Sylvan Borrowdale.

Start. Grange.

Route. Grange - Holmecrag Wood - Dalt Wood - Castle Crag - Tongue Ghyll - Caleclose Gill - High Doat - Folly Bridge - Longthwaite - New Bridge - High House Wood - Low House Wood - Holmecrag Wood - Grange.

Notes. I took a wander today in one of the most beautiful valleys in Lakeland, as old Wainwright described it "a pageant of beauty from end to end”, and what better place to enjoy the show than Castle Crag, at 951ft the lowest summit on the Wainwright list. To the south of Castle Crag appearing on no list High Dout, ignored by most walkers this unassuming little hill with it's many rocky outcrops gifts those who can be bothered to climb it with wonderful views over Borrowdale into Stonethwaite and Seathwaite, valleys closed by the real giants of Lakeland, Great End, Great Gable and Base Brown, the formidable Eagle Crag and boggy Ullscarf, and to the north the Jaws of Borrowdale, the narrow gap where road, river and foot-paths squeeze, a perfect portal into a valley time almost forgot.

My day started in Grange on land purchased in some dodgy land deal by the monks of Furness Abbey a couple of centuries ago, it's a beautiful place, a perfect curtain raiser for what lies around the corner. I followed the lane leading to Hollows Farm before turning left onto a rough track, this guided me to the River Derwent, a quiet oasis at this time of day, the day trippers have yet to arrive. I turned my back on the river ascending an old minors track climbing between the shear cliffs of Goat Crag and Castle Crag, almost at the top of the rise a path on the left ushered me to the summit of Castle Crag, the steep climb over shifting slate spoil was well worth the effort.

After soaking up the views I re-traced my steps back to the quarry track, this track adopted by the Allerdale Ramble gifted me with stunning views over the whole of Borrowdale until I reluctantly left it to ascend High Doat, another excuse to stop and drink in the views, plenty of comfy perches up here and I had the hill to myself. When I eventually made a move it was to descend towards Johnny Wood, I avoided the wood swinging to the right descending paths that deposited me on another good path, this one's been adopted by the Cumbria Way and made for excellent river bank rambling back to Grange.

view route map.


Goat Crag seen from Dalt Wood.

The River Derwent looking north.

An icing sugar day on the Skiddaw massif, views taken from the quarry track cutting between the steep slopes of Goat Crag and Castle Crag.

Breath-taking views from the summit of Castle Crag, Derwent Water backed by Skiddaw.

The cliff, scree and wooded face of King's How as seen from Castle Crag.

What a place to be remembered, the brave men of Borrowdale never forgotten on the summit of Castle Crag.

This could be you, soaking up grand views from this mere pimple of an hill.

It may be low in stature but views don't come much better than this.

On the Allerdale Ramble viewing Castle Crag and the Skiddaw massif.

Great Crag seen over Borrowdale with snow capped Helvellyn rising behind.

Looking back to Castle Crag and King's How, combine to form the Jaws of Borrowdale.

Ascending High Doat, looking to Grey Knotts rising above Honister.

Views taken over Seathwaite, closing the head of the valley, Seathwaite Fell backed by Great End.

Drinking in the views from High Doat, under snow from left to right, Base Brown, Great Gable and Grey Knotts.

Stonethwaite sandwiched between the steep slopes and snow covered summit of Ullscarf and the cliffs of Rosthwaite Fell.

Once off the fell my route passed along the edge of Johnny Wood en route to the banks of the River Derwent.

Months of heavy weather have washed the river bed clean, it's a delight to peer into these deep pools.

The River Derwent looking to Rosthwaite Fell.

Seen from the banks of the River Derwent, the Borrowdale face of High Spy, Goat Crag, High Steel Knott and Low Scawdel.

Again from the banks of the river, seen over the sylvan slopes of High Doat, High Scawdel.

The stepping stones at Rosthwaite.

The River Derwent looking to King's How.

Views over Stang Dub, dominating the scene Rosthwaite Fell and mighty Eagle Crag with Stonethwaite Fell rising to the left.

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