Hill: Castle Crag
Date: Sunday 31st December 2023
Company: Just myself
Distance: 9.4km, Ascent: 290m
Time: 2Hrs 50Mins

Having already ascended most of the higher Wainwrights, I still have a good number of lower ones to ascend if I ever hope to complete them. I set out this morning to ascend the lowest of them all, Castle Crag. When Wainwright listed the Wainwrights, Castle Crag was the imperial equivalent of exactly 300m. Following remeasurement, it has been found to be only 290m. I believe Wainwright stated, "this is the loveliest square mile in Lakeland". My ascent today surpassed all expectations; it is indeed a fantastic small hill.

On arriving in Rosthwaite, instead of paying at least six pounds to use one of the two main car parks, I parked a short distance outside of Rosthwaite where there are two small free parking areas.


Despite arriving in the car park before sunrise, two guys were already descending nearby Brund Fell carrying high velocity rifles. They looked a bit shady. I thought this was National Trust land so suspect they were up to no good.

Free parking c.800m north of Rosthwaite:

From the parking area, I walked along the B5289 into Rosthwaite. Borrowdale is a beautiful area.

Castle Crag from the B5289:

Approaching Rosthwaite:

On passing the two main car parks, National Trust and Borrowdale Institute, both were empty. By the time I returned, both were full.

An advantage of setting off early was I saw no-one else during my ascent of Castle Crag. The same could not be said during my descent. This is a busy wee fell!


I passed a barn with a honister slate plaque with information about Rosthwaite. I recall seeing a similar one at Seathwaite.

Rosthwaite information:

The tracks leading to and ascending Castle Crag are all high quality.

Good track alongside the River Derwent:

The bridge over the River Derwent is nice. I am not sure when it was built but it would appear to be at least a couple of hundred years old.

New Bridge:

Castle Crag:

As there is only circa 200m of ascent to reach the summit, getting to the top did not take long.

Well-constructed path on Castle Crag:

Having read an online report in advance of undertaking this walk, I knew there was a slate spoil heap to ascend. I did not however realise that there was an excellent path up the spoil heap with supporting walls! From the online report I was also aware of caves on the fell which I would be visiting on the return.

Slate spoil heap:

Excellent zig-zag path up the slate spoil heap:

I believe the walls at the top are from an ancient fort.

Below the summit of Castle Crag:

Entering a castle of rocks:

Impressive rocks below the summit (disused quarry):

A short distance above the disused quarry, I reached the summit. The summit rock has a plaque commemorating the men of Borrowdale killed in the first World War.

Summit of Castle Crag:

View from the summit of Castle Crag:

I approached the edge to take a photo but didn't get too close to the edge as there is a considerable drop.

View from the summit of Castle Crag:

I am glad I still have a number of fells to ascend in and around Borrowdale.


Descending the slate spoil heap:

Instead of returning the same way, I continued round the back of Castle Crag descending towards Grange.

Impressive crags on Castle Crag:

On reaching the River Derwent, I followed the waymarked track leading back to Rosthwaite.

River Derwent:

On passing the area on my map marked 'caves', I went exploring. I was suprised to find three people dossing in one of the caves!


Inside the cave:

Another cave:

Looking out from inside the cave:

Looking out from inside the cave:

Looking out from inside the cave:

Looking out from inside another cave:


After exploring the caves, I continued along the track to Rosthwaite. During the walk back, the rain arrived early so yet again I didn't manage to escape the rain .

This was a really nice wee hill to end 2023.

2023 was mostly focused on completing my second round of Munros. In 2024, I need to focus on completing the Munro Tops for a Full House (29 remaining). I am also looking forward to revisiting the Lake District to continue chipping-away at the Wainwrights (48 remaining).

All the best for 2024 .