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placename:- Keswick to Borrowdale
other name:- Borrowdale to Keswick
other name:- Borrowdale Road
parish Keswick parish, once in Cumberland
parish Borrowdale parish, once in Cumberland
county:- Cumbria
road; route
10Km square:- NY22
10Km square:- NY21
parish Keswick parish, once in Cumberland
parish Above Derwent parish, once in Cumberland
parish Borrowdale parish, once in Cumberland
county:- Cumbria
road; route
10Km square:- NY22
10Km square:- NY21
The main route is the Borrowdale Road down the east side of Derwent Water; there is an alternative route via Grange down the west side of the lake.

source:- Martineau 1855

Guide book, A Complete Guide to the English Lakes, by Harriet Martineau, published by John Garnett, Windermere, Westmorland, and by Whittaker and Co, London, 1855; published 1855-71.
Page 82:-
The road from Lodore to Keswick, about three miles, runs between the lake and the Wallabarrow and Falcon Crags. It is a charming walk in all seasons,- sheltered in winter, shady, for the most part, in summer; and in spring and autumn presenting a vast variety of foliage, bursting forth or fading.
date:- 1855
period:- 19th century, late; 1850s

descriptive text:- Ford 1839 (3rd edn 1843)

Description of Scenery in the Lake District, by William Ford, published by Charles Thurnham, London, et al, 1839; published 1839-52.
Page 167:-
date:- 1839
period:- 19th century, early; 1830s

old map:- Clarke 1787 map (Der)

Map series, lakes and roads to the Lakes, by James Clarke, engraved by S J Neele, 352 Strand, London, included in A Survey of the Lakes of Cumberland, Westmorland and Lancashire, published by James Clarke, Penrith, and in London etc, from 1787 to 1793.
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to Borrowdale
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date:- 1787
period:- 18th century, late; 1780s

old text:- Gilpin 1786

Guide book, Observations, Relative Chiefly to Picturesque Beauty, Made in the Year 1772, on Several Parts of England, Particularly the Mountains, and Lakes of Cumberland Westmoreland, by Rev William Gilpin, 1772-74; published 1786-1808.
vol.1 p.187
As we proceeded in our rout along the lake, the road grew wilder, and more romantic. There is not an idea more tremendous, than that of riding along the edge of a precipice, unguarded by any parapet, under impending rocks, which threaten above; while the surges of a flood, or the whirlpools of a rapid river, terrify below.
vol.1 p.189
As we edged the precipices, we every where saw fragments of rock, and large stones scattered about, which being loosened by frosts and rains, had fallen from the cliffs above; and shew the traveller what dangers he has escaped.
Once we found ourselves in hands more capricious than the elements. We rode along the edge of a precipice, under a steep woody rock; when some large stones came rolling from the top, and rushing through the thickets above us, bounded across the road, and plunged into the lake. At that instant we had made a pause to observe some part of the scenery; and by half a dozen yards escaped mischief. The wind was loud, and we conceived the stones had been dislodged by it's violence: but on riding a little further, we discovered the real cause. High above our heads, at the summit of the cliff, sat a group of mountaineer children, amusing themselves with pushing stones from the top; and watching, as they plunged into the lake.- Of us they knew nothing, who were screened from them by intervening thickets.

placename:- Castellet
date:- 1786
period:- 18th century, late; 1780s

old map:- Crosthwaite 1783-94 (Der)

The only good road survives as the road, the other two are now footpaths.
Series of maps, An Accurate Map of the Matchless Lake of Derwent, of the Grand Lake of Windermere, of the Beautiful Lake of Ullswater, of Broadwater or Bassenthwaite Lake, of Coniston Lake, of Buttermere, Crummock and Loweswater Lakes, and Pocklington's Island, by Peter Crosthwaite, Kendal, Cumberland now Cumbria, 1783 to 1794.
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Three routes are shown, from west to east these are labelled:-
The New Road Impassable / The only good road of the Three / Impassable
date:- 1783=1794
period:- 18th century, late; 1780s; 1790s

old map:- Crosthwaite 1783-94 (Der)

Series of maps, An Accurate Map of the Matchless Lake of Derwent, of the Grand Lake of Windermere, of the Beautiful Lake of Ullswater, of Broadwater or Bassenthwaite Lake, of Coniston Lake, of Buttermere, Crummock and Loweswater Lakes, and Pocklington's Island, by Peter Crosthwaite, Kendal, Cumberland now Cumbria, 1783 to 1794.
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date:- 1783=1794
period:- 18th century, late; 1780s; 1790s

descriptive text:- West 1778 (11th edn 1821)

Guide book, A Guide to the Lakes, by Thomas West, published by William Pennington, Kendal, Cumbria once Westmorland, and in London, 1778 to 1821.
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Page 92:-
The road is along Barrowside, on the margin of the lake, narrow, yet safe. It soon enters a glade, through which the lake is sweetly seen by turns. In approaching the ruins of Gowdar-crag, which hangs towering forward, the mind recoils at the huge fragments of crags, piled up on both sides, which are seen through a thicket of rocks and wood. But there is nothing of the danger remaining that Mr. Gray apprehended here; the road being carefully kept open. Proceed by the bridge of one arch, over Park-gill, and another over Barrow-beck. Here Gowdar-crag presents itself in all its terrible majesty of rock, trimmed with trees that hang from its numerous fissures. Above this is seen a towering grey rock, rising ma-
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Page 93:-
[ma]jestically rude, and near it, Shuttenoer, a spiral rock not less in height, hanging more forward over its base. Betwixt these, an awful chasm is formed, through which the waters of Watanlath are hurled. This is the Niagara of the lake, the renowned cataract of Lowdore. ... The wonderful scenes, peculiar to this part, continue to the gorge of Borrowdale [2], and higher; and Castle-crag may be seen, in the centre of the amphitheatre, threatening to block up the pass it once defended. ...
[2] This scene is the subject of No.2, of Mr. Farrington's views.
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Page 96:-
Mr. Gray was so much intimidated with the accounts of Borrowdale, that he proceeded no farther than Grange. But no such difficulties as he feared are now to be met with. The road into Borrowdale is improved since his time, at least as far as is necessary for any one to proceed to see what is curious. It serpentizes through the pass above Grange; and though upon the edge of a precipice that hangs over the river, it is, nevertheless, safe. ...
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Page 100 (The other route down the valley):-
Return to Keswick, by Grange, and if the sun shines in the evening, the display of rocks on the opposite shore, from Castle-rock to Wallow-crag, is amazingly grand. The parts are the same as in the morning ride, but the
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Page 101:-
dispositions are entirely new. The crystal surface of the Lake reflecting waving woods and rocks, backed by the finest arrangement of lofty mountains, intersecting and rising above each other, in great variety of forms, is a scene not to be equalled elsewhere. The whole ride down the western side is pleasant, though the road is but indifferent.
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Addendum; Mr Gray's Journal, 1769
Page 203:-
Oct. 3. A heavenly day; rose at seven, and walked out [from Keswick] under the conduct of my landlord to Borrowdale; the grass was covered with a hoar frost, which soon melted and exhaled a thin blueish smoke; crossed the meadows obliquely, catching a diversity of views among the hills, over the lake and islands, and changing prospect at every ten paces. Left Cockshut ... and Castle-hill, a loftier and more rugged hill behind me, and drew near the foot of Wallow-cragg, whose bare and rugged brow, cut perpendicularly down above 400 feet, (as I guess, though the people call it much more) awfully overlooks the way. Our path here tends to the left, and the ground gently rising, and covered with a glade of scattered trees and bushes on the very margin of the water, opens both ways the most delicious view that my eyes every beheld. Opposite are the thick woods of Lord Egremont, and Newland valley, with green and smiling fields embosomed in the dark cliffs; to the left, the jaws of Borrowdale, with that turbulent chaos of mountain behind mountain, rolled in confusion; beneath you, and stretching far away to the right, the shining purity of the lake-reflecting rocks, woods, fields, and inverted tops of hills, just ruffled by the breeze, enough to show it is alive, with the white buildings of Keswick, Crosthwaite church, and Skiddaw, for a back-ground at a distance. Behind you the magnificent heights of Wallow-crag: here the glass played its part divinely; the place is called Carf-close-reeds; and I choose to set down these barbarous names, that any body may enquire on the place, and easily find the particular station that I mean. This scene continues to Barrowgate, and a little further, passing a brook called Barrow-beck, we entered Borrowdale: the crags named Lowdore-banks began now to impend terribly over the way, and more terribly when you hear that three years since an immense mass of rock tumbled at once from the brow, barred all access to the dale (for this is the only road) till they could work their way through it. Luckily no one was passing by at the time of this fall; but down the side of the mountain, and far into the lake, lie dispersed the huge fragments of this
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Page 204:-
ruin, in all shapes and in all directions: something farther we turned aside into a coppice, ascending a little in front of Lowdore water-fall: the height appeared to be about 200 feet, the quantity of water not great, though (these three days excepted) it hath rained daily for near two months before; but then the stream was nobly broken, leaping from rock to rock, and foaming with fury. On one side a towering crag, that spired up to equal, if not overtop, the neighbouring cliffs (this lay all in shade and darkness) on the other hand a rounder, broader, projecting hill shagged with wood, and illuminated by the sun, which glanced sideways on the upper part of the cataract. The force of the water wearing a deep channel in the ground, hurries away to join the lake. We descended again, and passed the stream over a rude bridge. Soon after we came under Gowdar-crag, a hill more formidable to the eye, and to the apprehension, than that of Lowdore; the rocks at top deep-cloven perpendicularly by the rains, hanging loose and nodding forwards, seen just starting from their base in shivers. The whole way down, and the road on both sides, is strewed with piles of the fragments, strangely thrown across each other, and of a dreadful bulk; the place reminds me of those passes in the Alps, where the guides tell you to move with speed, and say nothing, lest the agitation of the air should loosen the snows above, and bring down a mass that would overwhelm a caravan, I took their counsel here, and hastened on in silence.
   Non ragioniam di lor, ma guarda e passa.
The hills here are clothed all up their steep sides with oak, ash, birch, holly, &c., ... Here we met a civil young farmer overseeing his reapers (for it is now oat harvest) who conducted us to a neat white house in the village of Grange, which is built on a rising ground in the midst of a valley; round it the mountains
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Page 205:-
form an awful amphitheatre, and through it obliquely runs the Derwent, clear as glass, and showing under its bridge every trout that passes. Beside the village rises a round eminence of a rock covered entirely in old trees, and over that more proudly towers Castle-cragg, invested also with wood on its sides, and bearing on its naked top some traces of a fort, said to be Roman, By the side of this hill, which almost blocks up the way, the valley turns to the left, and contracts its dimensions till there is hardly any road but the rocky bed of the river. The wood of the mountains increases, and their summits grow loftier to the eye, and of more fantastic forms; among them appear Eagle's-cliff, Dove's-nest, Whitedale pike, &c. celebrated in the annals of Keswick. The dale opens about four miles higher, till you come to Seathwaite, where lies the way, mounting the hill to the right, that leads to the wad-mines; all farther access is here barred to prying mortals, only there is a little path winding over the fells, and for some weeks in the year passable to the dalesmen; but the mountains know well that these innocent people will not reveal the mysteries of their ancient kingdom, 'the reign Chaos and Old Night,' only I learned that this dreadful road, divided again, leads one branch to Ravenglass, and the other to Hawkshead.
For me , I went no farther than the farmer's (better than four miles from Keswick) at Grange; ...
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Page 206:-
We returned leisurely home the way we came, but saw a new landscape; the features indeed were the same in part, but many new ones were disclosed by the mid-day sun, and the tints were entirely changed: ... it was perfectly serene, and hot as mid-summer.
date:- 1769; 1778
period:- 18th century, late; 1760s; 1770s

