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Lake District Walk
Helvellyn & Raise from Swirls

Nat Park - Lake District - Lake District Eastern Fells

Wainwrights - Helvellyn, Raise, White Side

County/Area - Cumbria

Author - Lou Johnson

Length - 7.0 miles / 11.4 km    Ascent - 3140 feet / 952 metres

Time - 6 hours 40 minutes    Grade - mod/hard

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Walk Route Description

Photo from the walk - Helvellyn & Raise from Swirls
Click image to visit gallery of 10 images.

Helvellyn, England's third highest mountain, is a popular mountain. This Lake District walk ascends from Thirlmere and then heads north along the ridge to use a less frequented route for the descent. The day this walk was researched was extremely windy and, despite blue skies, was not for the feint-hearted. With this in mind it is important that any ascent is treated as a serious walk and suitable backup equipment taken in case the weather worsens.

The start is the car park at Swirls ( Grid ref. NY316168 ) is on the A591 Windermere to Keswick road. Leave the car park and cross over the footbridge to the left (north) bank of the gill. Continue to follow the left bank until a signpost to Helvellyn directs you over another footbridge to the right bank. Now head up the restored path towards Brown Cove Crags. During this ascent all the views are behind you so you always have an excuse to stop and catch your breath.

The path roughens and steepens and swings right to skirt the top of Brown Cove Crags but soon levels as you approach the summit plateau. It is important to remember these crags are dangerous and if in doubt trend right rather than left. However Helvellyn's summit is soon reached and you will probably find that you are not alone! Besides the trig point there is a sizeable shelter.

To continue the route retrace your steps for about 400 metres before bearing right along a clear path to the summit of Helvellyn Lower Man. There are excellent views of Catstye Cam from here together with the route as far ahead as Raise. Descending north quite steeply you reach a col from where there is an easy ascent to the summit of Whiteside.

Another descent and ascent again in a northerly direction leads you to the summit of Raise where there are good views ahead to the Dodds. All the climbing is over and you descend to Sticks Pass, which is a broad Col with a cairn. Turn left here and keeping to the north of Sticks Gill follow the path down towards Legburthwaite. This path is a joy with little or no erosion and will the benefit of a great view ahead.

Reaching a sheepfold you have another excuse for a rest as the view is superlative. The descent on grass becomes steep as you drop down towards Stybeck Farm. Reaching the intake wall you turn left and follow this pleasant undulating path back to the start.

Other walks nearby

Walk 2025 Helvellyn & Wythburn from Swirlsmod/hard8.5 miles
Walk 3132 High Tove & Blea Tarn from Armbothmoderate7.6 miles
Walk 2019 Raven Crag, the Benn & Shoulthwaite Gill near Thirlmereeasy/mod4.0 miles
Walk 2032 Great How, a short ascent above Thirlmereeasy2.0 miles
Walk 1158 High Rigg from Legburthwaiteeasy5.5 miles

Recommended Books & eBooks

Great Mountain Days in the Lake District

Great Mountain Days in the Lake DistrictAn inspirational guidebook to 50 challenging walks on the high fells of the Lake District. The graded circular routes, between 4 and 14 miles in length, cover classic Lakeland summits like Fairfield, Scafell Pike, Great Gable and Blencathra, to the lesser-known High Spy, King's How and Brund Fell.
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Walking the Lake District Fells - Wasdale

Walking the Lake District Fells - WasdalePart of the Walking the Lake District Fells series, this guidebook covers a wide range of routes to 25 Lakeland summits that can be climbed from the Wasdale, Eskdale and Ennerdale valleys, with highlights including Scafell Pike, Great Gable and Pillar. Suggestions for longer ridge routes are also included.
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Map and Compass

Map and CompassAn instructive guidebook explaining map and compass techniques, to help readers enhance their outdoor experiences. Whether you are experienced in map-reading, or have never used a compass before, this guidebook will sharpen your skills and have you exploring new areas in no time. There are also tips for GPS and digital mapping technologies.
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Further Information

Walk Location Map

Walk location map

Lake District Walking

The Lake District National Park is seen by many as one of the scenic gems of the British Isles. The natural beauty has attracted many artists and writers through the centuries and today the same scenery provides the perfect backdrop to a wide variety of walks. The National Park is located wholly within Cumbria with Windermere, Ambleside and Keswick the main tourist towns. For many this is the finest area in England for walking with a wide variety of scenery. Even on the busiest weekends it is possible to get away from the crowds by carefully selecting one of the less-visited fells. More Information

Walk grading - Learn how each walk is assessed and select a walk to suit your ability and experience by going to Walk Grading Details.

Accommodation Nearby

Helvellyn Cottage
Glenridding by Ullswater
3.9 miles / 6.3 km away
Peat Howe Barn
4.0 miles / 6.5 km away
Manesty Holiday Cottages
4.3 miles / 7.0 km away
* Featured Supplier
Stybarrow Cottage
Glenridding, Ullswater
4.4 miles / 7.1 km away
Hedgehog Hill
5.0 miles / 8.1 km away

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