Castle Crag and High Doat from Grange in Borrowdale.

Start. Grange in Borrowdale.

Route. Grange - Holmcrag Wood - Dalt Wood - Castle Crag - Levery Gill - Tongue Gill - Scaleclose Gill - High Doat - Johnny Wood - Longthwaite Bridge - High Haws Wood - Low Hows Wood - Holmcrag Wood - Grange.

Notes. This was my second choice for today, I had originally planned to go much higher, the weather gods promised a real miserable day, low cloud, occasional thunder storms and heavy rain, not the kind of conditions to be caught on the high fells in. With this in mind I planned a wander over a couple of lesser heights rising from the Borrowdale Valley, some pleasant woodland strolling plus a river bank ramble, what better way to spend a wet day in Lakeland. Castle Crag closing the Jaws of Borrowdale, this massive slate plug coming in at under a 1,000ft would be the highlight today. Extensively quarried over the years, the High Hows Quarry in the western cliffs later achieved fame as the summer residence of Millican Dalton, the Borrowdale Cave Man, self styled Professor of Adventure, he lived there through the summer months until his death in 1947. In stark contrast my second summit was High Doat above Seatoller, it's several rocky tops guarded by boggy ground.

My day started in Grange wandering along the tarmac lane that lead to Hollows Farm, I left the tarmac at the first opportunity, a stoney lane carried me to the banks of the River Derwent, here in Dalt Wood the path forked, I followed the right fork ascending an old quarry track in the company of Broadslack Gill. Just before reaching the coll my route turned left, an obvious path passed a memorial plaque commemorating the life of Sir William Hamer. From the manorial I crossed a ladder stile before ascending through slopes of shifting quarry spoil, the short sharp climb saw me standing on the summit drinking in stunning views up and down the dale, to the south High Doat my next port of call. Re-tracing my steps to the quarry track I continued south, fording Lavery Gill, Tongue Gill and Scaleclose Gill where I left the track to ascend High Doat.

After crossing the summit I descended to the south, on reaching an obvious path junction I turned left to enter Johnny Wood, a wonderful tract of tranquil oak wood, not so one evening in 1942 when a Vickers Wellington DV 600 plunged out of the sky killing all on board, although most of the wreckage was removed there is still small piece's to be found if you care to look. On a good path I wandered between mature oak's before a steep descent passing an old water tank then on to a wooden gate, I stepped out of the woods, a short walk down the path lead to Longthwaite Bridge. Now on the banks of the picturesque River Derwent my route followed permissive paths and established rights of way, squeezing through the impressive Jaws of Borrowdale before reaching Grange.

view route map.


A small corner of Grange, situated at the entrance to the Jaws of Borrowdale, accessed by a splendid double arched bridge built in 1675, in medieval times the monks of Furness Abbey owned this part of the valley, they built an outlying farm or monastic grange.

Under cloud Maiden Moor seen from the lane to Hollows Farm.

Dalt Wood and the crystal clear waters of Broadslack Gill.

The memorial to Sir William Hamer, the seat was placed there in memory of his wife Agnes.

Teetering on shifting quarry spoil with stunning views across Borrowdale.

Views to Derwent Water from the summit of Castle Crag, the wall of rock across the skyline is Skiddaw, well it would be if you could see through the murk.

Seen over the summit the massive cliffs of Low Scawdel and Goat Crag, another memorial this one to William Hamer and the men of Borrowdale lost in the Great War, what a place to be remembered.

Looking to Eagle Crag above Stonethwaite, with the impressive wall of Greenup Edge rising into the Lakeland haze.

Views down my ascent route.

Looking to the high skyline of Great Crag and Knotts from the foot-bridge over Levery Gill.

Johnny Wood clings to the Borrowdale slopes of High Doat, with the dark profile of Eagle Crag in the distance.

Castle Crag seen from the slopes of High Doat.

Even on a grey day the views over Seathwaite are striking, let the ridge of Thornythwaite Fell carry the eye to a misty Glaramara.

The Jaws of Borrowdale, Castle Crag and Grange Fell.

Rising through the Seathwaite murk, Seathwaite Fell with the slopes of Base Brown to the right.

Heavy rain sweeps down Seathwaite.

With my back to Johnny Wood views to the sylvan slopes of Castle Crag and Grange Fell.

The River Derwent at Longthwaite Bridge.

Looking a bit precarious these days the stepping stones near Rosthwaite.

Standing in the shadow of Castle Crag looking to Eagle Crag, another ascent for another day.

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