Standing on Friar's Crag, just outside Keswick, looking south to the 'jaws of Borrowdale' the tooth that appears in the centre is Castle Crag. For something so relatively short in statue it has quite a character.
It seems that the fell was given to the nation, i.e. the National Trust, in two parts by the Hamer family. The summit area to the memory of John Hamer, who died in the First World War. And later the surrounding land was given by Agnes, in memory of her husband Sir William Hamer in 1939.
Castle Crag has been quarried extensively for slate, many of the sites now hidden amongst the trees. The summit quarry however is obvious, and quite surreal. Many fragments of slate have been stood pointed end upper-most in a disconcerting manner. Why? Who knows! One such quarry was used as a summer retreat by Millican Dalton in the early 20th century. He called himself the 'Professor of Adventure', and made a small amount of money from guided climbing and walking.
This walk takes you to find his cave and then goes on a little circular trek to the summit. There is no safe direct path between the two; dangerous ground lies in the way. It would be unwise to even try.
The starting point for this walk is the village of Rosthwaite which, according to a sign, is the social centre of Borrowdale. Parking is available at the National Trust P&D car park. The Honister Rambler bus service also passes through the village.
If you need accommodation we have details of 10 properties offering rooms near the start of this walk. Here are some examples:
Walk height profile
note that gradients are usually grossly exaggerated
Leave the car park and turn right to walk past the village hall, at the Flock Inn Tearoom keep right down a rough track skirting a farm yard. At the end of the lane bear right on the wide cobbled track with the river Derwent on your left. Cross the beck via New Bridge, and bear right. Reaching a pair of field gates got through the one the right keeping to the path with the beck now to your right. Let the path swing you left. Note the gate and path beyond climbing the fellside ahead as you swing right keeping to the rough stone path.
Keep a look out on the left hand side for a cave near the path. This wasn't Millican Dalton's home, which is above it. Continue along the path for about 50m (55 yards) or so and turn left on narrow path climbing steeply up behind the cave to a band of rock above it. Keep going up, scrambling, or scrabbling, over moss covered rock and climb the spoil heap ahead. Millican Dalton's cave is now ahead.
The entrance to the cave is a bit damp but inside is quite dry. If you have trouble finding the inscription Dont Waste Worrds Jump To Conclusions it is on the central pillar quite low down.
Take the gravel path down the left hand side of the spoil heap to return to the track at the bottom. Turn left at the signpost to go through the gap in the wall and turn right to descend slightly. Soon you find yourself alongside the River Derwent again. At the signpost just before the footbridge, turn left onto the bridleway to Seatoller and Honister. As you climb next to Broadslack Gill, look behind for the view to Skiddaw at the far end of Derwent Water.
Castle Crag is above the near vertical crags to your left. As the ground starts to open out, take the path sharp left, through the gap in the wall and climb to a stone stile. Go through and up to a ladder stile above and a step stile. Jessie got through under the fence just to the left. Spotting a path climbing left to right up the edge of the spoil heap take it to climb to the next level. Bear left to the path climbing steeply upward again through the jumble of slate spoil to the quarry.
Bear right to climb the only plausible band of grass zigzagging its way through the trees onto the summit area just above the quarry.
Return back down to the quarry and bear left, then right beside a small cairn descending through the slate spoil on the zigzag path. At the bottom continue ahead, cross the wall by the ladder stile - there are two stiles the lower one may be easier for a dog. Turn left and descend boggy grass slopes. A path materialises and joins a stone pitching to descend more steeply arriving back on the outward track at the gateway mentioned earlier.
Turn right on the track and follow it back over New Bridge, and on to Rosthwaite.
If you like this walk then why not try one of our other nearby walks:
|Castle Crag - Borrowdale||same start point|
|Dock Tarn, Great Crag, and Watendlath, from Rosthwaite||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 (3.1 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