The weather had been glorious for some time now and we were in need of an adventure filled weekend. After spending a couple of days deciding on a location, we chose Borrowdale. The reason behind this decision was because we hadn't really explored this area, but when we came for short walks we loved it. Another major factor to this was Castle Crag. There is a reason why Wainwright chose to add this small fell into his list of 214, we just had to find out.
Arriving in Rosthwaite, Borrowdale
We parked in the little National Trust car park there (FREE to NT members). We set off walking down the lane heading towards Castle Crag, the sun was shining and there wasn't a cloud in the sky. The walk took us along the River Derwent. The scenery here is incredible. The River Derwent is a fantastic walk on its own and one to definitely consider.
A short while later we reached the gate/stile to start our ascent of Castle Crag. This fairly steep trail took us through beautiful woodlands and every so often an opening with a view over Borrowdale appeared. It didn't take us long to reach the summit as Castle Crag is only 290m high but we were beginning to see what was so special about this place.
The final ascent to the summit was up a winding path creatively made to aid people up a huge mound of slate, it was genius. Having never seen anything like that before we were excited to get up there. We made it to the summit and were amazed, for a very small hill the views from here are spectacular.
Whilst on the summit we decided to explore the area further. Slate dominates the lower parts of the summit, but its a very interesting place to be. Small slate structures are scattered around everywhere, walking through all this made me realise this fell is unique and that there isn't another like it in the Lakes.
There was so much fun to be had up here, even a bit of climbing. So we spent a good half an hour climbing up a 10-15 metre (approx) wall doing some fairly simple routes. It was shaping up to be a great day.
After a bit of fun climbing, we then realised we had drank the majority of our water. At this time, the top of Castle Crag wasn't our planned location to camp, It was lower down in the valley. So we decided to head back down to the river, to re-fill our bottles and find our camp for the night.
Arriving at the river, we were exhausted from the heat, dripping with sweat and we needed to cool off. This section of the river was beautiful. Crystal clear water surrounded by the woodland and greens of the Borrowdale Valley. It looked like paradise, we had to go in for a swim.
I couldn't think of a better way to cool off, you can't beat a good wild swim after a hike. We spent about an hour here swimming and jumping in, it was a lot of fun. But it was late afternoon and we still hadn't found our camp, so we got changed, filled up on water and set off walking. But after about five minutes en route through the woodland, we became undecided on our camp location. Are we too low down? Will we get the views we want? We just weren't sure! But deep down inside we wanted to be back on top of Castle Crag, we loved it up there. So, that's what we did. We retraced our footsteps and made our way back up Castle Crag.
Hot, sweaty and exhausted once again, we were finally back on the summit. This was definitely the right decision, we knew waking up to the views in the morning would be amazing. So we set up camp.
Tent erected and the Jetboil on, it was time for a cup of tea and some food. On the menu was Summit To Eat's chicken tikka with rice and for desert Wayfayrer's sticky toffee pudding, both were delicious! Especially the chicken tikka with rice, I highly recommend that!
After some well deserved food, it was time to relax, unwind and enjoy the evening.
As sunset was approaching it was time for one last cup of tea and a bar of Romney's Kendal Mint Cake before we get our heads down for the night.
Kendal Mint Cake is a favourite snack of mine when out in the hills. I'm from Kendal and I've grown up eating it, not only that, its full of sugar and energy so its a great treat to have when out hiking.
The next morning...
After a great night's sleep for one of us, we woke up, opened the tent and decided to sit outside to watch the sunrise. It was a beautiful morning, the colours in the sky were amazing and the views even better. At this moment, we were very glad to have hiked back up the night before, this made it all worth while!
After we watched the sunrise and had some breakfast, it was time to pack everything up, leave no trace and get back to the car.
We now knew why this small fell was added to the list of Wainwrights... It's just amazing! If you're ever in the Borrowdale area, then I highly recommend walking up Castle Crag!
What a fantastic weekend it was, one of the best this year by far! Sometimes all you need is an adventure and a night away in the hills.