Great Crag

Great Crag

Route: Great Crag

Area: Central Lake District 

Date of walk:  17th August 2017

Walkers: Andrew

Distance: 6.0 miles

Ascent: 1,600 feet

Weather: Sunny

Inspired by yesterday’s walk in Swaledale, where the swathes of heather had added so much enjoyment and beauty to the walk, I decided to visit Great Crag, a mid-level lakeland fell which is bedecked in purple at this time of the year

I parked in the small hamlet of Stonethwaite and crossed the beck via Stonethwaite Bridge, turning right immediately to join the Cumbria Way for a short distance. I then left the Cumbria Way to join a path heading uphill which followed the course of Willygrass Gill. The gill was on fine form after last night’s very heavy rain. It was a steep climb, but the addition of rock steps made the ascent a straightforward affair and before long I arrived at Dock Tarn

The tarn was looking at its best today, bathed in sunshine and surrounded by numerous mounds and tors, all ablaze with heather. As Wainwright says, ‘Dock Tarn is a place to lie adreaming, and life seems a sweet sweet thing’. Great Crag is a complicated place, full of ups and downs, and determining the summit and the path to it is not a simple affair. There are numerous small paths, some of which peter out. I simply aimed for what I believed to be the highest point and after some meandering arrived there. Another top with a slightly larger cairn was nearby, so I visited that too. Both were wonderful spots

I then rejoined the main path below and descended to Watendlath, which is both a tarn and a hamlet in the ownership of the National Trust. The path was exceptionally juicy, as were most of the paths on today’s walk. From Watendlath I followed the path to Puddingstone Bank where I had a chance encounter (see the photos). The path took me around the lower flanks of Great Crag, with wonderful views into Borrowdale, before merging with the Cumbria Way again. From here it was a short stroll beside Stonethwaite Beck back into Stonethwaite, and the end of a superb walk

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