Castle Crag and Caves, Borrowdale

Today’s walk through Borrowdale was a truly amazing family adventure!  It had everything that the kids (and adults alike) loved… a cave, large boulders to clamber over, stepping stones across a river, shoreline to throw stones in, an exciting scree slope climb, toasting marshmallows on an open fire and amazing views over the Borrowdale valley and Derwentwater.  This walk is definitely one our family favourites so far.

We parked up in the National Trust car park in Rosthwaite, grid reference 258148 on OS map OL4.  Parking is free for members (although you must scan your card to obtain the free ticket) or £7 for the day to non-members.

Leave the car park and continue down the little road as you pass through a farm.  Follow this track along the river.  Soon you’ll see the stepping stones across the river on your left.  You don’t need to cross here, but you can certainly have lots of fun playing on them (assuming they’re not underwater!)  We decided to play on the way back, so we didn’t have wet feet for the whole day!

Continue along the path that runs next to the river and cross over the bridge at the end.  When you get to the first fork, take the right path, which runs next to the river.  When you get to the next fork, also take the right fork that runs along the river.

Carry on heading northwards, into the forest.  You’ll start to see piles of slate appearing.  Don’t be fooled into thinking the first cave looking structure on the left is the cave, it’s not.  Continue through the hole in the wall here:


Keep following the path onwards and upwards, and veer left at the next fork*.  It starts to climb uphill more at this point.  You finally think you’ve reached the cave when you see this:


But you’ve not!  This is just a small outlying cave.  Take the path up to the right of this cave, which leads you up to Millican Dalton’s cave.  The entrance to it looks like this:


No fires are allowed in the cave.  Luckily for us, the National Trust had been doing some work in the cave, and had started their own fire, and allowed us to use it.  After a good explore we followed our tracks back down a little bit (to where I put a * in the text above), then turned left to head northwards on the main bridleway.

At grid reference 251162, we turned left, when seeing this sign:


And followed the path along and up Broadslack Gill.  There were lots of large boulders that the kids enjoyed climbing and clambering over.  Plus, as you climb, if you look back over your shoulder, some lovely views of Derwentwater start to appear.

A huge scree slope appears on the left after just under a kilometre.  Don’t worry!  You don’t have to climb all of this!  When you’re unsure which path to take, follow the left path which goes a little back on itself and climbs more steeply.  Keep following this path (there’s even a fun hole in the wall for the kids to go through!).

Follow the path through the forest then turn left.  This is where the fun on the scree slope begins.  It’s a well trodden path, but please be careful as there is a lot of loose slate.  Enjoy views at the top eastwards and continue to the very top to get beautiful scenic views northwards over Derwentwater and all the surrounding fells.


Head back down the scree slope and find the wooden ladder over the wall, on the left.  Follow this path all the way back down to the river.  Turn right and have a play on thsoe stepping stones!

We stopped at the Flock In cafe for some delicious home made soup.  They’re open every day except Wednesdays, February through til October half term.

There’s a route map included in the photos below.  In total it’s a 3.5 mile circular walk.  Our 6 year old walked it all with ease.  Our almost 4 year old did really well, only having to be carried on some of the steeper uphill slopes.

For more family walks, great picnic spots and pubs, stay up to date and “like” our facebook page Family Walks and Pubs in the Lake District and follow us on Twitter @familywalklakes

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