Walk: Castle Crag

Map for ascent of Castle CragThis is one of the classic shorter walks in the Lake District, visiting Castle Crag, a minor peak, but in a fantastic location at the mouth of Borrowdale, and with views deep into the valley and along Derwent Water towards Keswick.

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

We start at the National Trust car park in Rosthwaite.

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Turn right out of the car park and follow the track that leads out of the village and towards the River Derwent.
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Derwent at RosthwaiteThis track brings us to a set of stepping stones that cross the river. Head across the stepping stones (if the water isn't too high), then turn right and follow the riverside path. If the stepping stones aren't usable, turn right on the near side of the river and follow a track to the New Bridge, crossing the river there instead.

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Woods on Castle CragContinue on along the river for about 600 feet, until the path turns left to skirt around a very wet field. Follow this path until it turns right to head back towards the river. At this point leave the riverside path and take the clear path that climbs up the hillside towards the trees that blanket Castle Crag.

Borrowdale from Castle CragFollow this path through the trees. Ignore the route shown on OS maps - the actual path curves to the left, crosses a wall and reaches a shoulder of open level ground to the south of Castle Crag. Follow the path across the open ground to a stile at the northern tip of the field.

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Spoil Heap on Castle CragAn obvious path lead up to the summit of Castle Crag, zig-zaging up the front of the spoil heap created by the quarry near the top. Follow this path to the edge of the quarry.
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Quarry on Castle CragThe actual path to the summit doesn't visit the quarries, but instead passes around their right, heading up to the small summit plateau along an artifical ridge created by the Castle Crag War Memorialexcavations (it is well worth exploring the quarries). The summit contains the Borrowdale War Memorial, and is a fantastic viewpoint, but it is also a dead-end, so after you have finished here retrace your steps down the spoil heap.

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At the base of the spoil heap pass the stile you crossed earlier and instead use a second stile a bit further along the wall. Follow this path from this stile south west towards the path that runs west of Castle Crag.
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Castle Crag from the southTurn left onto this path, with the valley to our left and the slopes of High Spy to our right. Follow this path as it curves around into the valley of Tongue Gill.

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We follow this path as it curves right, heading up the valley of Tongue Gill. Eventually the path passes through a gate and reaches the stream. Cross the stream via a ford just beyond the stream, and then turn left onto a path that runs down the right-hand bank of the gill. Follow this path all the way down to the River Derwent.

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This path brings us down to the river between the New Bridge and the stepping stones. Turn left to reach the New Bridge or right to reach the stepping stones, cross the river and then return to Rosthwaite.