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" Dock Tarn and Great Crag "

Date & start time: 8th September 2012, 12.15 pm start.

Location of Start : The NT Car Park, Rosthwaite , Cumbria, Uk ( NY 258 149 )

Places visited : Stonethwaite, Dock Tarn, Great Crag, Watendlath path back to Rosthwaite.

Walk details :  5.25 mls, 1450 ft of ascent, 4 hours 35 mins.

Highest point : Great Crag 1,500ft - 456m.

Walked with : Jo, Ann and the dogs, Amber, Harry and Bethan.

Weather : Sunshine and blue skies, some distant low cloud to start.

" Dock Tarn and Great Crag " at EveryTrail

[ Alter the settings to zoom or change the Map, use Everytrail to download the Gps route ]


Climb one of the steepest and longest pitched paths in the Lakes

and you arrive at one of the smaller but no less delightful tarns of the central fells.

Alongside is Great Crag, a great view especially on a fine day like today.

Starting point for today was the National Trust car park in Rosthwaite.

The village is renowned for its narrow road through the village past the Royal Oak and the Scafell Hotel,

the latter with the old Riverside Bar which serves great pub meals, and the Flock Inn Tearooms (by royal appointment).

We headed out on the Watendlath track past the entrance to Hazel Bank.

Once over the bridge we turned right and walked up the valley parallel to Stonethwaite Beck,

the main River Derwent having split and headed off towards Seatoller and the Stockley Bridge area.

Across the meadows the sun is shining on Castle Crag and Maiden Moor.

The crags opposite are Low Scawdel and Nitting Haws on the side of High Spy, with Catbells just visible in the distance.

As we walked up the valley alongside the river we were able to make out the old Riverside Bar,

the outside paved area now built over and glazed, which conveniently incorporates the space into the main bar of the hotel.

A bend in the river gave us views of Eagle Crag in the distance.

This corner is notable for the old tree stump apparently growing in the middle of the river.

Times changes in subtle ways

The tree wouldn't have grown in the water so the river bed must have altered considerably since it originally started growing.

Even in the last five years the stones have changed and a picture of mine from just five years ago shows the difference.

Hold your cursor over the picture above to turn back time . . . and look again at the previous picture too.

The walk up the valley is on an old track that meanders between high stone walls.

This would have been the pack horse old route from Borrowdale and Rosthwaite in particular, up Greenup Edge and over to Grasmere.

Looking across at cloud on Base Brown

and plenty of water cascading over the Sour Milk Gill waterfalls at Seathwaite.

Our valley catches a bright patch of sunlight

as sun finds a gap in the cloud and illuminates the cattle and a rather fine tree opposite.

The sheep enclosure or pound alongside the path with Eagle Crag behind.

It looks almost circular but there is a entrance into it at the back left.

We branch off soon after the enclosure and start our climb,

first passing over this old stone stile in the one of the fell walls.

All smiles from Ann and Jo . . . they haven't remembered the length and intensity of the climb ahead.



We start our climb up the well pitched path.


On the way a fallen oak leaf is a reminder of recent windy days

but perhaps the colour is indicative of a change of season.





Onward and upward . . .


with occasional views of the crags

through gaps in the ancient tree canopy.




Bethan finds a stick . . .


Perhaps it is her way of saying the path is steep

and she needs a rest.  More likely she's bored

at our slow rate of climb.




More climbing . . . we're not done yet.


We pass this fellow traveller who was making his way down.

Well at least we're climbing faster than he's descending.

Gradually the steepness eases as we reach the higher ground.

Up here above the steep sides of the valley and out of the woodland, the heather is making a bit of a late summer show of colour.

Just a little further and we reach what I presume is an old Peat House.

This may alternatively have been a "summer sheiling" . . . "Hafod" in Welsh . . .

smaller seasonal accommodation for shepherds when they were up here looking after their animals.

Willygrass Gill . . . the outflow from our next objective, Dock Tarn.
Bethan with her "special Collar" today.

We've often wondered how much further the dogs walk than we do so today's tracklog is provided by Bethan.

Unfortunately the combination of the position of the Gps under her chin (blocking the best radio signal)

and the woodland nature of the track so far made the calculation a little inaccurate, so definitive results were inconclusive.

We'll try again another day.

The main climb is over as we top the rise and see our first view of the delightful Dock Tarn nestled in the purple heather.

It must have been a short flowering season this year as the heather is already turning and the vibrant purples are already heavily tinted with brown.

Hot work in the sunshine so all three dogs take to the water.

Looking back at the photos from five years back, there less open water and more plants than previously.

Mmm, . . . feeling peckish . . . this will be a great place for lunch.

Time to relax in the sunshine and enjoy a sandwich or two by the side of the tarn.

Beware . . .
. . . artist at work       ;o)

A juniper tree grows out over the lake

adding foreground to this picture of the island on Dock Tarn.

Lunch over we leave our lakeside view and start the final short climb to the summit of Great Crag.

A high point but not the summit of Great Crag.

From this first top we get a sudden blue reflection of the sky on Watendlath Tarn.

Looking back, Eagle Crag is now far below us.

The high ground is High Raise and the pointed peak, Pike o'Stickle in the Langdale Valley.

As we walk towards the summit we get views of Upper Borrowdale, Seathwaite and Honister Pass.

Down below, the green fields and houses of Rosthwaite once again.

From the main top of Great Crag the village of Watendlath is much closer.

A slight application of zoom on the camera lens also helps to focus the mind.

On the top we met and chatted with six guys who were up from Leicestershire for the weekend.

We reciprocated with a photo for them on their camera . . . cheers lads.

The view north over Harry and Bethan and the Grange Fells towards distant Skiddaw.

- - - o o o - - -

Time now to start our round about descent.

A fine Rowan Tree overlooking Bowdergate Moss.
The way was a little damp in places !

Another delightful name . . . the gate at the top of Puddingstone Bank.

We've joined the Watendlath to Rosthwaite bridle way track, the popular route between these two beauty spots.



Down the track . . . but not the first turn.


I wouldn't fancy trying to lead a horse over this track now

as some of the track is quite heavily eroded and large rocks

feature on this section. 

The path is quite accessible for pedestrians though.


Looking into the sun as we reach the more gentle slope.

The cloud has more or less cleared from the high fells as the heat of the day evaporated the mountain mists away.

This one's ours . . .

. . . back over the raised footway and bridge below Yew Crag, leading back to Hazel Bank.

The Camping Barn at Rosthwaite, tucked away in the field at the bottom of the hill.

One last reminder of the Borrowdale Show next weekend . . .
. . . before we make it over with minutes to spare . . .

for a rather nice cream tea at the Flock Inn in Rosthwaite.

Tea and scones with a nice view of our recent descent route . . .

. . . and time to relax from the garden overlooking Castle Crag.

- - - o o o - - -


Technical note: All pictures taken with my Canon G10 digital camera.

Resized in Photoshop, and built up on a Dreamweaver web builder.

This site best viewed with . . . a fully charged battery on Ann's camera as well !

Go to Top . . . © RmH . . . Email me here

Previous walk - 5th September 2012 Jo, Jamie and Crummock

A previous time up here - 15th August 2007 Dock Tarn and Great Crag 2007

Next walk - 15th September 2012 Richard and Rosie's Grand Tour