Walla Crag walk and Bleaberry Fell from Ashness Bridge — True Freedom Seekers
Walla Crag is a fantastic walk with some amazing views overlooking Derwent Water as well as the stunning Catbells, Skiddaw and the beautiful town of Keswick. Walla Crag standing at 379m isn’t one of the highest Wainwright’s but it is another one to tick off. This walk up to Walla Crag and Bleaberry Fell takes you to one of the most photographed places in the Lake District too, Ashness Bridge.
It goes without saying if you want any other information regarding Walla Crag then please feel free to check our information page out.
Parking for the walk up Walla Crag, Bleaberry Fell, and Ashness Bridge
To get here, we left our flat once more in the town of Cockermouth and took the A66 east towards Keswick. Once arriving in Keswick take the B5289. This winds its way down the side of Derwent Water.
Carry on down here for an estimated 1.7 miles, or a couple of minutes. You’ll see a turning to your left which heads quite steeply up a little back lane. And this is the one you want to take. It will have a brown signpost which says Ashness Bridge and Watendlath. Here you have two options.
You can either park at the bottom for free, just after the cattle grid. Or keep heading up towards Ashness Bridge. We parked at the bottom for free then walked up to Ashness Bridge but the option is of course yours. The parking at the top is just past Ashness Bridge and is a National Trust car park. I believe you do have to pay for this one and its around £7.50 all day.
As I said we parked at the bottom and walked up toward Ashness Bridge. Solely for the fact that we like to stretch our legs before we start climbing any of the 214 Wainwrights. And today was Walla Crag and Bleaberry Fell’s turn. The walk uphill towards the starting point of the Wainwrights is quite steep. And it does get your legs warmed up for sure. Which on the 2nd March with snow still capping the Wainwrights, it was welcome.
It can be noted that if you take the cruise on Derwent Water, you can get off at Ashness Gate. In addition, it is the first drop off from leaving Keswick. Another awesome way to see Derwent Water from Keswick and the surrounding area and Fells.
Ashness Bridge and the start of our walk up Walla Crag and Bleaberry Fell
As you keep walking up here it will be hard to miss Ashness Bridge. There will either be a small crowd around it or you’ll just become aware that this is the famous Ashness Bridge. It sits on Barrow Beck.
The views from here overlooking the Skiddaw range is incredible. Which we have spent many a time just sat here enjoying the views. Take some photos of the incredible scenery and you’ll soon become to understand why it is one of the most photographed areas in the Lake District.
For us, we couldn’t believe how easy it was to get to. When we first started visiting and saw photos of Ashness Bridge we assumed it’d be on some back lane deep in the Fells. But here, just on the outskirts of Keswick, it sits. Rather magnificently.
Here is where we’ll start out walk up towards the Wainwrights. We’ll walk up the left-hand side of Ashness Bridge. But first why not visit Surprise View?
Surprise View near Ashness Bridge
Surprise View isn’t much further from Ashenss Bridge and if you’re in the area then why not take a look in? After all, there are no time restrictions in the Lake District. Continue walking past Ashness Bridge and you’ll soon come to find Surprise View. Just keep looking on your right-hand side.
For us, this is something we actually stumbled upon. We didn’t know it was a real place until we found it. We’d never heard about it but when we took in the incredible views over Derwent Water and the Wainwrights, we knew this was a viewpoint. After checking our map, OS Explorer map 4, we saw it was indeed a viewpoint.
There is a little bench down there too so you can take in the views at your own leisure. And just a word of warning, if you’re with any children then please be careful. There are no railings up here and it is an open space. I mean you can understand why it’s called Surprise View, it really does surprise you when you’re there.
Right, let’s get walking towards Bleaberry Fell then
Retracing our steps back from Surprise View, and over Ashness Bridge we start our walk to the left side of Ashness Bridge. As if you were looking at it. There is a pathway that leads up the side of the Barrow Beck. Don’t get confused with another path a little further down, this heads towards Cat Gill and will eventually take you up to Walla Crag too. Climbing up beside Barrow Beck you’ll soon hit a little junction. From here, head left across the Fells and over a ladder stile. This will lead you so you are almost walking alongside Derwent Water (just a little bit higher up than usual).
Follow this path which is quite easy to follow. The path itself is narrow but does become wider as it bends around the fellside. Be sure to say hello to those Herdwick Sheep here as well, as they graze around you. Looking at you with those dark eyes of theirs. And seemingly unbothered by you being there at all. They are quite the characters, especially when they stand still looking at you but the minute you want a photo with them then they seem to move all over the place. Or maybe they’re just not photogenic creatures…
You’ll also notice of course the views overlooking Derwent Water as well, with Catbells standing the other side of the water. For us, this was quite amazing. We’d already been the other side of Catbells that morning, on Barrow, and now we were the other side of it again. With the snow-capped Wainwrights around it genuinely felt like the perfect day. We’d been snowed on earlier which is an added bonus for us, and now we were going to bag another two Wainwrights.
Following the path around to the junction for Bleaberry Fell
Soon you’ll be coming up to a junction path. This is where if you want to walk on straight towards Walla Crag you can go straight on. But for us we turned to the right, another good path heading up towards Bleaberry Fell. For us, on our cold day, the sun was starting to get low and the cloud still hung low in the winters sky. We weren’t 100% sure about this but we had researched it and felt confident that even if the weather did change drastically we’d be OK, knowing the route. As it turned out we were absolutely fine.
