Castle Crag from Seatoller - the scenic route

Walking trail

Climbing Castle Crag from Seatoller starts with a bit of a climb, then follows a rolling contour route giving you great views right down the valley. This is definitely the civilized way to climb Castle Crag.

War Memorial Mountain

Castle Crag was given to the National Trust as a memorial after the First World War by the family of 2nd Lieutenant John Hamer. The memorial is dedicated to the memory of Hamer and 'the men of Borrowdale' who lost their lives in the war, and whose names are listed on the stone tablet.

woman walking along old miners track towards Castle Crag


route map


Seatoller National Trust car park, CA12 5XN


Leave the car park through the gate at the far corner. Follow the track and take the left hand fork. At the stream, turn left climbing towards a line of 4 scots pine trees. At the trees turn right joining the main track then follow the track as it curves left through the gate. Follow the track through the next two gates and through a small coppice of trees to a place where the path crosses a stream.


Between two coppices, the path crosses a stream. At the stream turn hard right and walk straight up the hill towards a gate in the wall above you. Go through the gate turn right along the wall. You have now joined the old mine road that was used for Honister slate mine, and which hugs the contours high up on the flank of the fell. You'll stay on this track now all the way to Castle Crag.

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woman walking along old miners track towards Castle Crag


The footbridge across Tongue Gill is a big landmark on the way - this is the biggest gill the path crosses before Castle Crag. If you need to, there is an option just before and just after the gill to take a shortcut down to the hamlet of Rosthwaite (the huddle of white houses round a small green hill). However if you're keen to carry on to Castle Crag, simply continue along the track until at the cusp of the brow you get your first glimpse of the lake of Derwent Water.

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Just over the brow when you get your first sight of Derwent Water, take a little 'sheep track' path that forks off to the right. It skirts round the base of a crag then follows the fence to a ladder stile. Climb the ladder stile and turn right to join the main path up to the top of Castle Crag. (you don't have to use the 'sheep track' path, but it avoids losing height)

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View from Castle Crag


Retrace your steps to descend Castle Crag, but don't go back over the ladder stile, instead follow the main path down the hill. Once you're into the woods, take the right hand fork over the footbridge. Where the path reaches the river, follow the path signposted 'Rosthwaite 1¾ miles'. You're now on the return leg of the walk, heading back towards the car park.

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a river flowing through an autumn wood, colours reflected in the water


You'll come across a fork in the path heading up to the right, signposted to Millican Dalton's Cave. You can add this in and return to this point (it's not far and it's well worth a look), or you can continue straight on following the signpost to Rosthwaite.

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An old photograph of a man sailing on a home-made raft


When you get to the packhorse bridge over the river, ignore the stone bridge (unless your feet have had enough and you want to catch the bus back to the car from Rosthwaite). Continue straight ahead over the wooden footbridge, and keep on the path beside the river, past the stepping stones until you get to the YHA hostel at Longthwaite.

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photo of stone bridge with sunlight sparkling off the water


From the hostel at Longthwaite, follow the path along the river back towards Seatoller. There's an exciting scrambly bit where a chain's been attached to the rock to give you a helping hand, but if you take it steady it's less daunting than it looks. The path then leads you round the bottom of Johnny Wood, along the wall and all the way back to the car park at Seatoller.

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Woodland Ranger inspects old oak pollard, Borrowdale


Seatoller National Trust car park, CA12 5XN

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Castle Crag from Seatoller - the scenic route


After a short climb at the start, the path follows rolling paths along the contours, and returns on the riverside path.

Route follows well-established bridleways and public footpaths. The surface is either rough stone or pitched stone on some steep sections.

The final ascent to Castle Crag includes a zig-zag path across the loose spoil tip from the 19th century quarry. Path material can move beneath your boots, but don't worry the spoil tip itself is stable.

There's a single very short rocky 'scramble' on the return path beside the river, where a chain has been fixed to the rock to help walkers negotiate this trickier bit.

Castle Crag from Seatoller - the scenic route

Contact us

North Lakes Office, Borrowdale - tel 017687 74649


Castle Crag from Seatoller - the scenic route

How to get here

Seatoller National Trust car park, Seatoller, Borrowdale, Keswick, CA12 5XN
By road

From Keswick, follow the Borrowdale Road (B5289) for 5 miles to the hamlet of Seatoller. The National Trust car park is on the left as you enter the hamlet.

By bus

From Keswick bus station take either the 78 Borrowdale Rambler to Seatoller (runs all year round), or take the 77A Honister Rambler to Seatoller (runs April-October)

Castle Crag from Seatoller - the scenic route

Facilities and access

  • car park
  • public toilets
  • refrshments