A suitable pre-Theatre by the Lake evening production, when the cloud level is low and you don’t fancy walking with no views in the damp. It comes to just under 9 miles with 2100ft of ascent.
From the Lodore Wood car park up the Watendlath road, take the road south till an obvious track leads off right, then runs parallel to the road, then to a bridge over the Watendlath Beck. Cross this then take the pleasant path from which sheep have been excluded, to Watendlath, where a cafe is a welcome option. The absence of sheep means floral interest, even in late August: many devil’s bits, heath spotted and marsh orchids still, and near the hamlet, grass of Parnassus. Follow the well trod path over the bridge then right to climb over and down to Rosthwaite, with excellent views up Borrowdale from the top. At the road turn briefly left then right, now on the Cumbria Way. Follow the signs for this to the “New” bridge over the Derwent, and cross, taking the second path off left which climbs as a track then path to a stile, a junction with the path up from the Honister Bridleway. Climb to the top of Castle crag for views, then return and carry on down to the Bridleway, and turn right down this to the lovely river and Borrowdale Oak woods. Past the campsite, keep on the Cumbria Way as it skirts Grange and comes out onto a lane near the Borrowdale Gates Hotel. Keep on N on the lane for 500yds and turn right as for the Cumbria Way, leaving it when you enter open access land just past a wood. The path right leads to a footbridge hopefully over, not in, the Derwent. Turn immediately right to the main road by the Lodore Hotel. Turn left up the road to find the path over to the Watendlath Beck bridge of earlier, which is not as on the maps, but further N and signposted, where a car park for Shepherds Crag used to be, (and may still be) with a cafe which is definitely not there. If you wanted to see Shepherds Crag close up, carry straight on after crossing the Derwent, and after arriving at the road find a path to the Crag, traversing S underneath it on mostly rough Boulders and scree, to join the path in the wood. At this point, coming from the S, fork right and up through the woods, best to follow the route south of the river, do not cross it. This path turns S and joins your earlier route at Watendlath Bridge, to retrace your steps from there.