Great Crag and Grange Fell via Watendlath and Grange

Name of walk Great Crag and Grange Fell via Watendlath and Grange
Date of walk 2011-03-01
Distance walked (miles) 11
Duration of walk 7 hours 30 minutes
Weather Bits of blue sky
Peaks on walk Great Crag, Grange Fell
Walked with Ged and blind Kas
Parking Roadside at Stonethwaite

Due to the recent run of poor weather, it has been nearly two weeks since our last major walk. The weather today was forecast as cloudy with good visibility, no wind and sunshine later in the day, so Ged Kas and I headed for Stonethwaite in Borrowdale to climb Great Crag (1500ft), Grange Fell (1345ft) and Castle Crag (951ft), but with a few added detours and attractions. A walk of 11 miles.


I parked on the grassy verge leading into the tiny hamlet of Stonethwaite. Eagle Crag ahead. We would cross the bridge just before the phone box and head up through the woodland to Dock Tarn.


Breakfast is served.


Heading up into the woods and looking back to Stonethwaite.


This is a steep route up through the trees! I came down this way once. It is not an easy way to end a walk. I much prefer going up it!


Ullscarf and the Cumbria Way valley path to Greenup Edge is on the left. Eagle Crag and Sergeant Crag in the middle, the Langstrath valley path on the right.


Ged down below passing an old ruin. Rosthwaite Fell behind.


Dock Tarn. A pity it is so grey. In sunshine it makes a great photo. The last time we were here Ged went swimming while I climbed to Great Crag summit, I guess it must have been summer!



Still excellent reflections.


A bit more colour needed for really good pix!


We headed in amongst the heather to locate the true summit of Great Crag, then headed for the last peak where you can look down on Watendleth and the tarn and over to Grange Fell on the left.


We headed for watendlath.




So still!


Great Crag is centre. We were surprised and delighted to find that the cafe was open, for we were just talking that we could do with one of their "mighty fine cups of coffee" (but would be substituting the "cherry pie" for the more Cumbrian option of Flap-Jack.......Sorry.....a rather obscure "Twin Peaks" reference crept in there!)


One use for an old sewing machine table!The cafe was buzzing with an over 60s art group who were all taking a lunch break from their painting of the tarn.


After our well deserved lunch break we headed up the path to Grange Fell. The promised good weather had arrived! View from Brund Fell (the true summit of the multi-peaked Grange Fell), looking down on Derwent Water. With Bassenthwaite Lake above left. We spent a while on the summit chatting to a couple from London/Essex who moved up here in 2003 and then just admired the view!


Heading for Kings How, the summit with the best view.


Some stiles are not dog friendly!


The view across Derwent Water to Skiddaw. Well worth the effort!



Great Crag on the left, Rosthwaite down below. Stonethwaite just above left in the distance. Pike o`Stickle the bobble on the horizon.


Looking out to Glaramara, the Scafells and Great Gable with the slopes of Castle Crag on the near right. Our route back by the river to Rosthwaite in the valley.


There is a big detour to the right to get down the front of Kings How. At the start of the descent is a memorial stone to King Edward VII. It always make me smile as I was once here with Tom and he misread the description and thought it meant the potato! D`oh! Ged and Kas at the bottom of the photo. It is pitched path all the way, but very steep and slippery.


We spot a couple of deer in the distance.


Greatend Crag was the reason for the detour!


Castle Crag centre.


We headed for the cave mentioned on the OS map.


Then down to the road and over the double bridge into Grange.


We take the track on the left of Castle Crag beside the river as we want to visit the caves where Millican Dalton lived for nearly 50 years.


We eventually locate the split level cave formed by quarrying. Kings How can be seen from the entrance of the lower chamber. Ged looks up to the upper chamber.


This is Ged`s photo with me in the entrance. He has a wide-angled lens so he can get both levels of the cave in.


Born in 1867 Millican Dalton spent his summers in the cave in Borrowdale, moving south to the wooden shed in Buckinghamshire during the colder months. An alternative lifestyler long before the term was created, Dalton - vegetarian, pacifist and teetotaller - lived off his wits, surviving on a small income as a climbing guide. To this day, Dalton's legacy can be seen in the upper chamber of the cave, where he carved his own epitaph into the wall above where he slept. It reads: "Don't Waste Words, Jump to Conclusions. MD" and seen in the photo below. During the winter of 1947, Dalton's hut burned down, so he moved into a tent. This was too much for his 79-year-old frame, however, and he contracted pneumonia, of which he died in Hospital on 5 February 1947.


By the time we had explored the caves and had located the alternative route up to Castle Crag summit it was already gone 5pm, and would be dark by 6pm, so we reluctantly decided to leave the summit for another visit. Instead we continued on the path by the river to Rosthwaite village.


We then crossed the main road to Hazel Bank, having a quick look in at the camping barn, then back on the Cumbria Way river path to Stonethwaite.

We were back to the car just after 6pm. The walk had taken us seven and a half hours. A good walk with plenty of variation to keep your interest!