Summer star gazing walk at Friar's Crag

near Keswick, Cumbria

Route details and mapDownload as a print friendly PDF
Castlerigg Stone circle in frosty weather © Richard Gale

Castlerigg Stone circle in frosty weather

The animals come out when most of the visitors have gone home... © northeastwildlife.co.uk

The animals come out when most of the visitors have gone home...

You may experience an atmospheric sunset before your night of star gazing © Simon Fraser

You may experience an atmospheric sunset before your night of star gazing

Route overview

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…

Route details

See this step-by-step route marked on a map

Route map for Summer star gazing at Friar's Crag walk, Cumbria
  • Directions
  • Route
  • Bus stop
  • Parking
  • Toilet
  • Viewpoint

Start: Lakeside car park, grid ref: NY265229

  1. From Lakeside car park walk down towards the Theatre by the Lake, which will be on your left as you pass it.

    Show/HideRuskin and Rawnsley

    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.

    Castlerigg Stone circle in frosty weather © Richard Gale
  2. Continue on the road with the launch jetties and lake on your right until the tarmac road runs out.

    Show/HideSummer Triangle

    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.

    The animals come out when most of the visitors have gone home... © northeastwildlife.co.uk
  3. 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.

    Show/HideMilky Way and North Star

    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.

    You may experience an atmospheric sunset before your night of star gazing © Simon Fraser

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
  • Terrain:

    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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