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" Troutdale and The Bowder Stone "

Date & start time:      Saturday 12th September 2020.  2.30  pm start.

Location of Start :     Grange Bridge, Borrowdale, Cumbria, Uk. ( NY 257 173).

Places visited :          Leathes Hotel, Troutdale, Bowder Stone and back along the valley road.

Walk details :              2.75 mls, 250 ft of ascent, 1 hours 40 mins.

Highest point :           At the head of Troutdale, behind Grange Crags, 520 ft - 160m.

Walked with :              Ann, Gill, Trevor and myself plus three dogs, Finlay, Dylan and Dougal.

Weather :                     Turning overcast and eventually grey but the rain held off for the walk.

© Crown copyright. All rights reserved. Licence number PU 100034184.


A trip out in the car for all four of us as we head over to Borrowdale to meet up with friends. 

Trevor and Gill invited us over for a chat and a walk

but first a drive over Whinlatter to call in for essential supplies in Keswick.

This was the view from Whinlatter, looking across to Skiddaw to the left and the Helvellyn ridge to the right.

Down there in the middle somewhere is a petrol station that also sells milk . . . basic supplies were needed today!

The more usual view of Skiddaw is from the Knoble Knott viewpoint lower down the road but it was full of visitors cars, as is everywhere today.

Photos today from my phone as I forgot to put the camera in the car !

The road alongside Calfclose Bay on Derwent Water, looking across to Maiden Moor and High Spy.

Castle Crag

as we cross Grange Bridge to meet up with friends who live in the village.

- - - o o o - - -

Ann stayed at the house with Gill as Trevor and I took the three boisterous retrievers out for a walk.

This was the view a we re-crossed the bridge on foot this time. People are about and a "paddle boarding" class is just about to get underway.

As we walked alongside the river, the paddle boarders floating by.

They only needed to stand upright and paddle . . . we had to walk by moving our legs . . . but our feet were the ones that were dry.

The driveway to Leathes Head Hotel continues on beyond the hotel

to the Troutdale Cottages at the foot of Borrowdale's "hidden valley".

Looking north from behind the cottages towards Shepherds Crag

with Skiddaw and Lonscale Fell in the distance.

The valley was the the site of what could be considered the world's first commercial fish farm in 1860,

when pools were built to raise young trout for commercial re-stocking of other rivers. 

More detail can be found on my previous Troutdale Page here

The cliffs ahead of us are the well known climbing spot . . . the Troutdale Pinnacle . . . part of Grange Fell.

The old fish farm beds, which can still be traced, were fed with water diverted from the river.

Looking back . . . not to sunny here but fine on the Skiddaw Fells.

The lilac flowers are Devil’s Bit Scabious.
Two of the three dogs are . . . wet !

Part way round is the mini-Bowder Stone, another large cube of rock that must have fallen from Grange Fell in past millennia.

The dogs love jumping onto rock summits, but this almost defeated them, but two attempts and full claws for traction and they were up.

The rock buttress of Kings How this time.
Our path stays low and skirts around the fell.

We've reached the head of the valley and some level ground that seemed to be a spoil heap from a former quarry.

Trevor is guiding us towards Castle Crag.

The narrowest part of the valley, the Jaws of Borrowdale opposite Castle Crag, is home to the famous Bowder Stone

The reproduction sign was inviting 1869 tourists to visit the famous attraction

where Mary Thompson will "attend on all parties" giving information and possibly even refreshments.

The rock faces of Quayfoot Quarry are used for handicapped climbing.
The daunting view looking down from the slate launch platform.

The ancient Bowder Stone, remarkable in appearing as it seems to sit balanced on a knife's edge.

" It resembles a ship lying on its keel" . . . a very Victorian analogy.

The old wooden ladder has recently been replaces by steel . . .
. . . which also allows dogs up, to be fussed over by other visitors.

The famous Keswick resident Joseph Pocklington bought the site in 1798 and opened up the Bowder Stone to tourism,

installing a lady guide to inform visitors of the history and to collect money from those wishing to climb the stairway to the top.

Wikipedia says the old cottage was leased to, and restored by, the Northumbrian Mountaineering Club in the 1960's.

In addition Joseph designed a classic little hermitage or chapel,

a religious counterpoint to the 'druidic' standing stone or menhir that he had also erected (where the people are standing).

The stone as seen today, with Trevor, Finlay and Dylan at the foot of the ladder.

The two guys (one in red) have just been 'bouldering' on the rock (climbing without ropes but with a safety crash mat)

This is the old ladder in 2009 as pictured on the Wikipedia site . . .

. . . and again here in 1890.  Note the lack of trees !

Postcard evidence suggests that at lease six different ladders have been built here over the years.

Hopefully the latest one will stand the test of time and that visitors will continue to be able to climb the 30 feet to the top for years to come.

On the way back we passed more traditional rock climbers.
Time is pressing slightly so we returned to Grange along the road.

Gone are the summer tourists, the paddle boarders and the crowds.

Peace returns to Grange Village.

- - - o o o - - -

Back at Trevor and Gill's we enjoyed a chat and our own delightful 'Grange Tea' as a brief rain shower further darkened the valley for a short time.

There was no darkness in their garden however as it was full of colour from the Acers, Hydrangeas, Busy Lizzy and Cosmos flowers.

I have no sunny photos of the garden so these are Gill's, sent in response to my request.

Gill's photo of a lovely Cosmos flower, set against the blue of a slightly different, bright, sunny Borrowdale day.

- - - o o o - - -


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- - - o o o - - -

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- - - o o o - - -

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Technical note: Pictures taken with my iPhone 6s Camera, apart fro the last three.

Resized in Photoshop, and built up on a Dreamweaver web builder.

This site best viewed with . . . a dash of colour and a proper camera to record it with.

Go to Home Page . . . © RmH . . . Email me here

Previous walk - 6th September 2020 - Low Fell's Matterhorn Rock

A previous visit here - 30th April - Troutdale with Trevor & Gill

Next walk - 14th Sept 2020 - Crummock Water with Mac