Great Crag (Stonethwaite) is a curious Wainwright, a pair of small rocky knolls in a sea of heather form the summit. From near the southern cairn Dock Tarn can be seen with the slopes of Ullscarf as the backdrop. The view from the northern cairn is of the hamlet of Watendlath with High Seat towering above. Dock Tarn makes for an ideal lunch spot, sheltered from the worst of the wind, after the steep climb from Stonethwaite. Such a delightful spot that you could picture AW with his pipe sat on a rock contemplating the scenery.
The small hamlet of Watendlath is always worth a visit, it has public conveniences and a tea room both of which are open in the summer. Fold Head Farm house was used by Hugh Walpole as the fictional setting of Judith Paris - the second book in his "Herries Chronicles" series.
If you feel like you need to burn off some excess energy after tea and cake, on the way back over Puddingstone Bank you could make a diversion to Grange Fell which is not far from the path and is detailed here in step 5. Though leaving it for another day does give an excuse to come back to this lovely area, should you need any!
The walk starts in the Borrowdale village of Rosthwaite where there is a National Trust pay and display car park. The Honister Rambler also goes through the village during the summer months.
Walk height profile
note that gradients are usually grossly exaggerated
From the National Trust car park turn left out of the entrance to return to the Borrowdale road. Turn left and then almost immediately right towards the Hazel Bank Hotel.
Cross the bridge over Stonethwaite Beck, and again almost immediately turn right onto a narrow little path signposted "public bridleway Stonethwaite" - this is part of the Cumbria Way. The turning on the right for Stonethwaite is soon reached, but ignore it and continue ahead through the gate with the interesting catch.
Not long after the gate 200m (220 yards) bear left at a footpath marker post with a circular sheepfold just above.
Keep left across the fellside, through bracken, in a steepening traverse. Cross the wall by the stone stile and continue on the path up through the woods, a couple of cairns confirm the way, to a step stile in the wall - there's a dog gate here to make life easy. Follow the stone pitched path upwards into steep zigzags.
Eventually reaching the top of the zigzags on Lingy End the trees are left behind and the views open out. The climbing is not yet finished, but that's the steep bit done. Onward along the path through heather, a small waterfall appears feeding from Dock Tarn into Willygrass Gill.
Bear left, and then right, before going left again to another step stile - with dog gate. Continue on the clear path to the tarn which appears quite suddenly surrounded by rocky knolls and boggy little combes.
At the far end of the tarn is a promontory sticking out into the water which is a fine little spot for a bite to eat. Reaching the end of the tarn and a surprising patch of grass amongst the heather, notice the small pile of stones, almost a cairn. Turn left here to follow a faint path more sheep trod than human path, but you will likely find bootprints occasionally.
As this shallow gully between heathery knolls opens out keep right around a boggy patch. Turn right into another 'lane' with high ground on both sides, Great Crag summit is up to your left. Cross the river or marshy ground at a suitable place and head up through the heather and knolls to the summit cairn perched on a rocky outcrop.
Ahead to the north is another prominent cairn, cross the small col to visit it. Return back to the col and turn left on the small path dropping back left, sort of NNE to rejoin the path to Watendlath. Reaching the stone pitched path bear left to continue the descent.
Drop to and go through the kissing gate next to the beck. In 100m (110 yards) bear right to remain on the path round a marshy area. Notice the bog myrtle next to the path amongst the bracken and bog cotton - it's the long oval grey/green leafed low bush; crush a leaf for a lovely resinous fragrance. A couple of green topped marker posts appear placed by the National Trust who want people to stick to the path. Bear right beside the sign to go through the gate.
Continue on the path down through the field. At the bottom bear left to go through a gate and enter a lane between fields.
Follow the lane down to the junction of bridleways beside Watendlath Tarn.
To visit Watendlath, bear right, go through the kissing gate, and again right over the packhorse bridge to the village.
The tearoom is well known for its cakes...
Return to the tarn and reaching the junction from earlier keep right signposted "Public Bridleway, Rosthwaite". Climb up the rough track to Puddingstone Bank and over the other side. Go through the gate and the path now starts to descend. Follow it down, steeply in places. In front of a line of Scots pine the path bears left.
Drop down to the signpost and turn right through the gate, again signposted "Public Bridleway, Rosthwaite". Follow the zigzags down through the enclosure to another gate at the bottom left.
Go through into the lane to pop out at the entrance to the Dinah Hoggus Camping Barn. Bear left and then reaching the road turn right to go across the bridge over Stonethwaite Beck. At the Borrowdale road, turn left and then right back to the car park.
If you like this walk then why not try one of our other nearby walks:
|Millican Dalton's Cave - Castle Crag, Borrowdale||14m (15 yards) away|
|Castle Crag - Borrowdale||14m (15 yards) away|
|Eagle Crag, Sergeant's Crag and Ullscarf||1.1km (0.7 miles) away|
|Skinny Dipping in Blackmoss Pot||1.1km (0.7 miles) away|
|The Glaramara Wainwrights||1.6km (1.0 miles) away|
|A Short Walk to The Bowder Stone||2.0km (1.2 miles) away|
|Lodore Falls, Watendlath, Grange Fell, and the Bowder Stone circular||2.0km (1.2 miles) away|
|Scafell Pike from Seathwaite via the Corridor Route||3.4km (2.1 miles) away|
|Base Brown, Green Gable, Great Gable and Seathwaite Fell||3.5km (2.2 miles) away|
|Grey Knotts and Brandreth circular from Honister||3.5km (2.2 miles) away|
|A Short Stroll to Lodore Falls||4.7km (2.9 miles) away|
|A Short Walk From Ashness Bridge to High Seat||4.9km (3.0 miles) away|
Unless otherwise stated the text in this walk is the copyright of Hug Solutions Ltd trading as The Hug and the photographs are the copyright of Elizabeth Oldham. Hill data is derived from Database of British and Irish hills which is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License. Maps contains Ordnance Survey data © Crown copyright and database right 2011 and paths © OpenStreetMap Contributors,CC-BY-SA, 2011