Route info: Day 3

Cumbria Way route between Great Langdale and Keswick

Distance: 15.5 miles / 25 km (approx)
650 metres / 2,150 ft (approx)
Terrain: The Cumbria Way route between Great Langdale and Keswick offers easy and level valley walking through Mickleden before a steep and tiring ascent of Stake Pass and equally steep descent into Langstrath and an easy walk through the valley. Walled tracks, field paths and a section on duckboards lead you to Derwentwater and a delightful lakeshore wooded trail. More woodland paths and a short section of road walking brings you to Portinscale from where a fenced path over fields will lead you into Keswick.
Food and drink:
There are no eating places for the first 9 miles of todays walk until you reach Rosthwaite where there is a cafe and shop. Grange has a couple of cafes as does Portinscale – see more detailed information at the foot of this page
Route grading: Remote valley walking and steep, rugged fellwalking is followed by easy walking through fields and woods. Navigation could be tricky if the cloud is down at the top of Stake Pass.
Route map:
To view an online map of the route visit the Route Stages Summary page
My verdict:
Stunning! This stage offers you the best of the Lake District in 15.5 miles – a wonderful days walking.

About Great Langdale
Dungeon Ghyll is a small cluster of buildings nestling below the impressive ‘front’ of the Langdale Pikes and shares its name with a spectacular waterfall which tumbles down a rough ravine. Dominating the scenery are the Langdale Pikes, impressively built up almost in front of your eyes, this is one place you will be more than happy to sit and rest your weary feet whilst soaking in the view.

There are two Dungeon Ghyll hotels – Old and New – as well as Sticklebarn Tavern which ensures that your refreshment needs are well and truly taken care of. Dungeon Ghyll has one major problem for those seeking a bed for the night – there is not a massive choice so try to book well in advance.
Discover more about Great Langdale

The Old Dungeon Ghyll nestles at the foot of the Langdale Pikes © David Harrison

Day 3: Cumbria Way route between Great Langdale and Keswick

The Cumbria Way leaves Dungeon Ghyll by traversing the lower slopes of the Langdale Pikes on a rough path before leveling out on the flat valley floor of Mickleden. Bowfell and the Langdale Pikes keep a constant watch on you with with Rossett Pike rising up ahead of you as you follow the wide track through Mickleden. Close to a footbridge and a sheepfold (perfect for sheltering in!) at the head of the valley, a slab indicates the direction of Stake Pass and the Cumbria Way with the onward route heading for Rossett Gill.

A reconstructed path zigzags its way up the fellside – take the opportunity to stop and admire the views behind you as you pause for a breather. The top of the pass is marked by a cairn after walking an undulating path around and through the moraines that litter Langdale Coombe. Take a moment here to view the ‘rear’ of the Langdale Pikes and apart from the knobble of Pike o’ Stickle you may well be surprised by the moorland aspect of these (from the front) formidable fells.

A rugged crossing of the pass and an occasionally stony descent into Langstrath alongside the delightful Langstrath Beck. Once on the valley bottom the official route stays to the right hand side although the left hand side of the beck is normally dryer and easier walking. Whichever way you decide to go though do not omit a visit to Black Moss Pot – a mecca for those who like mountain dips!

The route heads now to Greenup Gill where after crossing a footbridge over a delightful waters meet (perfect place to sit awhile and eat your packed lunch whilst looking up at the formidable looking Eagle Crag) you swing left and follow a stony track into Rosthwaite – for those wishing to visit Stonethwaite take the footbridge a mile or so down the track on your left hand side.

On leaving Rosthwaite, the Cumbria Way follows the River Derwent via a lane and the choice of stepping stones or a bridge slightly further downstream. The route now leads through the steep and wooded Jaws of Borrowdale alongside the River Derwent past Gowder Dub (perfect for a paddle to revive those aching feet) OR there is the option of tackling Castle Crag and rejoining the route further on. Whichever way you choose the route joins together again at Gowder Dub and actually bypasses the village of Grange. However most Cumbria Way’ers will pop into Grange and sample a cuppa and a slice of cake at one of the excellent cafes in the village.

The route branches off to the right half a mile out of Grange and takes advantage of some superbly positioned duck-boards at Manesty to walk over the boggiest sections of the path. Pass through Manesty Wood on a metalled track and you are soon on the shore of Derwentwater amidst spoil heaps of long disused mine workings. The way now follows a delightful path through woods and alongside the lake although the temptation may be strong to catch the ferry straight to Keswick – avoid it as that is cheating!

After leaving the lakeshore and passing Hawse End outdoor education centre you take a right turn through a field and then Lingholme Woods before entering Portinscale on the road. As the road takes a sharp left turn you keep straight on, past a hotel and over a suspension bridge before taking fenced right hand turn through fields and into Keswick.

Eating places & shops between Langdale & Keswick

Grocery Shops

Langdale – the NT campsite has a small shop
Rosthwaite – well stocked general store

Cafes/Bars/Tea Rooms

RosthwaiteFlock In Tea room – directly on the route as you leave Rosthwaite
There are a couple of inns in Rosthwaite only a few yards from the route
Grange – Grange Bridge Cottage Tea Rooms and Grange Cafe are both only a few hundred yards from the route
Portinscale – Chalet Tea Rooms offer food and drink and are directly on the route