Borrowdale from Great Crag

Great Crag

Route: Great Crag

Area: Central Lake District 

Date of walk:  5th August 2022

Walkers: Andrew and Gilly

Distance: 5.6 miles

Ascent: 1,400 feet

Weather: Mixed cloud and sunshine, with a few light showers

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

We parked just outside the small hamlet of Stonethwaite, where there are several parking spaces . 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. This is easily missed – look out for an old sheepfold at the junction. 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. In the words of Alfred Wainwright, ‘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

We descended to rejoin the main path below and headed in the direction of Watendlath and its tarn. The path took us across some wild and very juicy terrain leading to Puddingstone Bank. From here the path descended alongside Bowdergate Gill, with wonderful views into Borrowdale, before merging with the Cumbria Way lower down. From here it was a short stroll beside Stonethwaite Beck back into Stonethwaite, and the end of a superb walk

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