Continue walking on the only path up towards Bleaberry Fell. As we were walking up here the snow began to hit again. It was a very light shower but with the wind being strong it was stinging our faces. Hoods back up again and gloves back on, we continued up the path. The snow started to settle on the path and you could hear the cracking of the thin ice under our feet. What a day in the Lake District this was turning out to be.
The deer on Bleaberry Fell was a welcome surprise
Following up towards the Wainwright, snow slowing down and the Fells opening back up again we had the incredible view of a group of deer. They were bouncing around at a distance and running around Bleaberry Fell nearer to the summit. We are the kind of people that live for the small things in life. So seeing a group of deer running around in the snow on a Wainwright in the Lake District with the sun casting shadows too, that was pretty perfect I’m not going to lie. And another reason why we continue to get out and about.
Last push up to Bleaberry Fell summit
Walking on towards the summit of this Wainwright you can see a clear path heading up. But first take a moment to enjoy the views, with Blencathra to the north and as well. It is quite a vast area to be which is why you should be careful in case the weather does turn, but it’s beautiful too.
The only way I can really describe the last section up towards Bleaberry Fell from Ashness Bridge walk is steps. Yep, the last section really does turn into stone steps leading up to the summit of Bleaberry Fell. Again, we were being extra careful as the crunching of ice under our feet were often now, and the slight slipping made for wary walking. But it’s an adventure, and the views are so worth it!
The summit will be marked with a cairn and a hugely achieved high five was shared between the two of us. The wind was howling and the dark grey clouds were once again marching in our direction. We didn’t hang around for long at all. After all, the day had already been a massive success and we still had one more Wainwright to get bagged, Walla Crag.
Views from the summit of Bleaberry Fell
The views from up here are superb though. On a clearer day and a different day in the Lake District, we did take our time and took in the sights of the Wainwrights. However, for you, dear reader, these are the Wainwrights that you have the potential to see on your walk up Bleaberry Fell.
Let’s start with the north, shall we? Skiddaw and Skiddaw Little Man will be in view. Following round towards the east, that’s right to you and I, are Blencathra, Clough Head and Great Dodd. East to the south will be the Wainwrights of Raise, Catstycam and Helvellyn. Leading on to Great Rigg and Ullscarf.
South to the west is where there are a lot of Wainwrights, listing only but a few again are Great Carrs, Esk Pike, Scafell Pike, Great Gable, Red Pike, and Maiden Moor. And west to the north is, of course, Grasmoor, Grisdale Pike, Barrow (where we’d been earlier in the day) and Lords Seat.
Of course, you can see many more Fells in the Lake District and take the time out to try and spot them. It works wonders for pinpointing your location and seeing all the Wainwrights that you’ll eventually be climbing if you haven’t done already. Look at their features and become aware of them. Soon you’ll be able to pick them out on your walks. I know for me it was a huge thing to be able to identify some Wainwrights. A sense of pride for not only bagging them but knowing them as familiar friends.
Walla Crag walk from Bleaberry Fell
Follow the same path down from Bleaberry Fell towards the junction path where we turned off. Again being careful underfoot as well as taking in the views from this direction too. You’ll be able to see little Walla Crag sat waiting patiently for your arrival after the walk.
At the junction path take the right turn and walk towards Walla Crag and a wall, following this you’ll soon come to see a stile heading over the wall. Take it, this leads to the summit of Walla Crag. This part of the walk will now seem much easier compared to the other section of Bleaberry Fell.
Again you’ll be able to see the likes of Skiddaw and Catbells as well. Another favourites of mine, which if you’re a reader of ours, you’ll know I like looking back on where we’ve come from. So spinning around now with Derwent Water behind us, you can see the clear path leading to the summit of Bleaberry Fell. Again if you wanted to do this the other way around and come to Walla Crag first to get your bearings, before heading to Bleaberry Fell then you can do. The Lake District is truly yours to discover at your own speed.
Heading back towards Ashness Bridge from Walla Crag
For us again the sun was beginning to set, so we headed back off Walla Crag, walking towards Ashness Bridge and the car. Moreover, it had been a truly magnificent day which had been packed full from start to finish. The only thing that could top it was some fish and chips in Cockermouth, where we were staying. I can highly recommend Lee’s Fish & Chips and Chinese Takeaway. Yes, that’s right, they do fish and chips, and Chinese takeaway. Could you actually ask for more? Haha.
You do also have the option to hike back down to Keswick from here as well if you are wanting to make a loop route instead. For us, we were short on time and already puffed out from the walk but on a new day then I too would make a round trip of it. So go ahead and explore the walk around the Wainwrights of Bleaberry Fell and Walla Crag. Take in the sights of Catbells, Helvellyn, and Scafell Pike. And enjoy the beauty of Ashness Bridge and Surprise View. Whatever you do, stay safe and enjoy yourselves.
Thank you for reading our blog again, if you want to read more about True Freedom Seekers adventures in the Lake District check out some more of our blogs, or have a wander around the website. Equally, if you have any stories you’d like to share then comment below for us all.
Originally published at https://truefreedomseekers.com on January 4, 2021.