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Friday, 8 August 2014

CASTLE CRAG 19-7-2014

The weekend of July 18th/19th/20th saw me in the Lake District valley of Borrowdale for the annual Walkers Forum meet up. A few days away from it all with like minded people taking in a couple of walks, a few beers and a few laughs while camping out in fine surroundings at the Chapel House Campsite With one of the best summers weather wise for a good few years there was quite a bit of interest in the weekend and all was looking good until the weather forecast seemed to deteriorate the week leading up to the meet. With thunderstorms, high wind and torrential rain in the forecast there was one or two who dropped out, understandably, and at one point it looked like it might of been cancelled altogether but enough of us decided to brave the elements knowing that if the worst came we could always hole up in the local pub :-) As it happened the forecasted storms didn't come and we only had a couple of light rain showers on the Saturday but it was very humid and overcast.The Friday was warm sunny and clear while on the Sunday it was back to being hot humid and bright. We decided to swap the weekends walks round as the Sunday walk was shorter and more low level and seemed more appropriate for the weather forecast and so we set off from the campsite about 9.30am in very humid and warm conditions. There was a lot of low cloud on the surrounding fells that didn't really move and so the decision to swap the walks was a right one as we did have a few spots of rain that got quite heavy just after reaching the highest point of the day on Castle Crag
Our route from Chapel House Farm > Johnny Wood > Scaleclose Force > Allerdale Ramble > Castle Crag > High Hows Wood > Low Hows Wood > Grange.
Scaleclose Force Waterfall through the trees

On the approach to Castle Crag on the right
Up the spoil heap on to Castle Crag
Memorial Stone on Castle Crag Summit
The rain approaches down the valley
Castle Crag Summit
 Some good views from the small summit especially of the rain shower coming towards us which meant we didn't have long on the summit, about 30 minutes or so before we headed off and put on the waterproofs. We did come across a couple of caves, old slate mines that are dotted about the area which we managed to explore. Unfortunately out of the four of us who explored the first cave we didn't have a camera!!! They were left at the entrance with our packs and the other two who didn't fancy a look round the dark and damp place. It was quite big with another tunnel going off to the right but led to a dead end. Exciting stuff

Slate Mine Entrance
Slate Mine Entrance
As the rain was getting quite hard at this point we headed of to another cave that was like a massive hole in the rock. No tunnels to go down and it proved a great place to rest up and let the shower move on. Quite atmospheric and with the light of the outside coming in no torches were needed. This cave is known as "Millican Dalton's cave" and was home to MILLICAN DALTON for about 50 years. This quote is taken from a book about the man. 
"Eventually, in search of a more permanent summer base, Dalton moved into a large split levelled cave on the eastern flank of Castle Crag in Borrowdale.This spacious cave had two 'rooms' and a constant supply of water through a fissure in the ceiling. The transition from suburbanite to caveman had well and truly been made. Unsurprisingly he received a considerable amount of publicity for his alternate choice of ‘home’, which he called “The Cave Hotel.”  BIOGRAPHY
Castle Crag Cave Entrance
Castle Crag Cave
Dinner in the cave
Castle Crag Cave
Once the rain had stopped we made tracks again and it got even more atmospheric with the humid conditions bringing out the best of the wooded area. Mist slowly moving across the valley with no wind made an ideal location that showed you don't always have to be 3000ft up a mountain to appreciate the area. It was quite surreal for a time.
Coming out of the cave
Mist amongst the trees
Admiring the atmospheric conditions
We made our way through the trees and down to the River Derwent which we followed back to the village of Grange where we had a rest while waiting for the bus to take us back to camp where we duly plotted up in the pub and met other members of the meet up who did a more gentler walk around the river and valley. A great day exploring this area with a lot of interesting things to see and as the weather stayed dry in the evening what better way to spend with a few beers back at the campsite :-)
River Derwent
Sign of a dry summer, River Derwent
Tea Room @ Grange
View of Grange bridge from the open top bus
Open top bus ride back to camp
Happy campers :-)

Thanks to Sharon, Paul, Paul, Colin, Dave, Clive, Catherine, Donna & Rich

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