4.2 of 5 (12 votes)

Castle Crag and Dalton's Cave

A leisurely walk (countryside) in national park Lake District in Cumbria, England, about 4.90km (3.04 mi) long with an estimated walking time of about 1:45h. It is unsuitable for families with children, prams & pushchairs, wheelchairs.
Elevation Profile
Ascent 159m (521ft)
Descent 155m (508ft)
Max. Elevation 230m (754ft)
Altitude Gain & Loss 314m (1029ft)
Start & End
Distance 4.90km
Duration ~1:45h
Car Free Walks TeamCreated by Timwoods on 07 Jul 2009
Millican Dalton is a Lake District legend. The "Professor of Adventure", he spent many years living in a cave on Castle Crag, at the southern end of Derwent Water. A walk to the cave, and then on to Castle Crag, is one of the Lakes' best short walks, and perfect for young kids. If you are feeling flush, you can even take the ferry across Derwent Water from Keswick - a fine start to a great car-free walk.

Walk Functions


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Walk Map

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OS Grid NY253174
Start the walk in the small hamlet of Grange. There are regular buses here, and it's just a short walk from the Brandelhow Bay landing site on Derwent Water, should you decide to come by boat.
OS Grid NY250165
From Grange, follow the footpath past Holmcrag Wood and past two campsites. The large pool at the bend in the River Derwent is good for swimming, if you fancy a quick dip. At the fork just past the bridge, take the left hand path.
About 1.00 km (~0.62 miles) from
OS Grid NY251162
Up a short, steep path, you will find Dalton's Cave - it's marked by a National Trust sign. The views from the cave entrance are spectacular - it's easy to see why he wanted to stay here.
About 0.31 km (~0.19 miles) from
OS Grid NY253159
Retrace your steps down from the cave, and continue south along the footpath.
About 0.41 km (~0.25 miles) from
OS Grid NY252154
You will reach a gate, where a path cuts diagonally across a field and up to Castle Crag.
About 0.50 km (~0.31 miles) from
OS Grid NY248159
The top of Castle Crag is a mysterious place. Just below the summit is a disused quarry; over the years, visitors have created a series of sculptures from the discarded stones. There are incredible views at the top - and being below the summit lines offers a fascinating new perspective on the Lakes.
About 0.66 km (~0.41 miles) from
OS Grid NY246158
Drop down via the same path and join the riverside path that runs to the west of Castle Crag. This follows the river for an enjoyable return to Grange.
About 0.18 km (~0.11 miles) from
OS Grid NY251173
There is a small tea shop in Grange, if you have a wait for the bus back home. Alternatively, hike a further 2km to Derwent Water, one of the most scenic lakes in the District.
About 1.53 km (~0.95 miles) from

4 comments... join the discussion!

Castle Crag Route
23 Sep 2016
Dalton's Cave

Hello Carfreewalks, thank you for supplying such a good rout! I have tried twice, to find Cave and have missed it both times! I now look forwards to returning, with your route and grid refs. Thank you again and I will let you know, how I get on!

07 Jan 2014
Castle Crag Route

Hi Jim Thanks for the feedback. Our route actually suggests to retrace your steps back to the main path, along the bottom, rather than head directly up towards the crag. But the waypoints may not have shown that, so I have added an extra one for clarification. As far as I remember, there are good paths all the way along that route; there may well be other tracks leading towards the crags, but these are probably used by climbers. Thanks Tim

Jim Meehan
06 Jan 2014
Castle Crag Route

Hi I have been to Castle Crag twice before, each time using the right hand path at the fork by the lower streams. Went there today and, having passed the two caves marked by NT 'do not light fires' plaques, reached just below the summit, but turned back as the path overhung a steep drop to the rocks below and frankly could not see how anyone other than hardy climbers. or those equipped with ropes. could get around the corner to a safer path. There was no way of seeing what path was around the final corner so I did not take a chance that my friend and I would become cragfast. I came online this evening to check for incidents of falls on the crag and found your site. I am surprised that you suggest using the left hand fork route. There really is a precarious drop to be guarded against just below that summit. Cheers Jim in Liverpool

Cecil Qadir
26 Sep 2011
Thank You

Thank you for posting the walk on the web. look forward to doing it during half term this year.

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