Grange to High Spy: A Lovely Scramble
Hollie looks out onto Near Tongue Gill

"Isn't Grange lovely" you will think to yourself a dozen times as you pass through this lazy village. There's a lovely bridge with a lovely river and lovely houses built from lovely lake stone. We passed lovely hanging baskets at a lovely coffee shop and two lads drying their shirts and lovely sweaty socks on the riverbank in the sun. It's great is Grange, but its real attraction lies high above on High Spy.

To really appreciate the surrounding beauty of the vale you have to gain some height. Once you do, you'll see the hilly protrusion of Castle Crag, way down in the valley, nestled in a tangle of trees. Opposite, Derwent Water will begin to open up. The scramble from Grange towards Maiden Moor isn't as menacing as it appears from the ground, but steep and a good challenge nonetheless.

Hollie, backdropped by other Wainwrights, passes some sheep

You're likely to spot a wayward sheep on the way up. Don't let the ease at which they hop around the mountainside get you down. Some animals are just gifted. An atmosphere of pessimism is the last thing you want following you on your jolly ascent of the fell.

The final 100m-or-so-scramble through wild heather leads you to a path running through the conjoined summits of Maiden Moor, Catbells and High Spy. You will almost be able to see the entirety of Derwent Water now, a crescent nestled behind Catbells, which in itself is quite a sight.

Hollie crosses another peak

We lunched near here, trying to pick out the mountains we recognised from the peak display. The views onwards continue to impress. From High Spy, the cavernous crack of Far Tongue Gill was the most striking feature for me: the earth's crust rent in a sprawling network of scars. Before you know it, you'll be welcomed by the sight of the miniature patchwork of picturesque slate houses that make up Grange and back where you began.

        Words & Photography: Scott Norris (@_scott_norris) // summer 2016

Map and Directions

high-spy elevation chart

Directions To High Spy From Grange



  1. Follow the road across the bridge and through the village of Grange. Continue along the road for about 400m until you almost reach the Borrowdale Gates Hotel. Go through the gate on the left, follow the path to a high point, then turn right and pass the cluster of trees (on your right).
  2. Follow the path until you reach a rocky stripe running down the side of Maiden Moor. (on the left).
  3. Take the steep scrambly ascent via the rocky stripe. Power through until you reach a cluster of heather near the top. Keep heading west until you reach the straight worn track heading both north and south.
  4. Take the left fork towards High Spy (or for an extended walk and no scramble, take the right fork towards Cat Bells and double back at the summit).
  5. Keep heading south past High Spy's summit until you begin to descend once more and the path branches off to the right.
  6. Take the right path and follow it along the left hand side of the river.
  7. At the fork, turn left and cross the river, continuing north north east past castle crag until you revisit the high point near Borrowdale Gates Hotel.
  8. Take the path back down and through Grange to the start of the trail.