Watendlath, Ashness Bridge and Lodore Falls from Rosthwaite.

Start. Rosthwaite in Borrowdale.

Route. Rosthwaite - Hazel Bank - Puddingstone Bank - Watendlath - Moss Mire - Hogs Earth - Ashness Wood - Surprise View - Ashness Bridge - Ashness Gate - Barrow Bay - Kettlewell - Lowcrag Wood - Lodore Falls - Great Bay - Grange - Holmcrag Wood - Low Hows Wood - High Hows Wood - New Bridge - Rosthwaite.

Notes. It's that time of year, winter begins to creep over our shoulders, icy tentacles crawling slow at first before taking hold, it's unstoppable march from the north of Scotland, slowly folding the landforms of the English Lake District in it's icy cloak. But first we have Autumn with it's golden gown, the landscape dressed in it's Sunday best, and what better place to enjoy a blaze of russets, gold's and opaque yellows than sylvan Borrowdale, one of the most beautiful valleys in England. A thought as I left Rosthwaite in Borrowdale this morning, the smell, damp hay also epitomises this time of year, as does mist in the valley bottoms, they go together like strawberry's and cream, today I had it all, yes god was in his heaven as I ascended the path to Watendlath, the valley was on fire, a blaze of colour reaching almost to the highest summits.

Under Birkett's Leap I wandered, ascending Puddingstone Bank before a stoney descent to the mountain oasis of Watendlath. From this tiny hamlet tucked away in the folds of Borrowdale I followed the path on the west bank of Watendlath Beck. Under Ether Knott and Caffel Side I wandered, passed Brown Dodd and into Moss Mire before accessing the oddly named Hogs Earth. From Hogs Earth I trod the path signed Keswick, crossed a wooden foot-bridge before entering woodland of oak and birch, a good track guided me to Surprise View (not named on the map). I knew what to expect but approaching from this side was a surprise for me, and I've been here many times. From Surprise View the narrow tarmac lane ushered me to Ashness Bridge. You'll have seen pictures of this quaint pack horse bridge many times on biscuit tins and mint-cake rappers, coasters and table mats, take a look under your plate. Popularity comes at a price, it was very busy, I busied myself down the lane to the jetty at Ashness Gate, another photogenic gem, this will be on the table-mat on the next table, have a quick look I dare you.

With Derwent Water for company I wandered along the lake shore, the vistas over the lake to Cat Bells are stunning, take a look on the table behind you, it's your last chance. The path followed the lake away from the road before swinging back to meet it at Kettlewell, I crossed said road, a finger-post announced I'd reached the path to Lodore Falls. Once at the fall, the obligatory photos over I passed behind the Lodore Hotel to join a path signed Manesty, this excellent trod guided me over duck boards avoiding the marshy ground that guards the foot of Derwent Water, after turning left at Great Bay I reached the narrow lane leading into Grange. From Grange a finger-post invited me to Castle Crag, along a tarmac lane I walked before turning left at another finger-post ( Rosthwaite and Seatoller). I'm now walking with the ghosts of long dead quarry men, in the foot fall of many a hobnail boot that has trod this path before me. This ancient quarry track ushered me through the Jaws of Borrowdale, the narrow pass between Castle Crag and Grange Fell, passed old mine workings I wandered before reaching New Bridge, I forded the river to start the short walk back to Rosthwaite.

view route map.


Through a window in the cloud, Puddingstone Bank my gateway to Watendlath.

The cliffs of High Scawdel and the Low Scawdel face of High Spy seen from the path to Watendlath.

A cloak of cloud rests over Borrowdale, filling the gap between High Scawdel and Low Scawdel the shapely summit of Dale Head.

A wonderful show of Autumn glory on the ascent of Puddingstone Bank.

Gain a little more height and the giants at the head of Borrowdale tilt into view, Base Brown and Great Gable with Grey Knotts to the right.

Ascending Puddingstone Bank with this Autumnal view behind me.

Watendlath Tarn with views to Great Crag.

Watendlath Beck, the waters of which feed Lodore Falls, the next mile and a bit I'll be walked in it's company.

Passing below Caffel Side, a landscape of golden birch and shattered rock.

Looking to Reecastle Crag from the edge of Moss Mire.

Breath-taking vistas to Skiddaw over island studded Derwent Water, seen from Surprise View. This stunning view point is easily reached by car, but it's far better to approach on foot.

Drinking in views to Cat Bells.

Visited by many, photographed by many more, Ashness Bridge and a classic view to Skiddaw.

The jetty at Ashness Gate with views over Derwent Water.

Stunning views over Derwent Water with the Vale of Keswick under a thick blanket of cloud.

The imposing cliffs of Falcon Crag rise above the tree line, as seen from Barrow Bay.

The scene over Derwent Water, Maiden Moor and the Jaws of Borrowdale.

Tumbling over a jumble of moss covered boulders in a sylvan gorge, Lodore Falls.

The high skyline is Shepherds Crag, seen from the path traversed at the foot of Derwent Water.

Viewing Cat Bells over Great Bay.

The scene over Great Bay and Derwent Water, reaching across the skyline the Skiddaw massif.

En route to Grange, looking to the slopes of Maiden Moor.

The River Derwent looking north.

On view from the banks of the River Derwent near Stang Dub, the shadowed face of Eagle Crag with the long ridge of Ullscarf in sunlight to the left.

The stepping Stones at Rosthwaite.

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