I hope everyone had a lovely Christmas last weekend, however you chose to spend the day! We hopped in the car and spent our Christmas morning ticking off another Wainwright, Walla Crag. We were hoping that as it was Christmas day there would be fewer people around – being so close to Keswick and requiring pretty minimal effort for maximum reward I think Walla Crag can tend to get a little busy. However, we arrived nice and early and while we did see a few people out for a Christmas walk, it was much much quieter than I expect it usually is when the weather’s clear.
While Walla Crag is usually bagged alongside Bleaberry Fell, we decided to stick to a shorter walk, following the route in our Pocket Mountains guide as far as the summit. We then free-styled our way back down to the car park to cut off quite a large corner, probably making the descent much steeper for ourselves, but also getting back to the car and on our way home before the Christmas Dinner traffic started. I’m slightly regretting it now that I’ve realised we’ll probably have to climb it again when we eventually go back to do Bleaberry Fell!
The walk starts from the National Trust’s Great Wood car park in Borrowdale. Parking is free for Members – it’s definitely worth investing in a National Trust membership if you’re planning to tick off the Wainwrights!
The walk up to the summit starts off through woodland, climbing steadily to reach the fell side, and before you know it you’re at the top. It took us about an hour to get from the car to the summit – although this may be because I used Merry’s canicross harness for hiking for the first time and the extra ‘Merry Power’ certainly helped me walk up the hill quicker than normal!
At the start I thought this was going to be a pretty average walk. However, as soon as we walked through the gate at the bottom of the fell side we were immediately met with stunning views over Keswick and Derwentwater, which only get better the further you climb. On your other side you get a dramatic view of the rolling Lakeland hillsides, while straight ahead, there is a beautiful panorama looking towards Cat Bells (surely that’s got to be next on our list!).
Navigationally, this walk is pretty straightforward. While a lot of the paths are grassy, they are clearly defined, but there are so many tracks heading in all directions you need to make sure that you’re following the right one! Once you get onto the fell there is a handy fence line which you can follow most of the way to the summit, then crossing a stile just before you get to the top.
We had great weather for this walk – a bit cloudy but clear enough that we got the fantastic views which I’d been desperate to see. All in all we got around in just under two hours and I wouldn’t say this was a particularly strenuous or difficult walk (relatively speaking), perfect for a morning or afternoon leg stretch.
Dog friendly rating – 4/5. Our dogs absolutely loved this walk – the start and end in the woods meant that there was plenty of off lead time, and we didn’t come across any livestock where there wasn’t a fence between us (although this could change in the summer months). There were a few stiles to navigate, but these all had handy dog gates, so no dramas trying to lift Coal over! We also crossed a few streams which would be ideal for letting the dogs have a drink in summer. There was one very short section where we walked along a quiet road, but we didn’t see any cars on here. Overall a fab dog walk which I would definitely recommend!
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