Helvellyn and Raise from Swirls

A St. John's Castlerigg and Wythburn walk posted on 04/07/16 by Walking Britain. Update : 08/09/16

This Lake District walk starts from Swirls and ascends Helvellyn via Browncove Crags. The route continues north over Whiteside and Raise to reach Sticks Pass from where a descent back into the valley is made. This is a great route to the top of England's third highest mountain with equally stunning views.

Technical sheet
Calculated time Calculated time: 5h15[?]
Distance Distance : 6.92mi
Vertical gain Vertical gain : 2844ft
Vertical drop Vertical drop : 2848ft
Highest point Highest point : 3074ft
Lowest point Lowest point : 722ft
Average Difficulty : Average
Back to starting point Back to starting point : Yes
Walking Walking
Location Location : St. John's Castlerigg and Wythburn
Starting point Starting point : N 54.54253° / W 3.05791°
Download :


(D/A) 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.

(1) 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.

(2) 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.

(3) 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.

(4) 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(D/A).

Waypoints :
D/A : mi 0 - alt. mi 0
1 : mi 0.8 - alt. mi 0.8 - The path swings right
2 : mi 1.97 - alt. mi 1.97 - Helvellyn Lower Man
3 : mi 3.05 - alt. mi 3.05 - Whiteside
4 : mi 4.96 - alt. mi 4.96 - Sheepfold
D/A : mi 6.92 - alt. mi 6.92

Useful Information

Helvellyn, England's third highest mountain, is a popular mountain. This route 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.

Hikideas and this author cannot be held responsible in the case of accidents or problems occuring on this walk.

Opinions and comments


Global average : 4/5
Number of opinions : 1
Description quality : 4/5
Routemap quality : 4/5
Walk interest : 4/5

on Mon 23 Apr 2018 20:05:49 CEST

Global average : 4 / 5

Date of walk : 09/04/18
Description quality : Good
Routemap quality : Good
Walk interest : Good

straightforward route accessible to most walkers leading to outstanding views

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The GPS track and description are the property of the author.