Walk to Castle Crag from Rosthwaite
A short but entertaining outing to the enigmatic Castle Crag
|4.3 km||177 m||2 hours|
Activivity Type: Hard Walk
Calculate the time using Naismith’s Rule and factor in your own pace.
Summits and Places on this Route
A toilet block can be found at the Rosthwaite car park. There are also a handful of tearooms and pubs in the village.
The Castle Crag spoil heap can be slippery, particularly in descent.
Parking : CA12 5XB
Rosthwaite National Trust car park, Scafell Hotel (paid for in the hotel bar)
Please note – street parking in Rosthwaite is virtually non-existent
Stagecoach bus 78 from Keswick to Seatoller departs hourly, stopping at Grange Bridge. Times can vary during the summer and winter seasons.
Walk to Castle Crag from Rosthwaite
While tiny in comparison to nearly all of the Lakeland fells, Castle Crag is far too good to overlook. It is the epitome 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 – it fails to reach the magic 1,000ft mark (the other being Mungrisdale Common, which has no prominence).
Despite its lowly stature, Castle Crag is an entertaining top to conquer thanks to its rugged approach and sensational views. 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 war memorial is a particular highlight. This route details the ascent from the village of Rosthwaite, deep within the Borrowdale valley.
Castle Crag from Rosthwaite – Borrowdale Route Description
1 – This walk starts from the National Trust car park in Rosthwaite. There are spaces for several cars though it is known to fill up when the weather is nice. Alternative parking can be found at the nearby Scafell Hotel. Leave the car park and turn right along Yew Tree Lane, towards Yew Tree Farm. You will have a good view of Castle Crag across the fields.
2 – At Yew Tree Farm, pass between the buildings and bear right. Follow the lane to the bank of the River Derwent. Follow the track as it runs parallel to the River Derwent until you reach a small stone bridge over the river (New Bridge). After crossing the bridge, turn right.
3 – When you reach a pair of gates (NY 25132 15164), head through the left one to access the fields beyond. From the gate, a path leads almost directly across a field to a stile at its top end before continuing up the slopes of Lingy Bank to a small gate (NY 24683 15520) where you will join the old quarry road which runs between Little Gatesgarthdale and Grange.
4 – Turn right onto the quarry road and follow it a short distance. As the quarry road starts to descend, keep an eye out for a path branching off to the right (NY 24690 15624). This path leads to a ruined wall which is followed above the valley. You will soon find yourself high above the quarry road.
5 – Ignore the path that arrives from the right (climbing from Borrowdale. Remember it though as it is your route back to Rothwaite). Continue on, crossing a few stiles to reach the slopes of Castle Crag. Eventually, you will reach the bottom of a large spoil heap that provides a route to the summit.
6 – 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.
7 – 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.
8 – To continue the circuit, retrace your steps to the foot of the spoil tip and return to the path you passed earlier (paragraph 5), rising from 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.
9 – You will reach another which follows the course of the river. Bear right here and follow it back to New Bridge, cross the river and retrace the route through Yew Tree Farm to the car park in Rosthwaite.
More Posts By This Author
Subscribe to the Mud and Routes Newsletter