Great Crag above Rosthwaite

  • A tranquil valley in the Central Lakes
  • Visit the remote Dock Tarn
  • Panoramic views from Great Crag

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It is very rare to find a walk in the central lakes which is quiet and unspoilt. Watendlath is a hidden valley,often overlooked on the drive south to the bigger hills at the head of Borrowdale. The land here is rough and undulating, a typical mess of land covered with heather and bracken, hidden patches of water and small rocky outcrops.

The walk itself, although short, includes the complete variety of terrain with the highlights being the summit of Great Crag and idyllic Dock Tarn. There are 2 cairns on the top of Great Crag, pick either as even the O/S struggle to give the hill a proper height. Whichever trig you pick though there are glorious views. Being so central, the views are extensive in all directions , the exception being to the south east where the bulk of Ullscarf does obscure the view. Dock Tarn is lovely and completely unspoilt, to be honest most walkers in the Lakes will never have seen or heard of it. More  fool them.

Recommend: Stop at Ashness Bridge and walk the few hundred meters to Surprise View for one of the most iconic views in the Lake District – over Derwentwater and Keswick to Skiddaw.

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Watendlath map


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OS Map: O/S 1/25,000. OL4 The English Lakes North West. Buy Map
Start Point: NY 163275. Park in the pretty hamlet of Watendlath at the public car park. Cross the small pack horse bridge and stick to the side of the tarn rather than the steeper right hand fork.
Height to Climb: 173 ms (567 feet)
Terrain: Only 700 foot of ascent to the 1,500foot summit. The paths are obvious to the foot of Great Crag and from Dock Tarn. Between these 2 points there is an element of initiative required. The paths are inermittant and the main tip I have is to remain on the summit ridge of Great Crag as long as possible before plunging off towards Dock Tarn, Good fun though.
Eating & Drinking: There is a tea garden in Watendlath which is ideal on a warm summer's day but better to travel in to Keswick otherwise. The opening hours are regular in the summer months but w/e only in winter.
Similar Walks Nearby: Glaramara in Borrowdale
Exploring Upper Borrowdale
Catbells from Little Town
Places to Stay: