Wednesday, September 7, 2016


FRIDAY SEPTEMBER 2:  Mostly Pictures

In the Guardian a month ago was an article called “Ten of the best walks in the Lake District.”  Number one is Borger Dair, Borrowdale.  Famed fellwalker Alfred Wainwright wrote that Borger Dair is the “finest square mile in Lakeland” where we can climb Castle Crag, the site of a hill fort some 2,000 years ago.  Although small in stature, it “offers some of the finest views you will ever see."  

Further, it reads:  "Take a moment to pause at Peace How, a small summit bought for the benefit of the nation in 1917 as a place where soldiers returning from the front line could find some tranquility.”

When I download specific descriptions and a map from the National Trust, it says the walk is moderate in difficulty, about four  miles long, will take three hours, is dog friendly, and begins in Grange.

Driving to Grange means going through Grasmere, Great How, Naddle, Dale Bottom, Dale Head and Legbarthwaite.  Love those names!

If it weren’t for a woman who happened to be near the old church, we would never know we were in Grange.  “We are looking for Maggie’s Bridge.”  

“Well, dear, I’ve been living here for 66 years and never heard of that.  Let me see your paper.  Hmmm.  They call it a geology walk.  Never heard of that either, dear.”  

She says we should go that way toward the cafe and then do something or other at a sign about eggs for sale.  At the cafe a guy in tall boots says we should pass the egg sign.  When he reads my Georgia hat he asks, "Have you walked the A.T.?"  

"Well small bits," I answer.    

Finally we seem to be on the trail but never find Peace How.  We do see a bright red phone booth near a hotel.

 Several large black slugs are hanging about.  And a purple flower I later find out about from a Irish Wildflower FB posting:  Devil's-bit Scabious / Succisa pratensis. It is also the sole foodplant of the Marsh Fritillary.  

We are trying so very hard to follow the directions but have run amuck in short order.  We meet a couple with an ordnance map who tells us to turn around and then turn right.  Eileen left us an ordnance map but it was supposed to rain and I did not have a plastic holder to put it in.

We go to a farm, passing through it.  Now where are we supposed to turn right?  Should we double back?  Maybe not yet.  Oh, there it is!

To cross the beck, Sally crosses a narrow bridge like the type I’ve seen in the Smokies.

  We pass a bit of woods on our way to Dalt Quarry, then a ferny path.  A very shiny rock almost glows on the path.  

Abandoned Quarry

Sally is up ahead.  Can you see her?

Turning away from the Quarry, take the smaller track to the right.  This joins a larger track near a small bridge.  Ascend the larger track, shortly leaving the wood and climbing by the stream of Broadslack Gill.  Further up, below the steep crags on the left, a smaller but still clear path branches to the left.  Take a breather and a moment to listen to your surroundings.”  HA HA!  We are standing there breathing heavily, barely able to hear the water.

View Looking Back

Very Lumpy Trail

Looking Back

 “If time, weather and inclination permit, the short steep climb to the summit of Castle Crag is recommended.  Ascend steeply to a ladder and stile.  [Where is that?]  Cross these and follow the fence to another ladder site.  [Is that the other ladder?]  Turn left and keep going up.  Now comes the juicy bit.  Go up the spoil heaps on a path that is not as hard as it looks.  A great view awaits you at the top.”

OK then, which ladder?  Which stile?  Not that one.  This one?  Here are some people who might know something.  We have to go back?  Then what?  “Follow us.”

Is this the correct ladder?

Is this the correct stile?

NOT the correct way to Castle Crag

 Yikes!  The pathway up looks very scary.  If necessary, we will come down on our butts.  This woman did not want to go up.  Her husband runs down like a mountain goat.  Show off!  This loose shale is what we are supposed to walk on.

Beauty in every direction.  

And there are pretty things on the ground up there as well.  And a war memorial.

Now it is time to descend.   We climb down standing on our feet as small children about six years old come up with their parents.  We can’t come down on our butts while young people are watching us.  But we are very proud of ourselves.  Can’t have courage without fear, right?

And look what’s up here with us!
Sally took this charming photo.
 “Carefully reverse the route of ascent to the lower ladder stile.  [Which lower one?]  Cross this and follow a grassy track.”  This is grassy, but soggy.  Is this it?  None of the remaining directions seems to describe where we are but we do not know which way to go.  When my sneakers are one inch in mud I realize this is a bog and see a cottony plant I remember from Ireland!  And a bog orchid.  Whoopee, it is worth getting lost!  

 We head toward a very stony path and see a biker.  A biker on THIS?!.  We turn onto that path and see two other women hikers.  They are from Denmark and have an ordnance map.  They tell us we are going in the wrong direction to get back to Grange.  Bless them.

Finally, we are returning on the correct path and recognize it. I find more flowers going in the opposite direction.

The supposed three hour walk takes us five, from 10:15 AM - 3:15 PM.  Getting “lost” about 15 times apparently takes two hours.

We are starving so we head for Keswick.  At Jennings Pub I have the most marvelous lamb dish I ever have had:  Lakeland Lamb and Mint Pie.  Main Street is pedestrian-
only.  Naturally, we have gelato for dessert.  

Descriptions of Walks

 One of the charity statues honors Herdwick Sheep, the very best breed to live on the fells.

When we return “home.”  Eileen and Richard take us to a beautiful view to end our evening.

If you would like to make comments, you may write them below or email me at  I just love knowing you are enjoying this vicarious hike.


  1. What beautiful scenes. Enjoying your trip and stories. Have fun. Especially love the sheep.

  2. What a fantastic walk and pictures. I am definitely motivated to travel more! Love your adventures.

  3. What a fantastic walk and pictures. I am definitely motivated to travel more! Love your adventures.

  4. Thanks, everyone. I am enamored of sheep also. Stay tuned for more sheep pictures in the future.

  5. Thanks for taking this walk (!!) and sharing it with me! I am loving it, especially the sheep. I didn't know sheep were mountain climbers! Such beauty in this area of the world.

  6. I see that hiking directions in the Lake District aren't any better than in the Peak District. But as in much of life, the journey is the reward. Thanks for sharing.

    1. I took another hike, but that one on my own. Just as tricky. I should have bought a SIM card so I could keep track on Map My Walk or dial 911. But it all worked out. Got to get something to hold an ordnance map dry and handy. Today I hiked to see the Irish Sea. The wind was a bit short of gale force, taking my map to the air and dumping it into a tidal pool. Always something...