CW06: Rosthwaite to High Brandlehow;    
Wednesday 17th September 2008

I thought I was Billy No-mates.  Abandoned by all my BOOTboy chums, I had no one to go out with me.  Then Margaret spoke up.  "I'll go out with you, darling," she said. "Let's do another section of the Cumbria Way."  

After such a long, weather-induced lay off, I was a little taken by surprise by her eagerness to undergo a third expedition in nine days but the forecast was so promising that the opportunity could not be missed.  With all this walking plus her swimaerobics and pilates she is in danger of getting really fit!

A lateish start was needed, ruling out travelling at the Government's expense to Keswick but we were in time to catch the 12:25 bus down Borrowdale.  Being at the head of the queue we were able to bag the prime seats- upstairs on the open deck, sat at the front. That was fun. It was like a fairground ride. We were thrown every which way as the bus hurtled down the winding lane, hitting trees and just missing rocks and other vehicles.  The only thing lacking was a water flume which, no doubt, has been a feature on many days this year as evidenced by the fact that the first thing we saw on alighting at Rosthwaite was a sign notifying the cancellation of the Shepherd's Meet, presumably due to waterlogged fields.

The view from the fairground ride

Another casualty of the summer

No risk of rain today, however; mist gradually burning off, a really good day in prospect, for once.

The Way ahead from Rosthwaite

On reaching the River Derwent there are two alternatives: to cross by the stepping stones or to stay on the right bank and cross later by the bridge.  

The stones looked large and reasonably safe so I chose that route with, I thought, Margaret following.

However my dramatic wobble that occurred three quarters of the way across put her off such heroics so she retreated and for the next few hundred yards we went our separate Ways, so to speak!

Will she or won't she?

After the bridge, we had another choice.  The Way stays down near the river, travelling through the woods.  But the guidebook suggests that Castle Crag with its splendid views is too good an opportunity to miss.  Consequently we set off across and up the fields to join the high level path that leads to the crag.  Once on the shoulder you can see that the path is steep and up slate quarry workings.  Margaret had seen Julia Bradbury making heavy weather of it and decided it was not for her so I abandoned her and went up solo whilst she had an early lunch (if you can call 1:45 p.m. early).  In so doing I captured another Wainwright and drew level with Stan at 61 left.

The slate path up Castle Crag

Slate workings art gallery

It was quite steep, the ground a little loose and with some steep drops if you were very uncareful but worth the effort.  Some of the slate workings have been transformed into a sort of informal art gallery!  

The panorama from the top of Castle Crag

At the top is a memorial to the men of Borrowodale who died in the first world war, sadly defaced for or by some idiot called Carol. Unfortunately the growth of the conifers is progressively reducing the scope of the view compared with when Alf must have been there and you can see more from a little lower down.

Derwent Water from Castle Crag

Borrowdale from Castle Crag

The dutifully waiting Margaret from Castle Crag

The retreat from Castle Crag

We then decided to retreat back to the official route so went back down the fields, enjoying the stunning view across to Greenup Gill, to rejoin the path through the woods.

Another photo of Greenup Gill!

Old Mine Workings

Despite the old mine entrance, I found the woods a slight disappointment but only because they were over-hyped in the guidebook. The path did not follow the river as closely as implied and although it is certainly a very pleasant woodland complete with the predicted dappling, the splendour of the surrounding views was largely obscured.

Emerging at the other end, Margaret spotted a washing photo opportunity with a difference- at a campsite. She also spotted, on the other side of a field, a strange brushwood structure at the edge of the woods. Whether it had purpose or was just artwork is hard to say.

Hollows Wood washing

Field art?

We then had another choice to make.  The official Way heads left up to Hollows Farm but the guidebook recommends going right and through Grange.  Grange holds happy memories for me of returning from Cat Bells on school camp, buying ice cream and messing about in the river under the bridges, so that was the chosen route.  We were very tempted to take a coffee in one of the cafés but we still had some left in the flasks and so pressed on.

On the outskirts of the village is a strange combination of lamp, telephone box and sign saying Gratitude.  That turned out to be the name of the house but specifically for what the owner was grateful could only be surmised from the splendour of the location!

Gratitude.  But for What?

Rosehips under examination

The hedgerows were full of fruit.  Margaret was tempted to fill her sack.

Team photo at Manesty

Looking back to Castle Crag

The Way approaches the lake by a boarded path across the marshland at Manesty. Derwent Water was very still and we were looking forward to having second lunch (more like afternoon tea) by the lake.

Manesty walkway

A very still Derwent Water

We thought it prudent to press on to High Brandlehow as the day was decidedly going off. There was a gathering gloom up Borrowdale.  We had planned to continue walking as far as Keswick and, in theory, there was sufficient time before sunset but with this impending gloom, the prospect faded in appeal.  As we neared the jetty we saw the ferry, our means of escape, departing.  Our spirits sank and were not lightened by the absence of any time table at the landing stage. However, two sets of folk reassured us that there was one more due, going the other, shorter, way round at 4:30 p.m.  That was perfect timing for us to finish off our provisions before it arrived.

Unfortunately Gordon Brown has not got round to making the free travel passes work on the water- presumably he has more important issues to worry about although I can't think what.

So the £9.30 fare for the two of us came as a bit of a shock.  

Nevertheless, it was the ideal way to round off the day's outing.

Thinking about it, doing the Cumbria Way without venturing onto Derwent Water would be a decidedly second rate experience. 

The ferry approaches High Brandlehow

Even in the gloom, the views were magnificent. And, of course, we will have to take to the water a second time in due course to pick up from where we left off.

Derwent Water in the gathering gloom

Hope Park, Keswick

It was a pleasant stroll through Hope Park and a not too painful experience at the Keswick shops before returning to the car.

For the second time of the day we drove England's finest trunk road- the A591 past Thirlmere, Grasmere, Rydal Water and Windermere and finally home, rather more tired than one might have expected.

Perhaps we're not as fit as we thought!

Don, 17th September 2008



5.3 miles
43.7 miles cumulative

Height climbed:
1,215 feet
7,246 feet cumulative


Castle Crag





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 These pages log
the progress of
Don and Margaret
along the Cumbria Way.

 Click on the photos
for an enlargement or related large picture.


CW01:  Ulverston to Blawith

CW02:  Blawith to Coniston

CW03: Coniston to
Skelwith Bridge

 CW04: Skelwith Bridge to
the Old Dungeon Ghyll

CW05: Old Dungeon Ghyll to Rosthwaite

CW06: Rosthwaite to
High Brandlehow

CW07: What's Thirlmere
got to do with it?

CW08: High Brandlehow to

CW09: Keswick to Gale Road Car Park (and back)



The Washing Lines

as seen by Margaret:




BOOT boys

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