Wainwright Number:

North Western Lakes

OS Map:
Explorer map OL4

Castle Crag is 290m high or 950ft tall. The smallest of all the Wainwrights in the Lake District.

This Wainwright is located in the north western Fells of the Lake District.

You can head up to Castle Crag by following the clear path from Grange village to the foot of the Wainwright. From here you head up a steeper section to the slate staircase. Shortly after this, you will reach the top of Castle Crag.

You will need Explorer map OL4.

Castle Crag is a little Fell in the centre of the Borrowdale Valley. So there are Wainwrights surrounding the Fell but none that can be quickly reached from Castle Crag.

At the top of Castle Crag is a memorial plaque to those who lost their lives in the war. 

- So one of the best facts is that as you can read above Castle Crag is the smallest of the Wainwrights. And being at under 300m, it’s a wonder that it even made it into the Pictorial Guides to the Lakeland Fells. This itself shows how unique and different this little fell really is.

- Castle Crag is a mini wonder with so much going on. Towards the top of the hill, there is a scree zig-zag pathway which takes you onto the next level of the fell. This is actually the leftovers of the spoil pile from the days in which Castle Crag was a quarry. These walls that hold back the scree have to be repaired to protect the fell and the visitors that come each year.

- On the summit of Castle Crag is a war memorial to remember those who lost their lives during World War One. It’s a great place to really stop for a few minutes and appreciate all they did to help and serve our country.

How high is Castle Crag? (m/ft)

The little fell of Castle Crag stands at 290m or 950ft. It is the smallest of the Wainwrights in the Lake District but its great character places it in the well-deserved league amongst the big boys.

Where is Castle Crag located?

Castle Crag is located in the North-Western ranges of the Lake District. It is just south of Keswick and sits in the Borrowdale Valley just south of Derwent Water. Looking down towards Castle Crag from the likes of Skiddaw, it looks like a little forest tuft coming out of the ground.

But closer up it’s certainly got more to offer. And makes for a great first Wainwright bagging. As well as welcome retreat to still get into the fells on even the worst weather days of the year.

So how hard is this Fell to climb and which routes can you take?

Little Castle Crag isn’t the hardest of fells to walk up by any means. There are some steep sections in places but overall this shouldn’t prove too challenging to any age or fitness level. Just take your time and you’ll be just fine.

The hardest part the walk up is possible the scree walled path, as this can be slippery in wet and dry conditions too. But it’s a dramatic backdrop and really puts a smile on your face as you’re heading up and down the unique characteristic of the Wainwright.

The final climb to the very summit of the fell will require a little bit of a climb amongst the tree roots, but again this is overall easy to achieve.

The most popular route by far commences at a little village called Grange. This lies just south of Derwent Water as you cross the river Derwent to get into the village. From here, the walk leads out of the village on a clear path on the terrace path above the Borrowdale Valley.

You see Castle Crag on the left-hand side as you climb slightly higher and take the little detour to finish the walk to the top of the fell from here.

How long does it take to climb Castle Crag?

A round trip from Grange to the top of Castle Crag and then back down will take you around three or four hours. On the round walk, you’ll follow the river Derwent and have the chance to see the caves alongside Castle Crag itself too.

Are the paths good climbing up?

The paths are mostly really good at climbing up to Castle Crag. The most challenging of paths is the scree walled path that zig-zags up the Fell. But this is more exciting than anything else. Besides that, the paths are mainly clear to see and walk on. Although on the northern side of the Fell, some of the grass banks can seem a little confusing on your way either up, or back down the Wainwright.

"It is so magnificently independent, so ruggedly individual, so aggressively unashamed of its lack of inches” Alfred Wainwright

Best parking for Castle Crag

The best parking for walking to the top of Castle Crag is from Grange. You can park just outside the village in some on the side of the road parking here. Or you can park in the village of Grange itself, although parking can be limited as it is only a small village.

You can lengthen your walk and start at Keswick if you wish. But this will add several hours onto your walking time. So just bear this in mind, on how long you want to be out as well as your fitness levels too.

There are some toilet facilities in the village of Grange too. As well as a cafe and some good ice-cream in the summer months. So it makes the climb up to Castle Crag and then back down again very much worth it. 

Views looking down Borrowdale Valley from Castle Crag in the Lake District
Views looking down Borrowdale Valley from Castle Crag

What is at the summit of Castle Crag?

At the top of Castle Crag is a memorial plaque for those who lost their lives in World War One. The top itself is quite flat with plenty of room to sit and enjoy some lunch.

As well as this you can check out the views from all sides of the Wainwright, and look up to Castle Crags parent peak of High Spy. Which forms part of the Newlands Horseshoe walk.

What are the views from the top of of the smallest Wainwright?

The views from the top of Castle Crag may seem in first thoughts of being restricted. This is because of the number of trees that the fell has, along with it sitting in the middle of Borrowdale Valley. However, this is not the case.

The views looking out from the north of the fell look down towards the stunning Derwent Water. With the Skiddaw Fells behind in clear view. To the west is the likes of High Spy although with them being closely situated you see mostly the side of the fell, rather than views to the summit of these. To the west, you’ll see the range of Helvellyn and Fairfield. And then finally towards the south, you can check out the Valley of Borrowdale, as well as Glaramara, the Langdale Pikes including Harrison O’Stickle, and the likes of Great Gable too.

Which OS map do you need to climb Castle Crag?

The ordinance survey map that you will need to climb Castle Crag is OL4. This will clearly show the routes in which you can take up this fell.

In addition to this, you can opt for book six of the Pictorial Guides to the Lakeland Fells by Alfred Wainwright. This will show detailed diagrams of the hill along with the views you can expect to see from the summit of Castle Crag too.

Where to stay, B&Bs, Campsites, etc.

The best place to stay for this walk around Castle Crag would be Keswick, or even in Grange itself. There are some lovely little holiday cottages for hire if you would like. Or you have much more variety in Keswick town.

But in the summer months they do get booked up rather quickly, so book with plenty of time in advance to avoid disappointment.

True Freedom Seekers
Thank you for taking the time to read our page. We hope you have enjoyed the information which we have for you. Please feel free to reach out to us about anything regarding the Lake District. Or leave a comment below. Happy Wainwright bagging.

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