Summer star gazing walk at Friar's Crag
near Keswick, CumbriaRoute details and mapDownload as a print friendly PDF
On a clear night you can see some 4,000 stars sparkling in our universe. Perfect for families and anyone unfamiliar with astronomy, this guide will introduce you to star gazing at Friar’s Crag, which offers one of the most scenic views in the Lake District. Print off a copy of our Star Guide to take with you and find out what’s in the sky this month…
- Bus stop
Start: Lakeside car park, grid ref: NY265229
From Lakeside car park walk down towards the Theatre by the Lake, which will be on your left as you pass it.
Use your torch to see if you can find Canon Rawnsleys or Ruskins memorials. Ruskin (18191900) had many associations with Keswick and his memorial was erected by Rawnsley, who in 1913 bought Castlerigg Stone circle. The land around here was the first bit of the Lake District to be owned by the National Trust.
Continue on the road with the launch jetties and lake on your right until the tarmac road runs out.
Look up to see the Summer Triangle. It is made up of three bright stars positioned in a triangle shape, directly overhead. The stars are called Deneb, Vega and Altair, and also form part of other constellations. Listen out for the distinctive too-whit-twhoo of the Tawny Owl, which is actually a duet between a male and female. These are the largest common owls in the UK and they feed on small mammals, frogs, insects and birds, sometimes including other owls.
Then continue straight on, on a surface track to the end of Friars Crag. This is your star gazing spot. Lay a blanket on the ground and take in the views of the wide open sky. Return the way you came.
Try and spot the Milky Way, a ribbon of millions of stars, threading its way across the night sky. The light you see from a twinkling star has travelled across the universe for millions of years to reach you; so when looking at a star, you are actually looking back in time. The North Star, also known as the Pole Star or Polaris, is a very bright star and is always fixed above the north point of the horizon. It has been used for over 2,000 years to help navigators at sea and on land find their way.
End: Lakeside car park, grid ref: NY265229
- Trail: Walking
- Grade: Easy
- Distance: 0.75 miles (1.2km)
- Time: 15 minutes
- OS Map: Explorer OL4; Landranger 89 and 90
The terrain is flat and level for the whole walk and easily accessible for all, but please be careful of the unprotected edge at the end of the walk. Choose a clear night, take binoculars and a torch and you too can follow in Galileo Galileis footsteps...
- How to get here:
By foot: 15 mins from Keswick and 10 mins from Lakeside car park
By bike: National Cycle Route 71 runs nearby
By bus: Stagecoach in Cumbria X4/5 Penrith - Workington, 555/6 Lancaster – Keswick
By train: Penrith station 20 miles (32.1km), then X4/5 Penrith - Workington, alight Keswick
By road: Junction 36 M6 then head west on the A66 to Keswick
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