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Cam Crag Ridge – Lake District

By 27th October 2020April 9th, 2021Scrambling, Summer

Introduction

Cam Crag Ridge is one of the Lake District’s best scrambles – for those in the know. It offers everything the scrambler could want. There are stunning views, excellent scrambling on solid rock, and interesting approach and descent routes.

What is most interesting and useful about Cam Crag Ridge, is that it is given three grades. It is Grade 1, Grade 2 and Grade 3. Three grades at once? How can this be? Well, at almost every stage of the ridge, if you keep to the right it is much more difficult (Grade 3). But if you keep to the left, you can find a way up at Grade 1.

For this reason, we use it a lot on our courses. It’s perfect for an introduction to scrambling for the novice. But it’s also the ideal teaching ground for someone who wants to learn the rope-work to lead harder scrambles themselves.

Booking and Prices

If you’d like to know more about our scrambling courses in the Lake District, then see our main page for more details and prices. When you are ready, then get in touch to make an enquiry or a booking.

We also run scrambling courses in Snowdonia and on the west coast of Scotland.

Cam Crag Ridge in the Lake District – Approach

The usual approach to Cam Crag Ridge is to park (considerately) in Stonethwaite at the southern end of Borrowdale. From here, a path leads past the large campsite at Stonethwaite along Stonethwaite Beck, with the beck on your left as walk. After a while, you veer slightly to your right, without crossing any major water, as the main beck turns into the valley of Langstrath. You continue along the widening valley of Langstrath (often seen in aerial shots on BBC Countryfile) until you reach Black Moss Pot.

Black Moss Pot is a rock feature where Langstrath Beck narrows, then widens then narrows again. This creates a deep, still pool (in the summer). It’s a popular place for wild swimming and jumping from the short cliffs above the pool. After heavy rain, however, it becomes something of a raging torrent.

From Black Moss Pot, a path leads diagonally up the hillside towards the start of Cam Crag Ridge.

Cam Crag Ridge – the Route

A climber practices his leading technique on Cam Crag Ridge during a scrambling course in the Lake District

Learning to lead Grade 3 scrambles on Cam Crag Ridge

As mentioned above, Cam Crag Ridge has numerous options to make it harder or easier. A guidebook is very useful to understand the route properly. There are a number of rocky walls punctuated by grassy terraces. Each wall has a harder and more exposed option to the right end of the wall. Each of these is longer and more continuous than other options. The rock is clean and solid for the most part and the scrambling is almost always easier than it first appears. There is a plentiful supply of holds and foot ledges.

If this is not to your liking, then there is still excellent scrambling to be had at Grade 1 by picking an easier line to the left hand edge of each of the walls. The scrambling is more broken and discontinuous, and each of the sections is shorter than the Grade 3 option because of the slanting nature of the terraces. But it is still great scrambling and provides an easy romp to the top.

For something in between (Grade 2) – simply choose something in between!

The photo shows a scrambler on one of our learn to lead scrambling courses in the Lake District. This is great practice for learning how to lead your own Grade 3 scrambles safely, or perhaps as preparation for a first trip to the Alps.

Cam Crag Ridge – the Descent

A beautiful reflection in a dead calm tarn on Rosthwaite Fell after a scramble up Cam Crag Ridge

Reflection in a dead calm tarn above Cam Crag Ridge

Once at the top of Cam Crag Ridge, the rocky ridge peters out into a series of grassy and craggy domes with no obvious ‘summit’ in sight. There are plenty of options for what to next, but here are three of them.

First, you can head roughly north and pick your way over Racom Bands (and a beautiful small tarn) to find the descent down Big Stanger Gill. There is a good path, in places, and some stone steps. But it can be extremely slippery in the wet and is perhaps best done on a dry day.

Another option is to head towards Tarn at Leaves. You can go directly by contouring the eastern slopes of Rosthwaite Fell, or by heading to the top of Rosthwaite Fell and then down to the tarn. From here, a path leads down first to the north-west.  Then, when you are lower down, to the north-east and back to Stonethwaite. The views over Borrowdale from this path are excellent.

The view down Borrowdale from the top of Big Stanger Gill

The view down Borrowdale from the top of Big Stanger Gill

A final option, if you started your day early enough, is to head towards Glaramara. Once on the top of Glaramara you are spoiled for choice for ways to continue a longer walk or return to the valley.