Typically the third section of the Cumbria Way. It is a long day at nearly 28.0km (17.4 miles) with a climb to
The section starts by the hotel at Dungeon Ghyll, which is usually called the New Dungeon Ghyll Hotel, as opposed to the Old Dungeon Ghyll Hotel which is 1.0km (0.6 miles) further into the Langdale valley. In practise the start of this section is from wherever you manage to find accommodation as this is a popular place for walkers and climbers, and even the National Trust campsite gets fully booked at weekends long in advance.
The route avoids a little road walking by taking a rough path between the two hotels following above the intake wall. Then a better path heads into Mickleden which is a classic U shaped glacial valley. A steep climbs up stone pitched, and rough paths to Stake Pass gives a real sense of mountain remoteness. Poor weather here needs to be taken seriously. Descending well engineered zigzags drop down the other side of the pass into Langstrath - meaning the long valley - from where more rough walking is required before you get to Borrowdale. Conveniences, and a tearoom in Rosthwaite may be well needed by then. The onward journey to Keswick now being easier for walkers more familiar with the lowlands.
Apart from taking the bus directly out of Langdale there is little scope for an escape from the route until reaching the Borrowdale valley and the road at Rosthwaite. The Honister Rambler goes in both directions to Keswick. If you make it to Derwent Water a passing launch may be hailed.
Walk height profile
note that gradients are usually grossly exaggerated
Head up through the car park to the information board and keep going. Beyond it follow the path round the back of the hotel through the gates, and then left towards Stickle Ghyll. Head up past the National Trust sign, and then in a few metres under the tree turn left up a wide rough path alongside the wall to go through the kissing gate ahead. Keep ahead and follow the path above the wall to the left to the Old Dungeon Ghyll Hotel.
Keep above the buildings of the hotel and go through the far gate. Follow the rough track through a couple of gates into Mickleden - which is the right branch where Great Langdale has been split in two by The Band of Bowfell.
Remain on the track which becomes very rough.
As you come up to the headwall, pass a sheepfold then bear slightly left to cross a small beck via stepping stones and Stake Gill by the wooden footbridge.
In a few more metres in front of the cairn turn right onto a narrow path through the bracken to join the bottom of a section of stone pitched path. This steepens, and the climb alongside Stake Gill to your right begins in earnest. The view is opening out down the valley behind you so is a good excuse to look back and take a breather - even on a misty day it can be very atmospheric. Zigzags ease the gradient.
Above the zigzags the path levels out, keep to the path and bear right across the beck at a shallow ford and continue on the well worn path along the side of Langdale Combe. It meanders through the knotted ground around the edge of the combe to a staggered crossroads.
Where the path seems to turn 90° right, look for a cairn to the left. Turn left to it crossing a boggy patch by the stepping stones, ignore the path veering left and keep right.
The path starts to descend gradually at first and Stake Beck appears to your right. The beck carves a deepening ravine, and the descent steepens. Langstrath is lain before you with the beck meandering around the valley floor.
The path enters a series of fine built zigzags, a quite distinctive construction. At the bottom cross a wooden footbridge, but ignore the one to the left - unless camping at Stonethwaite.
Continue ahead on the very rough path. Occasionally it is lost over rocky ground; just keep ahead. Aim to the right of a bow in the beck. Just beyond where fencing crosses the beck is the secluded Black Moss Pot which gets busy with swimmers in the summer.
Climb the ladder stile or go through the two gates, and keep to the right of the beck and fence past the Pot.
Keep ahead, north east, and to the right of the beck and fence. Again the path is occasionally lost in rocky ground. Below Blea Rock - a large crag, the boulders get a little tiresome.
Go through a gate continuing ahead, cross a marshy patch to the footbridge over Greenup Gill and go over it to join the Greenup Edge path.
Turn left on to the Greenup Edge path to head north west.
Nearing Stonethwaite you go through more gates as the fellside is used as fields. At Stonethwaite Bridge you have a last chance to head for the campsite in the village there.
Continue ahead on the track to Rosthwaite. Turn left to cross Rosthwaite Bridge opposite the Hazel Bank Hotel to the Borrowdale road.
At the Borrowdale Road near Rosthwaite, turn left and then first right. Public toilets are just up this road a little, and a tearoom at the farm. Continue through the farm buildings keeping right to leave them behind on a rough track. Castle Crag can be seen across the fields to your right.
Follow the track round to the right and then left across New Bridge to turn right again. When presented with two gates go through the one on the right. Follow the path alongside the River Derwent. Pass the old quarries and along the edge of a spoil heap. Go through the gap in the wall and immediately turn right, and then swing left.
After following the river a little at a short rise turn right through a rocky gap signposted "Grange". Go along the track through campsite grounds to reach the tarmac road.
