The top of Catbells was probably the most amazing view I have ever seen, anywhere, in my life. Even after just 5 minutes of climbing, it becomes unforgettable. Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous!
But -- it has to be said that this hike up to the top is absolutely in no way safe for children or the elderly.
My husband and I saw a TV program, read a guide book, and heard from a local (3x total!) that this was a great "stroll" for families and (quote) "grandmothers." Absolutely not! I was terrified of slipping and falling on all of the rocky bits multiple times and there was legitimate danger for those who are not as dexterous or flexible as we currently are.
There are a few paths families and the elderly can take around the mountain instead of up -- definitely. But we met two older women probably in their 60s or 70s who had been misled about the climb up to the top as well and they were extremely discouraged that they couldn't make it after they made the trip out to do it.
Also -- and this is very important -- there are no signs anywhere (save for 2 small ones saying to stay on the path) to direct you on where to start, where to go, where to end, or how to get back to the boat docks. There were multiple times when we would reach a fork in the path or come to the end and not know how to get back to the boat dock.
Note: The boats stop running around 5pm so if you go any later than around 12 noon to hike up, you run the risk of missing the last boat -- especially because there are NO SIGNS!
With as big of an attraction as this is for Lake District visitors, there really, really, really needs to be better signage.
All that said, if you are in great physical condition and happen to be in Keswick, this is an amazing way to spend the day.
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