Exploring Castle Crag - Photography Log

I've started my new YouTube channel and posted my first video!

Now, I'll be the first to admit that I've got a long way to go and a lot to learn about filming my photography journey, but I am reasonably happy with my first attempt and it's nice to finally stop planning and to actually start. 

You see, I've been thinking about starting a Vlog for ages and have been slowly plucking up the courage to get out there and have a go! You can read my blog post on some of the lessons I learned filming my first video here.

One of the ideas that I've had with my new channel has been to link each video to a blog post which will go into a little more depth about the route and perhaps show a few more images that I weren't featured in my vlog.

So today's post will accompany the video I shot recently, as I explored Castle Crag, (a small Fell in the Borrowdale valley in the English Lake District). The full video can be seen here.

Exploring Castle Crag - The Route

A Full Route Description and Directions can be found here

If you would like to walk this route, a full route map with gradient information, directions and photographic points of interest can be found here.


I arrived at the National Trust car park in Rosthwaite village at around 8:00am. As I have never been to Castle Crag before, I decided to shoot my first YouTube video here, as I wanted to show how I approach a location for the very first time.

I filmed a brief introduction to the video in the car and set off, following the Cumbrian Way footpath out of the village, towards Castle Crag. 

I enjoyed filming B-roll of the surrounding countryside and of my hike towards Castle Crag - although I now realise that, in order to film yourself hiking up a mountain, you effectively have to walk up it twice!

Considering that a few days earlier I was forced to abort my first ever attempt at filming a vlog, due to strong winds and a blizzard, the conditions that met me as I climbed Castle Crag could not have been more different; a mild and gentle breeze, intermittent blue skies, Spring was finally in the air and it wasn't long before I had to take off my hat, gloves and outer layers.

The walk itself is fairly straightforward. The first part follows the Cumbria Way, before veering off to the left through a small gate, followed by a fairly short but steep climb.

Towards the top of this climb, I went through a small gate and was greeted by a fantastic location - hillocks, crags, trees, stone walls and grasses; all of which surrounded by the beautiful Borrowdale valley. It was like a photographers sweet shop, everywhere you turn, there's something to photograph.

But I kept calm, resisted the urge to get my camera out and start snapping away and logged the spot in my head so I could return on the way back down (more on that to come).

Turning away from "photography candy land", I walked towards the Castle Crag summit, not yet visible behind the spoil heap of the old quarry. Here the footpath crosses over the wall via a ladder stile and climbs the large bank of dark grey slate that has a small path cut into it. I decided to film this portion of the climb, which meant climbing it 3 times in the end - not an easy climb as it is steep and can be a bit loose under foot!

At the top of the spoil heap, some slate had been arranged into "turrets". It looked like something from a film set of Lord of the Rings, or Game of Thrones (or something similar).

I continued up to the summet where there stands a memorial to the first world war - a really fitting place for a memorial, looking out over the Borrowdale valley and accross towards Derwentwater.

I've recently been experimenting with time-lapse's, so set-up a time-laps from the memorial and had a long chat with another hiker who appeared at the summit while the time-laps was going.

Exploring Castle Crag -  Images and Locations

On my way back down, I stopped to compose an image in the area of the slate "turrets", which was supposed to be in the video - but being a complete rookie, I pressed the wrong button on my smartphone and nothing recorded. Unfortunately, I was unaware of this at the time, otherwise I'd have re-shot the footage.

However, I do like the composition and I'll definitely return another day to try again in more favourable conditions!

I then returned to the spot that I found on my way up and spent some time wondering around, composing an image. Once I was happy with the composition, it was just a case of waiting for the elusive light. 

In terms of possible compositions, I was pleasantly surprised with what Castle Crag had to offer. For such a small and unassuming Fell, Castle Crag punches well above it's weight. With spectacular views of Derwentwater and the Borrowdale valley, photographers after the grand vista's and panorama's will be in their element. Likewise, there is enough small detail and foreground interest to keep photographers who like the small, more intimate landscapes.

In Summary

All in all, I am really happy with how the day went. Not only have I now started my YouTube channel, but I also had a really good recce of a new area (which is always exciting) and I'm really looking forward to returning again and again in the future.

The beauty of this little Fell is in it's height (or lack of height). It's quite an easy Fell to climb and, with only one main path up and down from Rossthwaite, I'd be happy navigating it in the dark, either before sunrise or after sunset. And with great views and tons of potential, I can't wait to get back up there in different conditions and at different times of the year.

So plenty of scope for future visits!