Grisedale Pike and Hopegill Head

As featured in The GO Guide to the Lake District from GO Outdoors Standing over the small village of Braithwaite near to Keswick, Grisedale Pike has a distinctive profile. Its north east ridge climbs from the village in three steps. Initially a grass path climbs steeply through bracken and shrubs to gain the ridge at Kinn, above Heavy Sides plantation. Along to Sleet How it is wide, grassy with increasing amounts of heather. Then climbing the last steep section the ridge narrows appreciably to become a rough clamber up loose stones and rocky steps. Whilst the ascent is not difficult it is perhaps best reserved for a day of good conditions: climbing that last bit wouldn't be much fun if it was wet and besides you would miss out on the stunning views.

Reaching the summit of Grisedale Pike the views really open out to the Western Fells, with the onward journey over the subsidiary top to Hopegill Head clearly laid out. It is also a grand viewpoint for the Skiddaw fells to the north, and east to the Dodds and Clough Head.

Returning via Coledale there is the opportunity to wander around the remains of Force Crag Mine before using its access road as an easy way back to the car park or Braithwaite village. Force Crag Mine is a now a Scheduled Monument and Site of Special Scientific Interest. At various times galena (lead), sphalerite (zinc), and baryte (barium) were mined from deep within the fellside below Grisedale Pike and Force Crag. Baryte was particularly saught after during the Second World War as it was used in the manufacture of explosives. Later it became useful as part of the "mud" lubricant for drill tips on oil rigs. Other uses include medical imaging. Closing in 1990 after a roof collapse, the last mineral mine in the Lake District, it is now owned by the National Trust. The Trust opens the mine buildings a few times a year for guided tours.

The walk starts from a small and very convenient parking area near the bottom of the Whinlatter Pass opposite Hope Memorial Park. This is not signposted as a car park although there is a "car park 1/2mile" just beside the entrance. Parking is also available in Braithwaite village, where at weekends the village school allows parking otherwise it is just on-street.