Park and Sail – Derwent Water, Cat Bells and Squirrel Nutkin

A new local initiative between Keswick Launch Company and Keswick Rugby Club commencing on Wednesday 14th July 2021, will reduce vehicle overload on the west side of Derwent Water, as well as helping to reduce vehicle emissions in the Lake District National Park and World Heritage Site.

The west side of Derwent Water is famous for being home to Squirrel Nutkin, Mrs Tiggywinkle and Friends and in recent times Cat Bells has become one of the Lake District’s favourite walks. However, whilst once a haven for wildlife and people, the numbers of vehicles descending on the “quiet” side of the Lake and parking (mainly on the narrow roads) have been increasing year on year. In short, the area is being “loved to death” causing safety problems and inconvenience to all.

Matters have now reached close to breaking point due to unprecedented high visitor numbers due to Covid-19. Recently bus services were cancelled due to the combination of vehicle numbers and on road parking.

The initiative hopes to help deal with this problem but also long term to reduce vehicle numbers around Portinscale, Cat Bells and Grange and improve the position for locals and visitors alike.

Park and Sail involves Keswick Rugby Club’s 200 car parking spaces (including its underused 150 space overspill car park) and users parking there, paying £4 for a day, will receive a voucher. The voucher when presented at the Launch ticket office will attract a 15% discount off the launch services that day for the voucher presenter and up to a maximum of 4 of their passengers.

The Launch Company are now operating a shuttle service to Hawse End at the foot of Cat Bells, in addition to its other services. Users will be able to access the launches by the short walk through Crow Park along the northern shore of Derwent Water.

Douglas Hodgson of Keswick Launch Company commented:

“We are delighted to team up with Keswick Rugby Club and to encourage people to access the west side of Derwent Water and wider area in this fantastic and sustainable way.”

By general consensus, the best way to walk Cat Bells is by using the launch for access rather than adding to the vehicle problems on the west side of the Lake. However, lots of other walks are accessible from Keswick itself using the launch including the Newlands Fells, Grange, Castle Crag and of course Lingholm, Portinscale, Grange and Lodore.

Trevor Keough from Keswick Rugby Club added:

“Derwent Water by launch is a world class experience and this is a great initiative and good for everyone: The Club, the Launch Company, the visitors and the planet. As well as access to the Lake and launches, we are also handy for those who want to use the bus, hire a bike or walk to Threlkeld or just access the Town Centre.”

Day trippers walking Cat Bells or visiting the west side of the lake are expected to be the main beneficiaries of Park and Sail, but users can always take a cruise round the whole Lake.

Vanessa Metcalfe from Keswick Tourism Association said:

“The Hawse End shuttle across the “Queen of Lakes” is simply a delightful way to start or end the day and far better than adding to vehicle congestion on the west of the Lake. Apart from Cat Bells, there are plenty of other walks which can be accessed this way; varying from a stroll through Bluebells in Brandlehow Woods, a walk along the lake shore or a swim and for the more adventurous accessing Maiden Moor, High Spy and the Newlands Fells this way.”

Emma Moody from Lake District National Park added:

“Park and Sail is a great way to access the west of Derwent Water and the adjoining villages/fells and helps the environment at the same time. Some will use the return launch option and some – I expect – will walk back or walk out and pop in to one of the numbers of great places to eat on route on both sides of the Lake.”