A Short Walk through the Jaws of Borrowdale.

Start. Grange.

Route. Grange - Hollows Farm Camp Site - Low Hows Wood - Castle Crag Caves - New Bridge - Longthwaite - Rosthwaite - Rosthwaite Bridge - Bowder Stone - Quayfoot Quarry - Grange.

Notes. Constricted by Kings How and Castle Crag, honed out by ice then eroded over thousands of years, this is the Jaws of Borrowdale a dramatic name coined by early visitors. Both road and river pass through this sylvan gorge, as does a number of ancient tracks used by quarrymen on their never ending quest to transport as much as Lakeland away as possible. It's part of their legacy I went exploring today, a day of wind and rain, low cloud and zero views. You just sit there let me get soaked on this short wander through what old Wainwright described as the “loveliest square mile in Lakeland".

I parked on a small car park next to the twin arched Grange Bridge, a splendid bridge built in 1675, although the origins of the village go back a lot further. Acquired 1209 by the monks of Furness Abbey in a dodgy land deal, they soon busied themselves building a grange and farming the land.

From the village I followed the river south, once under the eastern cliffs of Castle Crag I made a short detour, ascending over quarry spoil to explore a number of caves, in particular, Millican Dalton's Cave. Dalton was born in 1867, at the age of 35 he quit his job in a London office to become a self-styled professor of adventure, the cave was to become his summer home for over thirty years. His income came from guiding visitors, on the hills and down the river on rafts.

Once back on track I wandered on to New Bridge, then continued to Longthwaite before fording the river, field paths then guided me to Rosthwaite. My intended route had been to ascend Hazel Bank to join a path that traverses Belt Knott from Resting Stones, as this path is narrow, steep and bound to be muddy, and the fact it was tipping it down with rain I opted for a road walk, which in these conditions was heaven. The Borrowdale Road safely guided me to the start of a foot-path signed Bowder Stone.

The Bowder Stone is a big boulder, a very big boulder balanced on a knife edge, Victorian and Georgian tourists flocked to it in their hundreds, possibly one of Lakelands first tourist attractions. The first flight of steps was constructed by Joseph Pocklington, never one to turn down a money making scam, he also raised a Druidical stone near by. From the Bowder Stone the main path ushered me passed Queyfoot Quarry back onto the main road a few hundred yards from Grange Bridge.

view route map.


Grange Bridge from the parked car.

From the tarmac lane servicing Hollows Farm views to the Cockley How face of Maiden Moor.

The River Derwent with King's How rising out of the murk.

The River Derwent looking north.

Millican Dalton's Cave.

Wainwright may have described this as the “loveliest square mile in Lakeland", he' was probably right but on a day like today I have my doubts.

New Bridge, most people cross the river here the path leads to Rosthwaite, I opted to cross further down at Longthwaite.

Seen from New Bridge Castle Crag backed by the cliffs of Low Scawdel.

Borrowdale, with the weather at my back I'll soon be turning into it.

A minuscule of shelter on an otherwise wet Lakeland day.

Approaching Longthwaite.

Longthwaite Bridge.

Like phantoms rising through the Borrowdale mist, Castle Crag and the long ridge of Maiden Moor.

From the Borrowdale Road views to King's How and Brund Fell.

The Bowder Stone, possibly Lakelands first tourist attraction.

Castle Crag seen from Joseph Pocklington Druidical stone near the Bowder Stone.

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