High Spy is a Wainwright with 148m (485ft) of prominence. This makes it 2m short of being a Marylin (a hill in the UK with 150m (492tf) or more of prominence, regardless of the altitude of it's summit. It lies between Maiden Moore and Dale head and sits on a ridge which forms a ridge between Borrowdale and Newlands Valley. With Catbells, Dale Head and Hindscarth it forms a horse shoe shaped ridge walk (one for the future). The name High Spy is thought to have possibly come from the use of the prominence as a look out point, maybe someone knows for sure?
Considering the weather earlier in the week, and the fact I was making an unusually late start, the start of the walk was a dry one. Even some sign of the sun, occasionally. I got parked up around a quarter of a mile from the foot of Catbells just south of Swineside.
I worked my way back up to the start of the path that leads over Catbells, directly up the ridge, and headed up.
Catbells is sort of shaped like a narrow double hump ridge line. Once near the top of the first hump there is a little scramble to the top.
On the way up this scramble you come across a plaque dedicated to Thomas Arthur Leonard, father of the 'Open Air Movement'. And found founder of Co-operative and Communal Holidays.
From the top of this first rise the views start to come. Keswick is in clear sight with Derwent Water below.
Looking south down the ridge and the summit of Catbells awaits. It's not high at 451m (1480ft), but it does appear so due to it's dimensions.
Working your way up to the summit you look back and realise you've covered more height than you expect in only a few minutes. I found the ascent quite deceptive.
Just before the top you look up and see a rather interesting scramble coming up that makes Catbells a lot of fun.
From the summit of Catbells, Keswick is in spectacular surroundings.
Other views from the summit of Catbells are just as nice and really worth the visit to the top.
Looking south the path up to Maiden Moore comes into view. To me it has a slightly ominous look to it. It also looks as though few people head up there, nice. A little solitude is good for the soul at times.
The path up to Maiden Moore starts off fairly steep, although to be honest, it is quite easy going, if a little like being back in the Peak District at times with the bogs.
The path up through Maiden Moore is a little remote and it's well worth taking the path off to the west side that allows for lovely views into the valley below.
About a mile on or so and the beginning of the High Spy prominence comes into view.
Working up the path it levels out on to a rough plateau and leading on to the cairn on the High Spy summit. The cairn is in a state of disrepair, possibly due to overly thoughtful passers by adding too many rocks to the cairn and causing it to list towards the east. I resisted the temptation to add a rock, to be honest I don't add stones to cairns at all. They are useful, but rocks also help protect the paths.
The views from High Spy, especially towards Dale Head are amazing. I would have liked to continue on to Dale Head, but it was quite late in the afternoon, so I chose to head back to the car.
I decided to head back down through Maiden Moore, the light was fading, so going back the way I knew became important.
Once back down to the Col between Catbells and Maiden Moore you can turn right (east) which takes you down into the valley and back to the road where my car was parked.
High Spy is well worth the effort of continuing on from Catbells. The path turns quite remote in comparison, but is easier going. You do need a couple of hours extra, but why not.