Bowder Stone, Watendlath and Lodore from Grange.

Start. Grange in Borrowdale.

Route. Grange - Grange Bridge - Borrowdale Road - Queyfoot Quarry - Bowder Stone - Borrowdale Road - Frith Wood - Belt Knott - Resting Stone - Puddingstone Bank - Watendlath - Moss Mire - Mossmire Coppice - Hogs Earth - Gowder Crag - Lodore Falls - Borrowdale Road - Lodore Hotel - Great Bay (Derwent Water) - Manesty - Grange.

Notes. Welcome to the English Lake District on a blue sky day, and about time. All Summer my days free have been haunted by wind and rain, few breaks in the weather, few chances to drink in the wonderful Lake District scenery. I'm out with Sue today, (once I managed to get her out of bed), no summits just a fairly easy ramble through a stunning Borrowdale landscape, a tiny slice of everything the lake District has to offer.

Our day started at Grange Bridge, after crossing said bridge we turned right letting the main valley road guide us to a sign announcing we'd reached the path that lead to a really big rock. The Bowder Stone, the really big rock weighing in at over 200 ton, 30ft high, 50ft wide balancing improbably on one edge, and for those feeling the need for a closer inspection a set of steps will deposit you at the very top.

From the really big rock it was a short easy descent to the valley road, we continued until a finger post promised passage to Watendlath and something called the Resting Stone. With a stoney forest track under foot we climbed through the dappled light of ancient woodland, escaping the tree cover into stunning views over the valley to some of the really big hills of Lakeland. The path leveled out before reaching the main route linking Rosthwaite to Watendlath, an ancient pack horse route, a track laid before the motor vehicle robbed us of the use of our legs, somewhere near this junction was the Resting Stone.

We climbed the hill a stoney track now under foot, this rough trod guided us passed Birkett's Leap then over Puddingstone Bank before a short ankle breaker of a descent to the mountain oasis of Watendlath. Nestled in a hollow at the head of a small side valley, 847ft above sea level the small hamlet is a delightful place, once owned by the monks of Furness Abbey now in the safe hands of the National Trust. A tiny packhorse bridge, fishing tarn, farm house and most importantly a tea room, alfresco dining only, as it was a glorious morning we partook in an early lunch.

Lunch over we headed down the valley, a narrow path on the west side of Watendlath Beck our companion. Under Ether Knott passed scree and birch woods on Caffell Side we wandered, across Moss Mire before reaching a sign cemented into the path. Here we ignored the path signed Lodore opting for one to Keswick, a fine bridge allowed a dry shod crossing of the beck before a gate allowed access to Mossmire Coppice. Once in the woods we stepped onto a faint path joining the main trod from the left, this guided us above the waters of Watendlath Beck then high above Lodore Falls before terminating in a steep slippery descent. The descent was slow, every foot placement calculated, this was a place to do yourself some serious damage. We arrived at the foot of the falls unscathed but ready for a nerve settling brew.

May I have a grumble a minute, thanks. Before the building of the spa complex the path used to run behind the Lodore Falls Hotel, now a new bridge exists for the use of hotel guests only, us smelly ramblers have to walk round, then cut back passed the front of the hotel risking life and limb on the busy road, which is exactly what we did. After passing the hotel and public toilets (it's a wonder they don't want them for hotel guests only) we stepped onto a path signed Manesty. This well used trod guided us across boggy ground at the head of Derwent Water, into stunning views to Cat Bells, Walla Crag and mighty Skiddaw. All too soon we stepped onto tarmac at Manesty turned left to start the short tarmac walk back to our starting point.

view route map.


From the Borrowdale Road views to Blea Crag.

The Bowder Stone, 200 tons of rock balanced improbably on one edge.

Ascending through Frith Wood.

About to escape the tree cover of Frith Wood.

Free of the woodland enjoying stunning views over Borrowdale.

Views across the green fields of Borrowdale, the principle tops on view, Base Brown backed by Great Gable.

En-route to Watendlath looking to High Tove.

Sue descends over what she calls a stream bed, it's a real ankle breaker, watch where you put your feet, not the view, although it is a view to Watendlath.

Rising above Watendlath Tarn, Black Waugh with Great Crag to the right.

Looking down the valley cut by Watendlath Beck, to the left Ether Knott and the slopes of Caffell Side, on the right Reecastle Crag.

Caffell Side.

This disappointing trickle is Lodore Falls, a series of cascades falling 200ft, far better after a storm, popular with tourists since the early 19th century after Robert Southey wrote a ruddy great long poem about them, Cataract of Lodore.

From near Cannon Dub striking view to the Skiddaw massif.

Stunning conditions on the board walk path crossing marshy ground at head of Derwent Water, the view the climbing cliffs of Shepherds Crag.

Skiddaw as seen from Great Bay, Derwent Water.

Walla Crag and Falcon Crag rise from the eastern shore of Derwent Water.

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