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Route Summary:

A short but entertaining outing to the enigmatic Castle Crag with a detour to Millican’s Cave

This walk includes the Wainwright of Castle Crag

Distance
Ascent
Time
5.45 km 239 m A Couple of Hours

Calculate the time using Naismith’s Rule and factor in your own pace.

Start and Finish: Grange Methodist Church

View Facilities

Grange is home to a couple of small tea rooms but no public toilets or pubs.

View Hazards
 

The Castle Crag spoil heap can be slippery, particularly in descent.

Remember that we cannot outline every single hazard on a walk – it’s up to you to be safe and competent. Read up on Mountain Safety , Navigation and what equipment you’ll need.

Parking :
CA12 5UQ

Limited parking opposite Grange Methodist Church

Public Transport:

Stagecoach bus 78 from Keswick to Seatoller departs hourly, stopping at Grange Bridge. Times can vary during the summer and winter seasons.

Traveline for UK Public Transport

Weather Forecast:

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Walk to Castle Crag and Millican’s Cave from Grange Route Map and GPX Download

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Guidebooks:

Summits and Places on this Route

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Walk to Castle Crag and Millican’s Cave from Grange Details

While tiny in comparison to many of the Lakeland fells, Castle Crag is far too good to overlook. It is a prime example of a ‘Wainwright’ – a fell chosen not by metrics but by the enjoyment it gives to the walker. The ‘mountain’ is so small in fact that it is one of only two Wainwrights which aren’t included in Bill Birkett’s extensive list (the other being Mungrisdale Common).

Despite its lowly stature, Castle Crag is full of character and is an entertaining top to conquer thanks to its rugged approach. A trip to the summit is also short so makes it ideal for younger fell walkers or those who are pushed for time. Watching the sunset from the summit is a particular highlight. This route details the ascent from the village of Grange, at the entrance to Borrowdale.

Castle Crag and Millican’s Cave from Grange – Borrowdale Route Description

1 – The small hamlet of Grange lies to the north of Castle Crag and a small car park next to the church can entertain a handful of cars. From the car park, head into the centre of Grange, passing the tiniest of village greens. On your left, after the Grange Cafe, is a lane signposted Seatoller and Rosthwaite (NY 25277 17487).

2 – Follow the lane for around 0.5km. It’s a no through road so you shouldn’t encounter many cars. After 0.5km you will find a fingerpost directing you towards Castle Crag along a wide track (NY 24975 17092). The track passes a rudimentary campsite to your left then enters the woods along the River Derwent.

LD - Walk up Castle Crag and Millican's Cave from Grange

3 – Keeping left at any junctions, the path meets the flat, gravel bank of the river. Cross a small footbridge and then bear right alongside Broadslack Gill. You will begin to climb before crossing the stream once again. Continue climbing with the stream on your left.

LD - Walk up Castle Crag and Millican's Cave from Grange

4 – Castle Crag looms overhead as you follow the valley higher, you will be passing by below the summit. As you reach a large patch of scree, a path bears left across the grass (NY 24795 15843) then cuts back on itself underneath a craggy outcrop. Follow this path as it winds up to the base of a large spoil heap.

LD - Walk up Castle Crag and Millican's Cave from Grange

5 – A cairn at the foot of the spoil heap marks the start of the path. The climb is short but steep and can be quite slippery in places so care should be taken, especially if it is wet or icy. At the top of the spoil heap is the old quarry and a curious collection of standing stones.

6 – From the top of the spoil heap, bear right towards the trees then follow a path up the final grassy slopes to the summit. The summit is topped by a war memorial and has superb views along the length of Borrowdale.

7 – To continue the circuit, retrace your steps to the foot of the spoil tip then head south. You will find a path descending off to the left into Borrowdale (NY 24899 15786). Follow this path downhill through the woods until you reach a gate with a track beyond. Head through the gate and follow the track downhill towards the river, through another stand of trees.

8 – You will reach another which follows the course of the river. Turn left here and follow it alongside the River Derwent back towards Grange. At High Hows Quarry, you can take a detour to explore the cave where Millican Dalton lived for nearly 50 years.

After you leave the riverside track, look out for a cave to the left of the path (this is NOT Millican’s cave). 50m beyond the cave is a narrow path on your left that climbs steeply behind the cave to a band of rock, keep scrambling up the spoil heap where you will see Millican’s cave ahead, marked by a National Trust sign. See if you can find his inscription inside the cave.

9 – After exploring the cave, return to the main riverside track as it continues north along the River Derwent. You will eventually return to the gravel bank alongside the river. Keep following the path, retracing a route back to Grange.

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Dave Chick

Dave is our Lake District local expert, often found in the depths of Cumbria he's the author of his own part on the web, All the Gear but no Idea.

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