9th January 2016

Walla Crag and Borrowdale

Time 8am to 3:30pm
Duration 7 hr 30 min
Distance 15.3 mile
Ascent about 2000 ft
Walking with Paul Sharkey
Stormwater Bridge - Keswick - Springs Road - Springs Wood - Rakefoot - Walla Crag - Cat Gill - Ashness Bridge - Surprise View - Watendlath - Puddingstone Bank - Rosthwaite - New Bridge - High Hows Wood - Low Hows Wood - Grange - Manesty - Derwent Water - Nichol End - Portinscale - Stormwater Bridge
Fells visited
Directory places visited

Starting Point Information Centre -
Roadside parking near Portinscale suspension bridge

This is somewhere I tend to start walking from qutie a lot. It's nice and handy for Keswick, Borrowdale, Newlands Valley, Skiddaw, Latrigg and even the Castlerigg Stone Circle area.

The parking is free and no matter at what time of year or time of day I've always managed to get a space here.

From here you're only about 10 minutes walk from Keswick with everything the town has to offer, and in the opposite direction you're less than 5 minutes walk from Portinscale.

Route Map


Today's walk was a sort of make it up as you go along walk. The plan "A" route we'd talked about earlier in the week was postponed because of the weather and is was only last night that Paul suggested setting off from here, walking up Walla Crag and then deciding where to go next. Because we weren't heading onto the high fells the one thing we wanted from today was to 'get a few miles in'. The route turned out to be just over 15 miles which proves you can still manage a long walk at this time of year. Although, you can probably tell from the first few pictures that it wasn't quite daylight when we set off walking.

Flood debris from the beginning of December clings to every fence and the bottom section of every tree in the area. Somehow the low light and camera flash make things look even worse, , , if that's at all possible.

The market place was busy as we walked through Keswick this morning. Stall holders were setting things up ready for the crowds to arrive, cafe owners were bringing tables and chairs outside and there was also us two.

Sheep in the yard at Rakefoot Farm.

Looking across to Latrigg and the northern fells.

Walla Crag summit was reached in the dry but the forecasted rain was clearly on its way.

Blimey, where did this lot come from, it was cloud free and clear when we were walking across there a few minutes ago.

Keswick and the Skiddaw fells, taken before they disappear behind the cloud.

After leaving the summit we take the left hand path leading to Cat Gill and then Ashness Bridge.

A Cat Gill view of Derwent Water and Bassenthwaite. This has to be one of my favourite views in the Lake District.

It's strange what we remember isn't it or in this case it's strange what we forget. As I type this I can't for the life of me remember where we were I was when I put on the waterproofs. It must have been somewhere between Walla Crag and Ashness Bridge but that's as much as I recall.

Emptying down at Ashness Bridge.

Surprise View.

Watendlath on a wet, winters day. No cafe, no other visitors, no sunshine, no warmth but still a great place to visit. As I said at the time, if I could only do one more walk in the Lake District it would have to include Watendlath.

Looking back as we begin the walk over Puddingstone Bank to Rosthwaite.

Looking down to Borrowdale from the Rosthwaite side of Puddingstone Bank.

Admittedly they're not the clearest of pictures but outside one of the houses in Rosthwaite there's a big old tree stump covered in moss and for some reason they've places dozens of these little plastic toy figures in among the moss.
Hedgehogs, rabbits, badgers, humpty dumpty, cows, pigs, horses, birds and I even saw a zebra and a racing car

Yew Tree Farm in Rosthwaite.

From New Bridge I took this picture looking back towards Rosthwaite. Everywhere you go there's more evidance of storm damage. A sign near the bridge told us that the structure was safe but not to go near the parapet because they'd been damaged by the flood waters and were due to be replaced or repaired.

Ah, this is much better. The rain has stopped and we were even treated to 16.5 seconds of brightness & sunshine.

From the road we drop down to the edge of Derwent Water.

It was lovely down here today. Quite mild for January, not a breath of wind and surprisingly few other people.
Look at the shape of the jetty. It hasn't been broken up or moved, the posts have just been lifted straight out of the ground.

First of all we heard the really loud cracking sound. We waited a moment and then we heard it again, and as soon as I realised what it was, I was filled with the fear of not knowing which tree was potentially going to come crashing down. The last thing either of us wanted was a tree landing on the back of our heads. After a few moments looking around with genuine concern, we spotted that branch over there cracking and dropping a little bit further.
Panic over!


The hands. I assume these were designed so they would naturally rot away and return to nature. So, if this is correct and no one comes along to rub any hand cream into them, I wonder how long it'll take from them to completely disappear.

Cat Bells and Causey Pike seen from the fields between the wooded areas.

Nichol End was a sad place today with a misshapen jetty, a boat full of water rubbish all over the place and people trying to clean up and get back to some normality. As I say, "very sad".
As for us, we weren't too far from the cars now and aching legs and feet were telling us we'd achieved what we set out to do, which was to have a walk where distance was the main objective.

David Hall -
Lake District Walks