Walk through Borrowdale.

Start. Grange.

Route. Grange - Gowde Dub - Broadslack Gill - Castle Crag - Tongue Gill - Scaleclose Gill - High Doat - Johnny Wood - Longthwaite - New Bridge - Rosthwaite - Resting Stone - Frith Wood - Red Brow - Borrowdale Road - Bowder Stone - Queyfoot Quarry - Grange Bridge - Grange.

Notes. Today it was raining, a lot, the fell forecast assured me it would last all day, so as not to be disappointed I headed to Borrowdale, the wettest valley in England, did it live up to it's reputation? Yes, but even in the wet it's a charming place to ramble. I'd no intention of bagging any summits, my plan was to keep below the cloud base but who can resist the steep slopes and crumbling slate of Castle Crag, not me.

Head down, hood up I left Grange, a finger-post next to Grange Café invited me to Castle Crag, a short walk over tarmac followed before swinging left onto a quarry track. With the ghost of hard rock miners for company I walked on avoiding many large puddles the best I could reaching the River Derwent at Gowde Dub. From Gowde Dub the waters of Broadslack Gill guided me up hill, a rough quarry track under foot. Under the cliffs of High Steel Knott and Goat Crag I climbed to reach a path junction, I left the quarry track to ascend Castle Crag. Needless to say the views were limited, the cloud was low, but it was still worth the effort.

Having had my fill of the summit I descended to re-join the track I'd just left, on I wandered across Tongue Gill then Scaleclose Gill, under the water drenched cliffs of Low and High Scawdel and Robin's Fold before leaving the track to ascend High Doat. Head down against the weather I crossed the summit before descending entering Johnny Wood to escape the tempest. The woodland path was a joy to descend, a delightful respite against the weather, it ejected me onto the banks of the River Derwent, with the river to guide me I wandered north passed Borrowdale Youth Hostel then on to New Bridge, I crossed said bridge to gain access to Rosthwaite and the path to Watendlath.

This path ascends Puddingstone Bank, I intended to leave it around Resting Stones descending through Frith Wood back to the road, I did just that, a leg burning climb just to avoid a length of level road walking followed, the descent through Frith Wood was a pleasure, stunning Autumnal colours and tumbling streams. Once back on the road I hunted for a path that would guide me to the Bowder Stone. This 2,000 ton glacial erratic stands in a state of delicate balance, I climbed it, the first time in over twenty years, it was just as I remembered, except wet. Views up the valley looked unfavourable, heavy rain was sweeping in over the valley head, with a sense of urgency in my step I marched back. Once back on the valley road a short walk followed to the twin arched Grange Bridge and my starting point.

view route map.


Looking to Netting Haws and Low White Rake from the tarmac lane guiding me out of Grange.

Grange Fell seen over Hollows Farm camp site.

Ascending in the shadow of High Steel Knott and Goat Crag, looking to Derwent Water and sylvan Walla Crag with the northern fells hidden under a vale of cloud.

The crumbling slopes of Castle Crag with views to Derwent Water.

On view the cliffs of Goat Crag from the ascent of Castle Crag.

Heading up Castle Crag with views over Borrowdale to Stonethwaite to take my mind off the weather.

The summit and a memorial to the heroes of Borrowdale.

The wooded slopes of High Doat backed by the spreading arms of Thornythwaite Fell and Rosthwaite Fell.

Even on a wet day the summit of Castle Crag provides a fine view point.

High Doat with the cliffs of Thornythwaite Fell, Capell Crag and Hind Crag melting into the murk.

Over the summit of High Doat, Rosthwaite Fell and Stonythwaite Fell with Glaramara under cloud.

Cliff, pine and scree, Castle Crag from the south.

Let the boulder strewn stream bed of Tongue Gill carry the eye into Rigghead.

Thorneythwaite Fell seen from Johnny Wood.

Looming out of the gloom, Base Brown.

The River Derwent a stones throw up stream from Borrowdale Youth Hostel.

Castle Crag on view from the Watendlath path.

En route to Frith Wood with this hazy view over Borrowdale for company.

The Bowder Stone, a glacial erratic, 30ft high, 50ft across, estimated to weigh 2,000 tons, if you wish you can climb it....

....as I did, As one of his Lake District ventures in 1798 Joseph Pocklington erected the first set of steps allowing visitors to reach its top, he also built a hermitage and erected a "druicial" standing stone near by.

View taken from the twin arched Grange Bridge, over the grey roof tops of Grange on an equally grey day the cliffs of Low Scawdel.

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