replace an earlier building in 1813.

There is a bell in the tower which bears the date 1001 but is much more likely to have been the town curfew bell, dated to 1601!

The name Keswick comes from the Scandinavian Caeswick and means a farm where the cheese was made.

In the town is the pencil factory where lead was once made from a substance called graphite.

This is mainly a compound of carbon atoms, related to diamond but much softer. It was once mined in the area and was very valuable because it was used in the manufacture of gun powder.

From the pier enjoy the trip across Derwent Water with views over to Skiddow in one direction and Catbells in the other.

The name of the latter indicates that here was once a haunt of the wild cat, now long extinct in England but still present in parts of Scotland.

Most tourists concentrate on the opposite side of the lake, which is a great pity because some wonderful gentle strolling will have been missed.

From Hawes End, follow the track to meet the minor road and car park.

Turn left along the road for a short distance and then turn onto an obvious footpath uphill towards the upper slopes of Catbells.

Be sure to ignore the National Trust sign which iindicates a much more strenuous walk up onto the Catbells Ridge.

This is the place to stop for a while to enjoy the splendid views, seen at their very best in the early spring and summer.

There are views across the lake and nearby are vistas of Castlerigg and Blaeberry Fell.

The familiar humps of Catbells come into view on the right. Pass through the Brandlehow area and close to a house called Brackenburn.

Look out for a stone bench and pause here to think of the life and work of Sir Hugh Walpole, who wrote four novels between 1930 and 1933 which have become know as the Herries Chronicles.

Anyone wanting to understand what life was like for a family some 200 years ago should read theses novels.

Just beyond an area called High Ground meet the minor road and turn right.

After a short distance turn sharp left into Manesty Park.

Follow the lakeside, passing Great Bay and Abbot’s Bay on the right with a dense forest of mixed hardwood and conifers to the left.

Continue to Brandelhow park on the left and Wilkesyle Bay, Victoria Bay and Otterbield Bay on the right and from which there are delightful views over the lake.

The path is wide and easy to follow back to Hawes End.

It is a perfect end to the day to take the full tour around Derwent Water and return to the starting point.

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