West of the village of Glenridding, walking along Greenside Road heading for lofty heights it is not Helvellyn you see ahead but Raise. In contrast to the grassy terrain typical of much of the Helvellyn range the summit is an island of very rough light grey rock. Its cairn a well built bee-hive shape. During the winter snows its north eastern slope is a destination for skiers from the Lake District Ski Club who operate the only ski lift in England.
For us, Raise, along with White Side makes for an interesting and varied walk. The area of Greenside has seen a lot of mining activity through the last three centuries or so. The fellside and combes still bear some of the scars. On the ascent you can see into Brown Cove, its dam is still largely intact. Keppel Cove also has a dam. One stormy night in 1927 it burst flooding Glenridding. It took 2 years to build a new concrete dam and in 1931 it too failed, the remains can still be seen. The dams were built to contain water to use to generate electricity. Red Tarn between the edges of Helvellyn is also dammed.
Continuing around the head of the combes to White Side you get a good view of Swirrel Edge and the steep north east ridge of Catstycam. From White Side it's a short easy stroll to Raise, and then onwards to Sticks Pass. Looking back you can see the ski tow on the fellside. Follow the path alongside the deep cleft of Sticks Gill to the top of the Greenside Mine workings. Here a flat area used to be another reservoir, but is now silted up and has piles of spoil dotted around. Looking up to the southern slope of Green Side, just beside Glencoyne Head the OS 25K map details "Quarries (Dis)". These are where a massive rockfall called The Great Crush involving some 110,000 tons, occurred within the mine. Passing through the upper workings you come to the edge of the plateau where you get fantastic views down to Glenridding and Ullswater. The path then zigzags easily if a little loose and steep, through some juniper to eventually the old mine buildings.
Greenside Mine produced over a million tons of galena for smelting into lead. Perhaps its biggest claim to fame are the experiments of Operation Orpheus held in the mine during the height of the Cold War. Two large conventional explosions were carried out to ascertain whether it was possible to obscure an underground nuclear explosion from being detected by the other signatories to the Test Ban Treaty.
There is parking in the centre of Glenridding in the Lake District National Park Authority pay and display, and at the Ullswater Steamers car park where cheap rates in the winter months may be preferable.
If you need accommodation we have details of 12 properties offering rooms near the start of this walk. Here are some examples:
Walk height profile
note that gradients are usually grossly exaggerated
Head up through the Lake District National Park Authority car park to the upper level, and exit via the gap beside the old Ranger Service hut to Greenside Road. Turn left, climbing steadily carry on past the Travellers Inn, and at the junction bear right and then left to swing just below Rake Cottages. The tarmac is soon left behind and becomes rough with stone and concrete surface. Cross the cattle grid and carry on up the road towards the YHA Helvellyn, bunkhouses, and mountaineering club huts in the old Greenside Mine buildings.
Keep to the track through the buildings following the fading wooden signs for "Brown Cove and Whiteside Bank". You have to snake up above the buildings, and then when the track splits keep ahead - the left branch.
Heading into the valley, Glenridding Beck is below you to the left and the steep slopes above you to the right is the eastern ridge of Raise, called Stang, which has a considerable population of juniper on Stang End.
Continue along this remarkably smooth gravelled bridleway for approximately 2.0km (1.2 miles). A craggy ridge comes down to the track from the right, just behind it the track splits. Take the right fork.
Initially the track climbs steeply, and then enters a series of zigzags to climb above Keppel Cove. There are good views to Brown Cove, Catstycam and Swirrel Edge, and across Glenridding Common to Birkhouse Moor.
At the top of the zigzags keep left to round the head of Keppel Cove, and when another wide path joins from the right, keep ahead. The cairned path climbs easily to the summit windshelter and cairn of White Side.
Retrace your steps, north east, to the path junction in the depression between White Side and Raise. Now take the left fork.
It is a short climb on a rough wide path to the almost-castellated top of Raise. Standing on an island of conspicuously rough and jagged grey andesite rock is the well built bee-hive summit cairn.
The view has opened up to the north with the Dodds stretching out the other side of Sticks Pass and Skiddaw with the Vale of Keswick and St John's slightly to the west.
Continue on from the summit of Raise heading approx north, dropping steeply on a rough path. Ahead in the saddle of Sticks Pass the crossroads can clearly be seen.
In the saddle turn right. This gravelled bridleway starts to descend gradually, and and quickly gets steeper. Look back up to your right, at Raise, to see the ski tow. Sticks Gill alongside your right hand side deepens and the path steepens further becoming loose almost scree in places. Small becks and gills cut the path. Ahead of you is the top of the mine and quarry workings, with Sheffield Pike the fell beyond. Looking up to the left are the two Great Crush rockfall holes.
Eventually the path flattens out and swings right around a flat boggy area which used to be a reservoir for Greenside Mine.
Continue meandering through the workings, the path is reasonably clear with occasional cairns confirming the route. Cross the upper Swart Beck by the footbridge - this can only be seen once almost on top of it! Bear left at the top of the bank the other side of the bridge, and descend gently with fine views of Glenridding being revealed.
As Swart Beck deepens and becomes more industrialised, the gradient steepens and swings right. Now rough and somewhat loose, a little care is needed on the path. It soon drops left, and right again to pass below the crags of Stang End. With the worst over the path firms up and passes through juniper, zigzags and descends to join up with the outward path above the buildings. Bear left and follow the track back through the buildings onto Greenside Road. Follow this all the way back to Glenridding.
If you like this walk then why not try one of our other nearby walks:
|Glenridding Dodd, Heron Pike and Sheffield Pike||20m (22 yards) away|
|Helvellyn, The Classic Ridges of Striding and Swirral Edge||22m (24 yards) away|
|Lanty's Tarn, Birkhouse Moor, Red Tarn, Catstycam||101m (111 yards) away|
|Greenside Mine and Glenridding Beck Circular Stroll||108m (119 yards) away|
|Lanty's Tarn, Keldas, and Patterdale Circular||130m (143 yards) away|
|Glenridding Dodd||140m (154 yards) away|
|Place Fell and a stroll alongside Ullswater||1.2km (0.8 miles) away|
|Birks and Arnison Crag||1.4km (0.9 miles) away|
|St Sunday Crag and Grisedale Tarn||1.4km (0.9 miles) away|
|A visit to Place Fell overlooking Ullswater||1.4km (0.9 miles) away|
|Aira Force and Gowbarrow Fell||3.5km (2.2 miles) away|
|A short walk to Hart Side from Park Brow||3.8km (2.3 miles) away|
|The Dovedale Round: Hartsop above How, Hart Crag, High Hartsop Dodd||3.9km (2.4 miles) away|
|Rest Dodd and The Nab||4.6km (2.9 miles) away|
|Around Hayeswater Reservoir||4.6km (2.9 miles) away|
|Pasture Beck Round, from Hartsop||4.6km (2.9 miles) away|
|Brock Crags and Angletarn Pikes circular walk from Hartsop||4.6km (2.9 miles) away|
Unless otherwise stated the text in this walk is the copyright of Hug Solutions Ltd trading as The Hug and the photographs are the copyright of Elizabeth Oldham. Hill data is derived from Database of British and Irish hills which is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License. Maps contains Ordnance Survey data © Crown copyright and database right 2011 and paths © OpenStreetMap Contributors,CC-BY-SA, 2011