Castle Crag : The Lake District

by | Feb 3, 2020 | Go Outside, The Lake District, Walking

Route Information

An out-and-return circular walk

Route Difficulty: Easy

Distance: 5.69 km (3.56 miles)

Route Elevation: 290 m

Route Ascent: 294 m

Route Time: 2-3 hrs

Start and Finish: Grange Cafe, Grange View, Borrowdale, Keswick, Cumbria, CA12 5XA

Depending on the featured walk and especially in mountainous areas, you may need to Calculate the time using Naismith’s Rule and factor in to your own pace.


There are public toilets and two cafes in Grange, but they can be hit and miss as when open (Especially in the winter months. 

There are many pubs and places to eat in Keswick, but if you want something more local then visit the TripAvisor Website 


Very few hazards along this route, but the walk upto Castle Crag through the slates can be tricky during wet weather.

The Urban Ranger Website cannot outline every single hazard on a walk – it’s up to you to be safe and competent, and to be able to read a map and use a compass. Plan your route properly with the latest advice from the AdventureSmart website

Public Transport

Traveline for UK Public Transport

Weather Forecast

MWIS Lake District Mountain Weather


One of Borrowdale’s classic walks for all the family. Walk through an enchanted forest and take in the impressive views across Derwent water from the top of Castle Crag.  

The Lake District caters for all ability of walkers young and old, and this is why the area is so popular with 19 million tourists each year. From climbing Mountains like Helvellyn to peaceful woodland trails, there is something for everyone.

Castle Crag is easily overlooked by the backdrop of Low Scawdel and the flanks of High Spy.

Hidden by a sprinkling of trees, it is quite separate from its parent. It is the only Hill below 1000 ft to be included in Alfred Wainwrights’ Pictorial Guide to the Lakeland Fells.

 The walk starts off from Grange and i parked right outside the Coffee shop to which the route starts. i would assume this will be more difficult during the summer months though.

Walk down the lane to the right of the coffee shop that eventually leads to Hollows Farm. The lane is peaceful and is decorated with trees and farmers’ fields and i found it very relaxing. Just before the end of the lane that takes you to Hollows Farm, head left into Scarbrow Wood.

You will now be able to follow a well-recognised path along the woodland. Once you get to a small bridge crossing at the side of the River Derwent, head to your right and follow the path through the wood until you come to an opening near High Steel Knott. Follow the rocky path up the hill and you should now be able to see Castle Crag to your diagonal left.

As you continue up the path you will see grey slate cascading down from Castle Crag and just after you pass the slate, there should be a stone wall with a gap in it to your left. Head through the gap and up the winding stone steps until you come to another stone wall.

This is now the most difficult part to navigate given the path runs diagonally up and around to the Summit of Castle Crag. The path is basically just grey slate and i would assume in wet weather you would need to be very careful as not to lose your footing as it would be like walking on glass.

Once you reach the top there is a little path to your left that passes through some trees up to the final Summit of Castle Crag, just be careful given there is an opening with a fair drop to your right when you pass through the trees. Once at the top you will have a magnificent view over Derwent Water towards Skiddaw, and there is also a War Memorial set in the rock face.

The good thing about this walk is, that you do not have to climb up to the Summit of Castle Crag if you feel your ability or confidence is lacking. Instead once you get to the stone wall where the slate path starts, you can carry on and over the wall stile which will lead you back down towards the lower ground of High How’s Wood. If you were to climb the Summit you would be coming back down this route anyway.

Once you head over the wall stile and head down towards the wood, the path is marked clearly so it’s rather difficult to get lost. Just for reference you will be heading back towards Grange but on the opposite side of Castle Crag, so it will be to your above left. The path is now easy going and once again you will enter into woodland with the River Derwent visible to your right.

The route through the woods will take you past High How’s, upper and lower quarries as well as Wilkinson’s Dub, before re-entering Low How’s Wood. From this point you will head back to the bridge that you will have already crossed at the start of the walk, and from this point you are following the same route back to the Cafe at Grange.

Click bottom image for gallery

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