Sunday, 20 August 2017

Castle Crag from Rosthwaite

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Route: Rosthwaite, Cumbria Way, New Bridge, Lingy Bank, Castle Crag, High Hows Wood, Cumbria Way, Rosthwaite

Date: 20/08/2017
From: Rosthwaite

Parking: Rosthwaite
Start Point: Rosthwaite
Region: Central Fells

Route length: 2.7 miles (4.3 km)
Time taken: 01:33
Average speed: 1.7 mph
Ascent: 255m
Descent: 261m

Wainwrights on this walk:
Castle Crag (290m)

Other Summits: None

This walk takes place within one of the 'loveliest square miles of Lakeland', according to Wainwright. The square mile, in this case, is the Jaws of Borrowdale and our fell for the day - Castle Crag. Though the smallest of Wainwright's 214 fells, it's certainly not one that should be overlooked.

The ascent of Castle Crag from the National Trust car park in Rosthwaite offers some moderate challenges but the 1 1/2 mile walk to the summit can be achieved in an hour without hurrying. It provides wonderful views over some of the prettiest scenes in the Lake District.
Castle Crag
We actually ended up parking in the car park of the Scafell Hotel as the National Trust car park was already full. We set off, passing the village tea rooms to follow a track between stone walls. We soon found ourselves alongside the River Derwent, on the Cumbria Way. The river needs to be crossed and can be achieved by means of stepping stones or via New Bridge, a beautiful single arch stone bridge, a short distance further along the path.
Grange Fell
The Cumbria Way as it leads out of Rosthwaite
Castle Crag
New Bridge over the River Derwent
After crossing the river, we left the Cumbria Way, passing through a gate into open fields/ The way ahead gate leads across a field to a stile at its top end and continues up the slopes of Lingy Bank.
High Hows Wood shields Castle Crag
Heading for Lingy Bank

Hazy views along Stonethwaite
Johnny Wood and Rosthwaite Fell
Low Scawdel
Great End at the head of Grains
After cutting across a marsh, we reached the base of a large spoil heap. From below, the spoil heap looks like a treacherous pile of loose stones; but a well-beaten path winds its way up the mound. It is the waste from a quarry which is found on Castle Crag's summit.
Castle Crag comes into view
Approaching the spoil heap
The path winds up the slope
The path is short but steep, wasting no time getting to the top of the pile and back onto true terra firma. This is the most interesting part of the walk, for you begin to pass through weird piles of slate, creating bizarre formations, sticking out at all angles. The views into Stonethwaite from the top of the spoil heap are tremendous.
Borrowdale from the top of the slate pile
The top of Castle Crag stands above the old quarry, accessed by a winding path through the trees. The summit area is believed to have been an ancient hill fort. The very highest point is a rock outcrop with a memorial to Borrowdale men killed in World War I is affixed to the side. This time, the views along Derwentwater to Skiddaw are the highlight.
The quarry atop Castle Crag
The quarry once again
...and one more for good measure
A closeup of Low Scawdel
The quarry and curious slate creations
The summit outcrop
Derwentwater and Skiddaw
Looking over the quarry into Borrowdale
Kings How
We began our return to Rosthwaite by skidding back down the slate pile to the bottom, this time picking up the path which heads into the woods towards the River Derwent. A series of stone steps carry the path most of the way until it reaches the Cumbria Way by the riverside. From here, it's a simple case of following the Cumbria Way and retracting the route back to Rosthwaite.
The River Derwent and the Cumbria Way
The Cumbria Way leading back into Rosthwaite