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Central Fells - High Raise

Journey to the Centre of the Lakes!


Skiddaw from High Raise

Many refer to High Raise as High White Stones and although AW uses the word 'wrongly' to those who do, you can be forgiven, for the summit has an adornment of 'white stones' nearby and for me on my last visit, everything was white in an early March snow storm!   The top of the fell is a broad plateau and is adorned by a large stony cairn and an OS survey pillar about 150 yards west of an old fence line.  With a literal translation the name can become High Cairn and the fell is often regarded as Lakeland's most central peak.  Although many may suggest other peaks in the neighbourhood, High Raise's claim to the title has become the opinion of most.  Sadly, the mountain isn't regarded as the most spectacular, so its appearance on this site is an attempt to fulfill an aim of trying to give it better exposure and to encourage you there away from the more popular peaks!

AW Says:Lakeland's most centrally situated fell..... a tumultous skyline.

This walk has its start in Grasmere and for the Wainwright 'baggers' amongst you includes 7 of his 214 - quite a count for one day's walking.  The walk  is about 11 miles and in that respect is a little longer than the average for a Lakeland outing, so please make note of that.  Geographically the fell's altitude gives it seniority over its neighbours with many valleys having it as their watershed, although oddly for its position you can only see short sections of two lakes, namely Bassenthwaite Lake and Derwentwater.  The bonus however, is the fell's ideal location to see all of England's 3000' mountains, so try to get a good day of visibility for your ascent.

An A-10 Tank Buster from Silver HowParking at any convenient location in Grasmere, the first part of the walk is to ascend Silver How.  This is the first major objective but you can bypass it if you feel you don't want to ascend the peak.  However, Silver How is a Wainwright itself and you may be out on this walk with the intention of bagging it for your 214 tally.  Essentially the climb ascends the col making a bee-line for Chapel Stile in Langdale.  This is a less frequented fell top but deserves an ascent on a clear day just for its sweeping views across Grasmere and Rydal Water.  As a kid I remember watching A-10 'tank busters' banking over, their underbellies exposed, as they flew low level between Ambleside and Dunmail Raise enroute for some war game, Cold War, target.

Did you know?The Old Norse, 'hjalmr' means 'a helmet' and gives its name to Helm Crag, the crag which looks like a helmet.

The last time I traversed the ridge from Silver Howe to High Raise I met not another soul.  In good weather it is an easy parade with features which give it the air of a less craggy, Crinkle Crags.  The path has a strange habit of turning to and fro, so take care in hill fog conditions and navigate well.  On clear days though, the views swing from vistas over the Coniston Fells, glimpses of the Langdale Pikes and Bowfell and to your right magnificent outlooks onto the Eastern Fells including Helvellyn and Fairfield.  I won't deny that there are some boggy sections on this ridge, but you can easily circumnavigate them although think carefully and don't exaggerate path erosion.  On a sunny summer's day you would do no better to take your time and find a quiet space to view the higher fells - make it a good one though, as in holidaytime it could well be busy.

Langdale Pikes from the Ridge

After traversing Blea Rigg you do have the option of returning to Grasmere via the crest of Eagle Crag which brings you down onto the Easedale path just west of Belles Knot.  This is a good way down if you need to get off the fells quickly or you want to make this outing a little shorter than the published itinerary.

The next objective is Sergeant Man.  This is another Wainwright and from your approach route it looks like a significant prominent peak.  However in reality, as is often the case with some of Alf's arbitrary choices of fell, Sergeant Man could be described as a buttress of High Raise, a finely topped spire marking the south-east terminus of the roof of High Raise.  The summit of Sergeant Man is only a few metres less than its bulky neighbour and offers a good prospect of the summit plateau.  An easy stroll is all that separates you from the highest point of the day.

The summit of High Raise is, unlike other fells hereabout, more akin to the tops of the eastern fells.  The top is a broad grassy dome where the sheep love to roam and which presents the walker with a fine vantage point for the rest of the district.  Although few might claim High Raise as one of their finest peaks, the summit affords fine panoramas and due to its central position at the hub of the Lake District, may claim to have one of the best all round views.  What's good is you can reach it from the main radial valleys of Lakeland namely Langdale, Borrowdale and of course the main north-south axis through the district which includes Grasmere, although today's route does make it a more challenging and longer mountain day.

Wainwright left this box but never did ascend the HowitzerNorth-north-east to High White Stones, leads you on your return leg to Grasmere village.  Joining the Coast-to-Coast footpath on Greenup Edge, your next objective is the traverse of the ridge from Calf Crag to Helm Crag.  This fine little ridge, incorporates 3 Wainwright summits terminating in the ascent of Helm Crag.  Depending on the weather conditions and your mettle, I'll leave it to you whether you climb the 'Howitzer' to top the true summit of Helm Crag.  Wainwright gives Helm Crag lots of merit and famously on 'Helm Crag 8' leaves a small corner reserved for the announcement when he would one day climb the highest point.  A glance at Jesty's updates will confirm AW never did!

As you descend Helm Crag for the Easedale Road near Kitty Crag you might be glad you didn't ascend this way.  It is a steep descent, but if you do only have half a day to spend it's a short, sharp way up and down Helm Crag.  Depending on your parking location in Grasmere it's a simple stroll down Easedale, although the tarmac may be less than welcome at this latter stage of the walk.  Just for information, a tearoom connoisseur recommends Baldry's at the end of the walk with great tea - tealeaf tea, extra water, china cups - what more would you want to finish an excellent Lakeland day?

The Route Map and Path Profile:


Walk profile for this walk








Nota Bene

Walking in the Lake District, Scotland or elsewhere can be dangerous especially for the inexperienced or in bad weather. It is the walker's responsibility to be properly prepared and kitted out. Walkers should always carry a map and compass when on the mountains and know how to use them.
Please remember that no hand drawn map, or well prepared guidebook is ever a substitute for the correct Ordnance Survey or similar Harveys Map (Lakeland Central Map or Lake District 1:40000) for an area. Especially in mountainous terrain, any errors of navigation can prove inconvenient at the least and in the most extreme circumstance may lead to serious injury or loss of life.   If you are in any doubt about your situation do not set out. For further information on fellwalking and to find advice and related articles visit the Online Fellwalking Club.

carry-a-route-cardAt the express request of the LDSAMRA always leave a route card to outline your day's intended route on the mountains.  Route cards for these walks are attached as part of the free walk downloads and a blank version is available in the 'Free from the Fells' section for your other felltop escapades.

Start point: NY 336 073
End Point: NY 336 073
Distanc 17.7km / 10.9miles
Max. Height: 762m/ 2501ft
Min. Height: 65m/ 214ft
Height Ascended: 1,061m/ 3481ft
c.283m / 929ft
Estimated Time:
5hrs, 18 mins
Wainwright Book:
3 The Central Fells
AW 57/214

Other information:
57th Wainwright
65th highest in England
110th highest in England and Wales
OS Explorer (Orange Covers) sheet:
OL4 and OL6
OS Landranger (Pink Covers) sheet:
089 and 090

Download a PDF page of the 'Journey to the Centre of the Lakes' walk to take with you, but don't forget to take the relevant map and compass on the day.  The PDF contains all the information from this web page and can be printed out in full colour.

Download the walk

Remember, in an emergency dial 999 or 112 and ask for 'Police' (not Mountain Rescue), give your name, telephone number and location, your notes, map make and number. STAY BY THE PHONE and await further instruction.


Western Fells - Seat Allan
Click each of AW's guides for each of 7 walks - revisit for regular updates and reader contributions!