Dock and Watendlath Tarns above Borrowdale.

Start. Rosthwaite.

Route. Rosthwaite - Cumbria Way - Stonethwaite Bridge - Lingy End - Green Combe - Dock Tarn - Watendlath Tarn - Bracken Platt - Puddingstone Bank - Birkett's Leap - Hazel Bank - Rosthwaite.

Notes. Heather clad moorland, rocky tors and grass covered mounds, plus two diamonds held in the palm of the mountains rocky hand, Dock and Watendlath Tarns, their mirrored surfaces reflect the spirit of the sky and brooding mountain scenery. This was a contrasting walk, starting with a wander through the sylvan beauty of Borrowdale, before ascending through ancient oak woods, an open doorway into the stark beauty of the high moorland.

Well I didn't expect that, I stepped from the car in Rosthwaite to be greeted by a misty morning, cloud drifting down the valley wrapping its cold tentacles around trees and farm buildings, dry stone walls and Castle Crag. The drive up had been through heavy rain and thick fog, Keswick greeted me with blue skies, as I passed through the Jaws of Borrowdale the vale came down, the temperature plunged as the car windows misted up, I knew right there and then it was going to be a good day.

I left Rosthwaite village via the path to Watendlath, after a few yards I crossed Stonethwaite Beck. Ignoring the route to Watendlath I turned right, a finger-post promised passage to Grasmere via Greenup Edge, I wasn't going that far but I was heading in that direction. Along the banks of Stonethwaite Beck I wandered, dry stone walls keeping me on track, this is an ancient route, a main artery of old, it now marks the route of the Cumbria Way.

Beneath the sylvan slopes of Heron Crag I passed, followed by the oddly named Huddleston's Shop before reaching a sheep fold on a grassy mound, this marked the point I left the valley ascending through sheep pastures. I entered the oak woods on Lingy End to be greeted by as steep path, a leg burner of a climb followed before I popped out of the tree cover by the ruins of a peat hut, or could this be Huddleston's Shop? Ill have to google it.

Through high moor land I climbed, easy now the waters of Willygrass Gill for company, when the path swung left into a high valley I got my first glimpse of Dock Tarn. Perfect reflections across it's still surface, a little rocky island in the centre home to Rowan and Birch trees the cherry on the cake. This was a place to hang around and I did, just drinking in the atmosphere, today was special, I made the best of it.

All good things come to an end, I moved on, a steep descent deposited me at a gate allowing access to a vast tract of wet land, I passed through then spent the next twenty minutes bog hopping. Large boulders aided my crossing of the worst bits, when I reached dry ground I was almost at Watendlath Tarn. Another gem but not like Dock Tarn, this has a car park, coffee shop, fishing boats and green fields, a manicured landscape. This is where the people usually are, but not today I had the place to myself, I again stopped, sat on the shore and soaked up the scene.

Sufficiently absorbed in fine scenery I joined the main trod back to Rosthwaite, another wander over a route of old followed before I found myself descending back into Borrowdale, the mist had vanished revealing views to the really big hills of Lakeland. Fine mountains hiding some lovely bodies of water but not gems, not diamonds in the palm of the mountains rocky hand.

view route map.


Welcome to a misty out of focus Borrowdale.

Heading into Stonethwaite the Cumbria Way under foot.

Stonethwaite Beck with the Borrowdale Fell looking quite imposing through a misty morning.

Looking over the sheep pastures of Borrowdale to sylvan High Doat with High Scawdel rising behind.

Viewing the lower slopes of Bessyboot from the Cumbria Way approaching Stonethwaite Bridge.

The ragged heights of Eagle Crag seen from near the sheepfold mentioned in the text above.

Nestled under a cold blanket of cloud, Stonethwaite with High Scawdel dominating the horizon.

Ascending to Dock Tarn looking back to Great Gable and Base Brown, Brandreth and Grey Knotts.

The mirrored surface of Dock Tarn and tiny island that sets it apart from the rest....

....the surface captures the spirit of the sky and the moorland landscape it nestles amongst.

Dwarfed by the landscape, Watendlath and it's tarn.

A polished gem in a mountain setting.

Looking to Black Waugh with the slightly lighter Great Crag to the right, I descended the coll between the two to get here.

Views over Borrowdale from near Resting Stone, High Scawdel and High Spy with Dale Head rising through the gap.

Green fields and shining levels, the stunning Borrowdale landscape.

The scene over Borrowdale, High Doat and the cliffs of High Scawdel with Great Gable melting into the haze top left.

The riven cliffs of Goat Crag plunge into the Jaws of Borrowdale.

Castle Crag and the Goat Crag face of Low Scawdel as seen from near Hazel Bank.

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