Catstycam

Catstycam

Route: Catstycam and Birkhouse Moor

Area: Eastern Lake District 

Date of walk:  10th August 2017

Walkers: Andrew

Distance: 8.5 miles

Ascent: 2,600 feet

Weather: Light cloud at first, then sunny

Å, Glaramara, Catstycam – my 3 latest walks – such appealing and poetic names and the name seems to add to the attraction and romance of the walk somehow. Today it was the turn of Catstycam. At a height of 2,917 feet it’s the 10th highest in the district but is overshadowed by its proximity to Helvellyn. As Wainwright says ‘if Catstycam stood alone, remote from its fellows, it would be one of the finest peaks in lakeland’

I set off from Glenridding, parking near the excellent outdoor clothing shop named, appropriately, catstycam.com. I walked out of the village beside Glenridding Beck, which flooded in December 2015 with devastating consequences for the village. After leaving the village I continued along the north foot of Birkhouse Moor and past the old Greenside Mine. This was very easy going as the path climbed gently uphill though this part of the route lacked views, being hemmed in by fells on either side

As I approached Red Tarn things became more interesting, with views of Swirral Edge ahead, mighty Hellvellyn, and the silhouette of walkers, like a line of soldier ants, teetering along Striding Edge. I followed a path leading up to Swirral Edge and on reaching the edge turned sharp right to make the final push to the summit of Catstycam. I had the place to myself, which was good as there’s not much room for company on the small pointed top, which drops away sharply in all directions

I retraced my steps down to Red Tarn and after passing by the Hole-in-the-Wall followed a lovely path beside a dry stone wall to Birkhouse Moor. A small detour is needed to visit the so called summit cairn, which is actually lower than the ground which precedes it, but it’s a worthy place for a cairn as there’s a wonderful view over Ullswater from here. I retraced my steps from the cairn and continued the descent beside Mires Beck back into Glenridding to conclude a great day out in the eastern fells

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