White Side and Raise, from Glenridding

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)"(1). 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.