High Spy Circular Walk

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This reflects the estimated time the majority of users will take on this trail. If you are slower, add time to the top-end figure. If you are fast, then you may complete this route faster than this time range.
This reflects the return distance of this route as measured by the GPS file.
12.9 km
This reflects the total elevation gained throughout this route as measured by the GPS file. This includes all ascents and descents, and is higher than what is quoted in most route guides, which simply measure the distance between the starting-point and high-point of the route.
681 m
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Directions to Trailhead
High Spy Circular Walk

The High Spy Circular Walk is a challenging excursion that will take you uphill along the rugged terrain of the Lake District to reach the summit of several different fells. While out on the trail, you will make your way up the steep hillside of Cat Bells to experience views over Derwent Water before traversing the summits of Maiden Moor, High Spy, and High Scawdel for some nice views overlooking Honister Pass. This route features some of the best mountain views in the Lake District, making it a popular option in the area.

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Route Description for High Spy Circular Walk

Walking the High Spy Circular will see you experience a variety of terrain, including steep hillsides, a rugged ridgeline, and boggy stretches of trail that follow along a stream. To comfortably traverse the trail, be sure to wear sturdy walking footwear that is ideally water-resistant to combat the muddy ground on the latter portion of the walk. This is a very popular route in the area, making parking at the trailhead a challenge during peak hours. Be sure to arrive early enough to secure a space and beat the crowds.

Setting out from the trailhead in the village of Little Town, the path will take you to the southeast and begin to climb up the hillside before turning to the north oin the ascent of Cat Bells. At the summit, you will enjoy some beautifully scenic views across the calm expanse of Derwent Water to the northeast. After taking in the views, head south along the trails and follow it across the undulating landscape, making your way over the summits of Maiden Moor, High Spy, and High Scawdel. Here, you will have a great sightline overlooking Honister Pass and a number of rugged fells nearby. Follow the trail as it turns back to the north and descends the steep hillside into the valley. Here, you will make your way through the boggy terrain along the winding banks of Newlands Beck until you arrive back at the starting point of your walk.

Getting to the High Spy Circular Walk Trailhead

To reach the car park for the High Spy Circular Walk from The Chalet Tearooms & Restaurant in Portinscale, head south for 2.3 km and make a left turn, continuing on for another 0.8 km. Make a slight left here and you will arrive at the car park in 1.8 km.

Route Information

  • When to do


  • Backcountry Campsites


  • Pets allowed

    Yes - On Leash

  • Family friendly


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High Spy Circular Walk Elevation Graph

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