Lake District Walks
Blea Rigg & High Raise
Date: 29th August 2015
Distance: 10.5 miles
Ascent: 2900 feet
Time: 6 hours 30 mins
Start Grid Ref: NY339073
A super walk with my nephew from Grasmere on the long ridge from Silver How and Blea Rigg to High Raise before returning via Codale Head and Tarn Crag.
Route Summary: Grasmere - Red Bank Road - Silver How - Swinescar Hause - Blea Rigg - Sergeant Man - High Raise - Codale Head - Tarn Crag - Stythwaite Steps - Easedale Road - Grasmere
Photos: Click on the photos below to enlarge.
Walk Detail: It has now become an annual tradition that I take my nephew Liam camping for his birthday. In 2013 I took him up to Hadrian's Wall country and last year we camped at Buttermere where we enjoyed a couple of days of walking the fells. Following on from that I was really gratified to find out that this year he wanted to go back to the Lakes and bag some more Wainwrights - not bad considering he has only just turned ten years old!
I'd booked into the small campsite at Thirlspot from where I hoped, if he was up for it, to try one of the western approaches to Helvellyn. On our first day though I planned something a little bit easier so came up with the idea of doing Silver How and Blea Rigg from Grasmere. In doing so it would not only get Liam back into the swing of things but give me the opportunity to revisit two tops I had only previously experienced in bad weather. As it turned out Liam enjoyed himself so much we ended up doing a much longer walk.
Starting from Grasmere (£8 parking for the day - shocking!), we walked up Red Bank Road before taking a path that climbed initially up through some woods to reach more open ground with views down over lake Grasmere. After the path skirted around the foot of Silver How's crags we doubled back up via a stony stairway which led almost to the summit. Despite the cloudy skies the views were excellent, particularly over Grasmere and Rydal Water and west towards the Langdale Pikes.
From Silver How we began making our way west along the broad ridge leading to Blea Rigg. Not long after passing Lang How we got caught in a sudden humdinger of a shower which thoroughly soaked us both. While it made for uncomfortable walking, at least until the wind eventually dried us off, the passing showers did make for some dramatic views, especially one shower we dodged which passed close by over Easedale Tarn.
After having lunch on the summit of Blea Rigg we continued climbing, the original plan being to then take the path dropping to Easedale Tarn. However, when I pointed out how close Sergeant Man was and that High Raise, the highest of the Central Fells, was just beyond, Liam said he would like to continue and bag as many as possible. Good show!
The climb to Sergeant Man was easily accomplished, the continuation to High Raise was even easier, though wetter underfoot. While there were quite a few people on Sergeant Man we had High Raise to ourselves which I certainly didn't mind as I think High Raise is far superior as a viewpoint and is in fact one of my favourite summits in the whole of the Lake District.
Instead of returning to Sergeant Man we instead walked over Codale Head (where I slyly introduced him to the Nuttalls) before a largely pathless route on to Tarn Crag and the opportunity for him to bag his fifth Wainwright of the day. Tarn Crag is another top I have fond memories of and it was nice to revisit it after a wait of nine years.
From the top of Tarn Crag we enjoyed a steady descent along the east ridge down to Stythwaite Steps from where a stony track led us along Far Easedale and to Easedale Road and an easy final return to Grasmere.
By some distance this was the longest walk my nephew had done to date and he did brilliantly, especially as heavy recent rainfall had left much of the ground quite wet and slippery. He had also taken quite a soaking (as indeed he did on Haystacks the year before) quite stoically and all in all I was very proud. The walk itself wasn't bad either :-)