Raven Crag from Castlerigg Stone Circle

9th June 2013

A beautiful walk with not much ascent, perfect for memories & time spent thinking of past events.

This is Raven Crag from Castlerigg Stone Circle.


Wainwright Guidebook

The Central Fells

-Raven Crag:

One of the many dozens of Raven Crags, best known of all, and the subject of this chapter, is the mighty buttress of grey rock towering above the Thirlmere Dam. The vertical face of the crag, now receiving the attention of expert rock-climbers, is a truly formidable object, standing out starkly from the dense surround of plantations.


Ascent: 2,215 Feet, 675 Metres
Wainwrights: Raven Crag
Weather: Warm & Sunny Highs Of 21° Lows Of 10°
Parking: Car Parking Spaces, Castlerigg Stone Circle
Area: Central
Miles: 9.6
Walking With: On my own
Ordnance Survey: OL4
Time Taken: 5 Hours 10 Minutes

Castlerigg Stone Circle – Castle Lane – A591 – Nest Brow – Brackenrigg – Shoulthwaite Gill – Castle Crag (fort) – Sippling Crag (The Benn) – Raven Crag – Thirlmere Dam – A591 – St Johns Beck – Sosgill – Rake How – St Johns-in-the Vale Church – Low Rigg – Tewit Tarn – Naddle Bridge – Goosewell Farm – Castlerigg Stone Circle


Map and Photo Gallery



Looking south from Castlerigg Stone Circle 07:20 10°C

The air is warm with a hint of mugginess as I kit up which takes no longer than the time it took to lace my boots, the jacket – for the third week running gets left in the car as I prepare to leave taking in the sign displaying ‘Do not leave valuables in your car thieves operate in this area’

Great I mumble.

Haze is the word of the day which rendered the camera useless for anything long distant, besides the haze thick cloud blanketed parts of east Lakeland, the sun took on a mighty fight which lasted until mid morning, although it did at some points, win the odd round.


Looking east over Clough Head & The Dodds as the morning sunrise puts up its fight.

I am not alone at Castlerigg as a bystander films… yes you read right films the sunrise on a mini camcorder mounted upon tripod. Here we are both under the elusion that this mornings skies were supposed to be cloud free as forecast.

However in every other direction we are…


Cloud free.

Here looking over wild pastures towards much of the Coledale fells, the pointy fell above the telegraph pole is Grisedale Pike.


Walla Crag & Pike (the northern tip of Bleaberry Fell) over towards the left of the picture.


More summer than you can shake a stick at.

Here looking towards the Skiddaw fells, with Skiddaw Lesser Man in the foremost foreground & Skiddaw Little Man tucked in behind its parent peak.


The north west of the district certainly kept the haze at bay.

Still on the Skiddaw theme, this time with Dodd in the picture with also a selection of the Whinlatter fells further left, if you squint you may be able to spot a hint of blue towards the centre of the picture which is Basenthwaite Lake, appearing much further away than it actually is.


Crossing the A591 at Nest Brow.

Towards the end of Castle Lane (and what looks like the morning sun) It was time to take a left & take on the A591, Should you wish to continue straight ahead you can take in the lovely walk to Walla Crag via Rakefoot via a wooden gate which is just out of shot – but is situated on the far right of my position.


Inconspicuous Sty…miss at your own peril!

The narrow grassy footpaths at the side of the A591 are overgrown & hadn’t seen boot print (possibly for the latter reason) for some time, the mile & a half was walked with caution & care as cars pass within what looked like a foot of space between me & my maker.

This is Shoulthwaite & surly one of Lakelands hidden gems, its only fault being that that the valley simply isn’t long enough but more than reason for me to blow some cobwebs as of late.


The path is narrow but easy to follow.

After crossing the sty keep left along a farm track for a short distance, pass through one more gate which will then lead you onto open fell side, Shoulthwaite is still away ahead concentrating on the crags ahead until you hear Shoulthwaite Gill.


Passing Brackenrigg Farm along the way.


Shoulthwaite & Shoulthwaite Gill.

Again I find myself heading towards the low point at the far end of the valley, here I can take a path left that will lead me up steeply towards the summit of Castle Crag (fort) seen in the photo surrounded by trees, its not the farthest distant away by any means, but is a wonderful secluded walk along side the flowing waters of Shoulthwaite Gill.


Around Halfway into Shoulthwaite Iron Crag (R) dominates the flanks of the valley, I must stop telling myself that I’m going to climb up to Iron Crag one day & actually let my boots do the talking.


Looking back along Shoulthwaite towards a very hazy Lonscale Fell & an even hazier Great Calva just behind.


