High Raise



High raise is regarded as Lakeland’s most central fell. It is a huge bulk with not much to distinguish its summit except a trig point and a shelter. Nearby there is a scattering of rock giving the fell an alternative name of High White Stones. Hardly a recommendation but as it is so central to the District it provides a wonderful viewing platform for most of the other fells. This walk starting from Grasmere is just one of many approaches that can be taken to reach this objective.

Start/finish: Grasmere Village Centre LA9 6LP



Distance: 10 miles 16k

Time: 4 - 6 hours

Grade: Strenuous. Note: The path down from Sergeant Man to Easedale Tarn was not in a robust state when the route was checked in August. Challengingly enough after wet weather it would be very difficult in snow and ice.

Maps: Unfortunately the line of travel necessitates the use of three maps if you still need to use the old fashioned hard copies OS OL5, 6 & 7 The English Lakes North eastern, South western and South eastern respectively. Or else get a map app for your mobile phone remembering to make sure it is fully charged before you commence the walk.

Map by kind permission of Johnston Press 



1. The first part of the walk takes you from the village centre onto the wild uplands of Grasmere Common. From the church follow the road round past the Wordsworth Hotel into College Street. At the cross roads with Broadgate keep ahead into Easedale Road. Keep on this for 500yds passing the entrance to the youth hostel on the right and then after Goody Bridge turn right into Helm Close.


This quiet lane takes you below the well-known Helm Crag surmounted with its striking rock formations to bring you after a mile to Ghyll Foot a typical whitewashed Lakeland farmhouse.


At the next bend where the lane bears right towards Town Head turn left onto a tarmac drive that climbs uphill to a pair of properties.


Go through a gate after the second house placing you on Green Burn, National Trust land. Here bear right onto a path that leads steeply and unrelentingly up the southeast ridge of Steel Fell.


If you find you need to pause look behind you - the view towards the Vale of Grasmere is one of the most attractive in the District. How long it takes you to get to the top will depend on how many pauses you took. The summit is adorned by a modest cairn and a fence post.


There now follows a mile and a half of bog trotting as you traverse a broad ridge to Calf Crag with an old fence to keep you on track.


Calf Crag is slightly off the main line of travel but offers fine views down Far Easedale.


2. The fence - not always evident - marks the border between the former counties of Westmorland and Cumberland which were absorbed into Cumbria along with the Furness part of Lancashire in 1974. In fact you continue to follow this ancient boundary as you descend to Brownrigg Moss


to reach Mere Beck below Broadstone Head. Turn left before the stream and follow it


climbing to Coledale Head on an intermittent path. As you do so you might reflect that as well as on the border of long lost counties this area is a watershed between rivers draining north towards the Solway Firth and those draining south towards Morecambe Bay. Once on Coledale Head the way to the summit of High Raise with its shelter and trig point will be visible to the north west a little under half a mile away.


3. The key to the route back is Sergeant Man a rocky prominence a quarter of a mile to the south of Coledale Head. Not visible from the trig point head due south for 200yds then bear left to pick it up. This approach will bring you to the fell which is not seen at is best aspect from this side.


From its summit a clear path leads down south eastwards offering views of Langdale and especially Stickle Tarn below Pavey Ark. At about half a mile look for a cairn marking the junction of the path to Easedale Tarn almost 1000ft below.


Turn left onto this soon picking your way down a challenging path. This route leads past the tarn and then onto the village. If you have got this far you will not require further direction.


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