The Bowder Stone :

Grange Village

Grange Accommodation  

The Bowder Stone, estimated at 2,000 tons, around 9m high, and 15m in diameter.

One of Lakeland’s most famous features, this 2000 ton stone, some 30 feet high, fifty feet across and ninety feet in circumference, rests in a state of delicate balance. It did not topple down from the mountain side like most visitors assume, for it is not a local rock. It was most likely carried here from Scotland by the glaciers of the Ice Age. It possibly gets its name from Balder, son of the Norse God Odin, but there are no legends attached to this boulder.

Postcard of the Bowder Stone from 1890

It had been the idea of the founders of the National Trust that gifts to the nation of places of beauty or of historic interest would form fit memorials to those who had passed away. The president of the National Trust, Princess Louise, daughter of Queen Victoria, and sister of King Edward VII, wanted to make a gift in memory of the King, when he died in 1910. Grange Fell was purchased, which included the Bowder Stone, and a memorial stone to King Edward was placed on the fell (grid ref 90: NY 258167). Eight years earlier Princess Louise had performed the opening ceremony at Brandlehow Wood, the first Lake District’s first aquisition.
A ladder allows you to climb to the top. It is a short level walk from the National Trust car park on the Keswick to Borrowdale road, near Grange.
It is a very popular site for rock climbers, bouldering (climbing without ropes) is practiced, often with mattresses placed below the climber as the more athletic attempt the overhang, and for the Bowder stone crag nearby.

‘The Bowder Stone’ by John Atkinson Grimshaw (1836-1893)

Borrowdale, strewn with tumbled rocks, was once avoided by travellers or provoked near-terror in the few who ventured there. The Victorian painter John Atkinson Grimshaw, most famous for his pictures of scenes lit by moonlight, must have visited it between 1863 and 1868, when he was painting the Lake District and collecting photographs of the region. These, and the Pre-Raphaelite paintings in the Leeds collections, inspired the meticulous realism and detail of this picture of Borrowdale’s largest rock.
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Grid Ref : NY 255164