Great Crag Borrowdale

Great Crag

Route: Great Crag

Area: Central Lake District 

Date of walk:  29th August 2020

Walkers: Andrew and Gilly

Distance: 5.6 miles

Ascent: 1,400 feet

Weather: Cloudy and overcast, brightening a little later on

Great Crag is a mid-level lakeland fell which we visited this time last year, when it was covered with a coat of purple heather. Hoping for more of the same, we decided to rewalk the route

We made an early start as it was a bank holiday weekend. We parked just outside the small hamlet of Stonethwaite. We crossed the nearby beck via Stonethwaite Bridge, turning right immediately to join the Cumbria Way for a short distance. We then left the Cumbria Way to join a path heading uphill which followed the course of Willygrass Gill. It was a steep climb, but the addition of rock steps made the ascent a straightforward affair and before long we arrived at Dock Tarn

The tarn is surrounded by numerous mounds and tors, all covered with heather, and it’s a lovely sight. 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. We simply aimed for the highest point and, after some meandering, arrived there. Another top with a slightly larger cairn was nearby, so we visited that too. Both are wonderful spots. It’s a shame that the weather was poor today compared with our last visit – dull overcast skies failed to bring out the colour of the heather, which in any event was starting to go over

We then rejoined the main path below and descended towards Watendlath. In view of the uninspiring weather we decided to omit this remote hamlet from our route, and we took a shortcut across some wild and very juicy terrain leading to Puddingstone Bank. The path descended alongside Bowdergate Gill, with wonderful views into Borrowdale, before merging with the Cumbria Way lower down. Improving weather on this section added to the beauty of the scenery. From here it was a short stroll beside Stonethwaite Beck back into Stonethwaite, and the end of a superb walk

Click here or on the Map Page icon for the route map, and here to see last year’s visit when the light was much better than it was today

Scroll down – or click on any photo to enlarge it and you can then view as a slideshow

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