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Walk to Castle Crag from Rosthwaite

By Dave Chick   

on February 9, 2020    No ratings yet.

Walk to Castle Crag from Rosthwaite

Further Details

Route Summary:

A short but entertaining outing to the enigmatic Castle Crag

This walk includes the Wainwright of Castle Crag

Route Start Location: Rosthwaite village

4.3 km 177 m 2 hours

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

Activivity Type: Hard Walk

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.

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 5XB

Rosthwaite National Trust car park, Scafell Hotel (paid for in the hotel bar)

Please note – street parking in Rosthwaite is virtually non-existent

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

Recommended Maps


Walk to Castle Crag from Rosthwaite Ordnance Survey Map and GPX File Download

Download file for GPS

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.

Walk to Castle Crag from Rosthwaite

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.

Walk to Castle Crag from Rosthwaite

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.

Walk to Castle Crag from Rosthwaite

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.

Walk to Castle Crag from Rosthwaite

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.

Walk to Castle Crag from Rosthwaite

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.

Walk to Castle Crag from Rosthwaite

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.

Walk to Castle Crag from Rosthwaite

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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