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Helvellyn & Raise from Swirls

Lake District Walk

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 3132 High Tove & Blea Tarnmoderate7.6 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 Riggeasy5.5 miles
Walk 2005 High Rigg & Legburthwaiteeasy5.5 miles
Walk 2049 Calfhow Pike & the Dodds from Legburthwaitemoderate7.5 miles
Walk 2524 Thirlmere Circulareasy5.0 miles
Walk 1229 Helvellyn & Dollywaggon Pike from Wythburnmoderate8.0 miles
Walk 2525 Standing Crag & Dock Tarn from Watendlathmoderate7.0 miles
Walk 2526 Standing Crag, Ullscarf & Borrowdalemod/hard10.0 miles

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