I spy a route for an ascent but sadly Iron Crag isn’t on todays agenda, it was getting time for me to cross Shoulthwaite Gill at a rather high wooden sty situated on the other side of the river bank, the river crossing was uneventful but the climb to Iron Crag was not.

I fell for it again didn’t I? What you may ask? The sty I had just crossed can skirt you neatly around the circumference of Castle Crag (fort) before an abrupt upheaval up a steep grassy path…wanting to avoid this I thought I’d ascend my own way through fallen woodland & impregnable vertical crag, I turn tail muttering they didn’t build a roman fort on the top of here for nothing.

Thinking I still know best I pick my way over yet more felled tree routes navigating my ascent left of the summit eventually emerging onto the woodland trail like no-one owns me… ego a little tattered I gave myself the brush down that you do & made for the summit.


Castle Crag (Fort)

Rather than beat myself up I’ve just considered that I have given myself a brief history lesson in how not to gain Castle Crag fort.


Shoulthwaite & the northern fells from Castle Crag (fort) summit.

Time for a little rest seeing as I can afford the time…the views weren’t to bad either.


Sippling Crag (The Benn) from Castle Crag (fort) summit.

Sippling Crag is my next summit, or should that be Raven Crag as both summits are within my proximity, I really can’t decide, I’ll just watch the clouds go by some more.


Logging activity.

For those un-aware the woodland tops surrounding Raven Crag were brutally cut down by a fierce storm last year causing mass destruction of the area, the felled trees have been managed by local authorities as evidence of the storm one year on still litter the area.

I decide to head for Sippling Crag (The Benn) as my next destination, to do this requires a keen eye to find the path which has been cut up by logging machinery & alike, to find the path keep Raven Crag on your back, as you near the first left hand bend look right, a narrow path can be seen here taking you through woodland until you reach the base of Sippling Crag…the search for this narrow path is well rewarded.


Raven Crag & Thirlmere from Sippling Crag (The Benn)

Helvellyn, Helvellyn Lower Man & Browncove Crags can be seen through a slight haze in the left of the photo, but its Raven Crag that dominates this view.



Heading through the destruction of the previous years storm towards Raven Crag summit, at least now a path has been cleared thanks to the loggers.


Yet again the views are worth it, Thirlmere through to Dunmail Raise & Seat Sandal from Raven Crag summit.


I had to climb a little lower down to take this photo this haze appearing a little less yet still menacing to the lens.


Thirlmere Dam from the top of Raven Crag, I shall be down there soon.


Thirlmere & Armboth from Raven Crag summit.


Raven Crag summit cairn.


The woodland path back down the path can at times be steep in progress & caution must be taken especially after just leaving the summit, here still amongst the tangle of dead wood the path is yet again overcome by the wheels of machinery.


Raven Crag from the woodland path.

There is a much older path which runs horizontal across the fell side, this I consider to be one of the best places to see Raven Crag from below.


Steel Fell & Dunmail Raise as I make my way across Thirlmere Dam.


Raven Crag from Thirlmere Dam.


Crossing the A591 at Legburthwaite.

My main ascent was now behind me & the walk was living up to every expectation, here I cross at the early stages of St Johns Beck where I climb over a sty at the other side of the stone bridge.

Up to this point I still hadn’t seen a single walker on the fells.


Instead of heading over High Rigg I flanked the fell side via this narrow woodland path with St Johns Beck at my side for company.


Down by the riverside.


Wanthwaite Crags now dominating the flanks.


Wanthwaite Crags from the iconic Sosgill Bridge.

Early lunch time at St Johns-in-the-Vale.


More clouds gather as I took this picture looking back along the valley towards Castle Rock.


Heading toward Rake How approaching midday.


Hazy Lonscale Fell.


Blencathra from Rake How.


Looking back along the track at an old ruin I passed along the way.


The sun came out again as I reached St Johns-in-the-Vale Church.


Looking back on High Rigg as I take in the small ascent on Low Rigg, St Johns-in-the-Vale Church can be seen in the centre of the photo.


Wild ponies as I prepare to go over the sty, I choose an alternative route given the fact that If I spooked the pony I might get a kick from its back legs, it later turned out they were mostly interested in my biscuits & remaining fruit I had left.


Blencathra from Tewit Tarn.


Young Fawn as I head for Naddle Bridge.

This post is not up to my usual standard & for that I offer my sincere apologies, Its been a tough week within the Sharkey household with Mums first birthday since she sadly passed away, adding to this we had to say goodbye to our 12 year old Westie Lucy who sadly lost her battle with cancer during the week.

This post was a difficult one to publish as I like to make my blog as truthful as possible, but at times this is difficult to portray on my blog.

Thank you for taking your time to read my pages & I hope you are looking forward to my next post as I am when I walk it.

R.I.P Lucy

2002 – 2013


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