Castle Crag from Rosthwaite

Map for Castle CragThis is one of the best short walks in the Lake District. In its three miles we walk alongside the River Derwent, climb through woodlands, take one of the most unusual of paths as it clambers up an old spoil heap, visit a perfect miniature summit with views of Borrowdale and Derwent Water and return across the open fellside at the foot of High Spy.

Ascent: 840ft/ 256m
Length: 3 miles/ 4.8km
Map: The English Lakes - North Western Area (OS Explorer Map Active) (OS Explorer Map Active)
Last Walked: 11 October 2007

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Starting at the National Trust car park in Rosthwaite, turn right and follow the track out of the village and towards the River Derwent.
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Derwent at RosthwaiteThere are two ways across the river. Here you will find a ford and a set of stepping stones. Cross over the stepping stones to the far side of the river (carefully!), then turn right along the riverside path. If you don't want to use the stepping stones, follow the track along the near bank of the river and cross over via the New Bridge.
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Woods on Castle CragContinue along the river bank, past the New Bridge, and around a right hand bend in the river. The main path follows the river for another 600 feet or so, then turns left at a small rocky outcropping, to skirt around a particularly wet field. Follow this path until it turns right to head back towards the river bank. At this point take the obvious path that climbs up the hillside towards the trees.

Borrowdale from Castle CragFollow this path as it climbs steeply through the trees. At the top of the trees the path deviates from the right of way shown on maps, which heads straight up the side of Castle Crag.

The actual path curves away to the left, crossing through a wall to reach more open ground on a shoulder of level ground south of Castle Crag. Follow this path across this open ground, until you reach a stile at the northern tip of the field.

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Spoil Heap on Castle CragFrom here the route to the top of Castle Crag is obvious. To the north is a spoil heap from the quarries at the top of the crag. A well made path zigzags up the front of the spoil heap. Take this path and climb up to the quarry.
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Quarry on Castle CragThe path to the summit never enters the quarry, passing to the right (the quarries are worth exploring, but as a diversion). Follow the path as it climbs around the right of Castle Crag War Memorialthe quarries, up to the small summit plateau. Here you will find the Borrowdale War Memorial, and an unusual summit cairn. This is a fine viewpoint, overlooking Derwent Water to the north and Borrowdale to the south.

One you have finished at the summit, retrace your steps down the spoil heap.

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At the base of the spoil heap ignore the stile you crossed earlier and take a second stile a bit further along the wall. Follow this path as it heads south west, descending slowly towards the big path that runs west of Castle Crag.
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Castle Crag from the southWe join this path at the top of its climb out of Borrowdale. Join it and continue in the same south-westerly direction as before, as it curves around the lower slopes of High Spy. This path is part of the Allerdale Ramble.

As this path curves around the hill there are two routes on. One continues to curve around the hill to the right, climbing gently as it goes. The other leaves the main path just before the curve becomes pronounced, and heads downhill towards Tongue Gill. If time is short take this lower route, otherwise follow the path as at curves right and up into the valley of Tongue Gill.

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As our path curves towards the Gill, another path comes into view climbing up the opposite bank. Our path passes through a gate just before reaching the banks of the gill. From here this is an excellent view up the valley of Tongue Gill to the pass at Wilson's Bield.

There is also a ford over the stream, just after the gate. Cross over and turn left onto the path that heads downhill back towards the floor of Borrowdale Follow this path all the way back to the River Derwent (in some parts it is a stony track, in others a pleasant grassy path). On the flat ground in the valley bottom it follows the Gill until it reaches the River Derwent.

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Here you have two choices. Either turn left, cross the New Bridge, then turn right and follow the track back to Rosthwaite, or turn left, and follow the river bank back to the stepping stones, cross over and return to the village.

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