The Lake District Guide

Lake District Valley and Low-level Walks

Borrowdale 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.

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