The village of Grange is 500m (550 yards) to the right, but the Way goes left to Hollows Farm and cottages. So turn left up to the farm, go through the gate into the yard and bear right between buildings, and then slightly left to a track and another gate. Going through the gate turn right along the field edge and swing left.
Reaching a gate marked High Close, go through the field gate to the right. Bear right and soon swing left on the pathway. As you descend through the rough field bear slightly right to exit through a gate onto the road between Grange and Borrowdale Gates Hotel. Turn left and pass the hotel on your right. After nearly 600m (660 yards) bear right along a muddy track signposted "Public Footpath" with Ella Beck trickling alongside to your right. Derwent Water is now ahead with views to the central fells.
Go through the gate the far end of the field and continue along the path to the next gate. Going through immediately bear left then in 50m (55 yards) or so bear slightly right across rough ground to pick up the short sections of boardwalk over the marshy patches heading northwards along the west bank of Derwent Water.
Keep following the path through Manesty Park. Turning away from the water for a while you reach a cottage in the woods, turn right onto the track signposted "Abbots Bay". Keep left and go through the next gate signposted "National Trust path Brandlehow and Keswick". Bear right in front of the house to head back to the lake shore at Brandlehow Bay.
On the other side of the small bay bear left on a path through gorse and climb up alongside the fence to a gate on your right. Go through, cross the small knoll and down the steps to the path.
Keep right to follow the path through Brandelhow Park beside the lake shore. There are a number of picnic benches along the way. "Entrust" can be found here too. At the end of the park go through the gate in the wall. Ignore the path straight ahead but bear left to a gateway, you'll end up here anyway.
Continue through the gate and across the grounds below the Hawse End Centre. The path climbs to the road and pedestrian gate. Turn right onto the road, following it for just 80m (88 yards) to a wooden gate on the right. On the opposite side of the road beside the parking place is a fairly well hidden footpath sign to "Portinscale 1½miles".
Go though the gate on to path through rhododendron and mixed woodlands. The path drops down to cross a bridge and gate.
Continue on the path across the field, interestingly called The Park on the OS 25K map, to the next gate. Go through and continue straight ahead through a corner of Overside Wood. Bear left in front of the cottages, and reaching the private drive to Lingholm, bear left and then very shortly right. A signpost declares Portinscale 1 mile and Keswick 2 miles.
In a few metres as the track splits bear left. Nichol End Marina is to the right. Meander through more rhododendron and trees in Fawe Park to the Newlands Valley road. Turn right and continue along the pavement and roadside into Portinscale.
As the road turns left bear right down past the Derwent Hotel to cross the delightful suspension bridge over the River Derwent. In a little over 100m (110 yards) bear right into a fenced pathway across fields to Keswick. Coming out to the road turn right across Greta Bridge and then continue ahead into Keswick town centre.
If you like this walk then why not try one of our other nearby walks:
|A Journey from Dungeon Ghyll over the Fells to Ambleside||20m (22 yards) away|
|High Raise, Sergeant Man, and Blea Rigg from Langdale||31m (34 yards) away|
|The Langdale Pikes: Pavey Ark, Thunacar Knott, Pike of Stickle, Harrison Stickle||60m (66 yards) away|
|Crinkle Crags||0.8km (0.5 miles) away|
|Lingmoor Fell and Side Pike||0.8km (0.5 miles) away|
|Bowfell, via Worneyside Force, Hell Gill, and the Great Slab||0.9km (0.5 miles) away|
|Rossett Pike, Angle Tarn, Esk Pike and Bowfell||0.9km (0.5 miles) away|
|Blea Tarn above Langdale||2.1km (1.3 miles) away|
|Waterfalls and the Cathedral Cavern, from Elterwater||3.7km (2.3 miles) away|
|An Elterwater Stroll||3.7km (2.3 miles) away|
|Cold Pike and Pike of Blisco||4.0km (2.5 miles) away|
|Great Carrs and Grey Friar||4.1km (2.6 miles) away|
|Allan Bank Woodland Walk||4.2km (2.6 miles) away|
|Silver How||4.3km (2.7 miles) away|
|Stone Arthur, Great Rigg, Heron Pike and Nab Scar||4.4km (2.7 miles) away|
|A circuit of Grasmere||4.4km (2.7 miles) away|
|Alcock Tarn||4.4km (2.7 miles) away|
|Easedale Tarn||4.4km (2.8 miles) away|
|Helm Crag||4.4km (2.8 miles) away|
|Steel Fell, Calf Crag, Gibson Knott and Helm Crag||4.4km (2.8 miles) away|
|Grasmere and Rydal Water||4.5km (2.8 miles) away|
|Easedale Tarn, Codale Tarn, and Tarn Crag||4.6km (2.8 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