descriptive text:- Gents Mag 1751

Map of the Black Lead Mines in Cumberland, and area, scale about 2 miles to 1 inch, published in the Gentleman's Magazine, 1751.
We left Keswic at 9 in the morning, and wou'd have proceeded by water, and sent our horses overland, but this way of travelling wou'd have cost us more time than we cou'd afford. On our left, in the way from Keswic, a ridge of rude craggy rocks extended near 4 miles; on our right was Keswic lake, and beyond it a group of pyramidical hills, which formed an uncommon appearance. ... On the West side of the Darwent in this Herculean streight, and directly under one of these stupendous precipices lies the village of Grange. The white prominent rocks, which were discovered at an immense height, thro' the apertures of the wood, would have filled a poetical imagination with the ideas of the Dryades, the Bacchum in remotis, and other fables of antiquity. Here we were obliged many times to alight, the gut being very rocky, and the mountains would indeed have been impassable, if the river had not made a way.
We had now reached the Bowder stone of Barrowdale, ... it lies close by the road side, on the right hand, ... From hence we had good road thro' groves of hazel, which in this vale, as there is no occasion for hedges, grow very large, and bear excellent nuts.

date:- 1751
period:- 18th century, late; 1750s

old print:-
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Print, uncoloured engraving, Borrowdale from near the Bowder Stone, Cumberland, drawn by T Aspland, engraved by W Banks, Edinburgh, published by J Garnett, Windermere, Westmorland, 1850s-60s?
printed at bottom left, right, centre:-
date:- 1850=1869
period:- 19th century, late

Old Cumbria Gazetteer - JandMN: 2008

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