Valley and Low-level Walks
More walks around Borrowdale
Castle Crag Borrowdale - 3.3 miles
Although the mileage is not great, the steepness to the 980-feet summit
has to be taken slowly. This walk is not for walkers with a poor head for
heights. Strong footwear is needed. This is a walk for views, and in misty
or rainy weather the effort would be wasted.The view from the summit is
breathtaking and superior to most viewpoints a good deal higher. It is a
central platform in the centre of a highly dramatic amphitheatre.
Photographers will go mad with delight - particularly in spring or autumn
when the Borrowdale colours are at their best.
Drive up Borrowdale to the hamlet of Grange (4.3 miles), cross the lovely
bridge and park. Walk into the hamlet. Just before reaching the little
church, on the right, there is a lane on the left between a building and a
farm wall. (Signposted "Public Footpath to Castle Crag & Rosthwaite.") Go
down this lane. As you go forward Castle Crag can be seen ahead. The track
is an old road and is well. defined. Go on through a gate. The way then
goes close to the river at a point where the river bends sharply left.
Ignore the quarry road right, and the path left with the river's bend. Go
right on, over a little slate bridge. This begins to climb, a beck crosses
it, then you go through another gate. The rugged ridge above on the right
is Eel Crags.
The way then becomes steeper and rougher. You cross a culverted beck under
the crags of Castle Crag. At a point where the path again crosses the beck
right, turn left up the grass bank to follow the stream for a short
distance, then bear left up the steepness towards the wall. A look back
down Derwentwater to Skiddaw is impressive. Cross the wall by a collapsed
stile. The path here is very steep. There is a seat on the right under a
crag with a memorial plaque. A wooden ladder stile is reached - over this
turn right immediately and continue ascending. The path zig-zags, a grassy
area is then reached with a cairn on it. Go to the cairn then go left by
the zig-zags up the slates. There are good views up Borrowdale - stop to
admire them. The valley bearing left is Stonethwaite. The crag standing in
it is Eagle Crag and to the left of it is the old way for the pack-ponies
to Grasmere. To the right of this valley Glaramara crowns the head of
Borrowdale. Beyond that to its right is the end of the Scafells range -
Great End. Behind that can be seen the little conical top of Scafell Pike,
the highest point in England.
At the top of the slate zig-zags you pass by the rim of a quarry and you
are soon at the summit. The view is splendid. Over Derwentwater is Skiddaw
and to its right Blencathra (Saddleback). The tree clad eminence across
the valley on the right is King How and Grange Fell. In the background to
right of this is the Helvellyn range. Up Borrowdale now is a good view of
the Scafell range, and this time to its right is Great Gable.
The only safe way off the summit is the way you came up. Make sure you
pick your way down correctly by the slate zig-zags. Do not be tempted too
far to the right. When you find yourself at the cairn on the grassed area
again, go forward to the wall. Behind one of the pine trees is a tricky
slate stile over the wall. Cross over the wall and pick up the path which
descends to the left. This descends on steep grass parallel with the wall.
Go through gateway and follow path which at first goes left then right
through a broadleaf woodland. Path becomes a more easily seen track as it
goes down towards a fence. Go through the gate and turn left along a
track. Go through the gate or over the stile to its right. The path
through the wood now runs parallel with the river. Cross wooden stile and
go on by a wet patch. The path climbs and at T-junction turn right. The
path leaves the wood through a gap in a wall and descends with the wall,
right. There is an open section by the river side. The path then joins the
track you came on, near the river bend. Follow it back to Grange.
Stonethwaite - 4 miles
A "thwaite" in the Lake District is a
clearing, or a level, or a cultivatable area in a wilderness. Stonethwaite
is well named. It is a place of stones. Scores of becks on the
high fells of Grasmere, from Bowfell and the steep sides of Glaramara pour
into two becks; Greenup Gill and Langstrath Beck; these converge into one,
the Stonethwaite Beck. When there are heavy storms on the fells
Stonethwaite is pounded by a raging torrent. This walk is therefore stony,
in parts; and in others a little wet. But it is otherwise a level and
pleasant walk. But avoid it in wet weather.
Drive to Stonethwaite village. From Keswick this is seven miles up the
Borrowdale valley. Just after the village of Rosthwaite there is a turning
left. (A minor road.) The sign reads -Borrowdale Church. Stonethwaite.
(Footpath only)", and a sign below reads "Unsuitable for motor cars after
Stonethwaite". Drive along this road until you reach the village proper.
After the first building on the left there is a small open space. If you
are unable to park here for other vehicles return down the road by which
you arrived and park on the wide verge.
Just after this first building on the left a stone lane can be seen
leading off it to the left. It is signposted Greenup Edge For Sargeant
Man, Langdale Pikes, Easedale Tarn & Grasmere. Take this and go over the
bridge, through the gate, turn right at the T junction and go through
another gate. The track passes through open woodland. The view opens up
just round the corner. Blocking the valley head is the large bulk of Eagle
Crag. No eagles dwell there now. After another gate the way forks. The
left-hand one is the pleasanter way. Go through the gap in the broken wall
and continue. The fells on the right belong to Glaramara (2,560 feet). The
more immediate of its crags is Bull Crag. Go on and ford a stream. The way
is now rather stony. Go between a ruined barn and a sheep pen, and just
after this there is a very old misshapen yew tree on the left. Yew is the
slowest growing of our native trees. The tough wood made the bows for the
bowmen of England.
The path becomes green as it goes on between a wall right and a broken
wall left. Go through a gate. The rushing beck is impressive at this
point. It has scoured out a gully in the solid rock. At this point the
path has been broken at the edge by flood. Uneasy walkers can avoid this
short stretch by going up the little path to the left, but it has a steep
descent back. The way is now over water-worn rocky ground. Ford another
stream. The path gains a little height. If you were to continue right
ahead you would cross Greenup Edge and reach Grasmere, six miles on. The
path leading off up the valley partly obscured on the right, at the other
side of Eagle Crag goes by the Stake Pass to Langdale, also six miles on.
When you come to some sheep pens, pass them on their left. Go alongside a
fence, then turn its corner at the end and go over a stile. Then turn left
and cross the footbridge.
A little further on there is rough wet ground
to cross by stepping stones. To avoid the next wet section it is best to
walk on the water-worn bedrock on the right. Continue on through a wall
gap. Langstrath Beck is now on your right. After a quarter of a mile there
is a group of birch trees on your right and then there is a little
footbridge. Cross the bridge, closing the little wicket gate after you to
prevent the sheep from crossing by it. Join the path and turn right. Just
by the gate further on, there is a large oak with unusually large sideways
growth caused by storm damage. Continue on down the gravely path.
A little further on you will see a wall going down to the right. Where
this wall ends before the beck side there is a stile. Walk down and go
through this. Walk alongside the beck on a narrow path, and along a green
field. Cross the little beck by a slate bridge and then go up the bank
under the trees to a stile in the wall ahead. Continue on following the
beck side. A very rough stony section is crossed. Go forward to a stile
and gate. Continue on on the same line over the next field to another gate
followed by another. The next gate brings you on to the road by the
Langstrath Hotel. Your car is right ahead.