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Tucked high amongst the fells in a secluded and hidden valley on the eastern side of Borrowdale is the picture perfect hamlet of Watendlath. It sits nestling in a glacier-carved hollow beside the mirrored waters of a tarn and surrounded by trees, crags, and network of ancient dry-stone enclosed fields. It is a delight to visit and makes an ideal target for an exploratory walk through Borrowdale. From Keswick the best way to access the walk is to take advantage of the regular water bus service on Derwentwater. This gives a prompt approach to the two main villages in the valley, Grange and Rosthwaite, and also allows you to take in the impressive 2000 ton erratic boulder, the Bowder Stone. Most of the walking is along valley-bottom paths but there is a bit of a climb over a fell pass from Rosthwaite to Watendlath, and there is also a short steep descent at High Lodore. The water bus service can be caught in either a clockwise and anti-clockwise circuit.
Keswick - Bowder Stone - Watendlath - Keswick
4 - 5 hours
1. From the Brandelhow landing stage follow the path then track through the woods of Manesty Park to join the minor road which is then followed to Grange.
2. From Grange cross the bridge over the River Derwent. Turn right on to the B5289 and follow it into Borrowdale for 700m to the start of a bridleway on the left at the entrance to a car park. Ignore the car park and follow the bridleway as it climbs first past an old slate quarry, then below a rock face to eventually arrive at the Bowder Stone.
3. Continue on the bridleway from the Bowder Stone and descend to re-join the B5289. Follow the road along Borrowdale to a bridleway on the left just on the edge of Rosthwaite.
4. Follow the bridleway over the beck and along the pleasant lane by Hazel Bank. Past Hazel Bank the bridleway climbs steadily to a broad col with superb views at Puddingstone Bank. An easy walk then leads down to the delightful hamlet and tarn at Watendlath.
5. From Watendlath follow the permissive path down the western side of Watendlath Beck to a junction by the footbridge at Moss Mire. Ignore the bridge; instead continue on the path over a brief rise to then descend through the trees of Mossmire Coppice down to the hotel at High Lodore. Follow the path around the back of the hotel and join the B5289.
6. Turn left onto the B5289 and follow it for about 50m to a path on the right. Take this and follow it over the fields to a footbridge over the River Derwent. Cross it and then follow the footpath around the shores of Derwentwater back to the Brandelhow landing stage.