High Raise - Lake District Walk

Thursday 19th April 2018

Having opted to stay an extra night we took advantage of our hotel's proximity to the start of the walk and despite a mid-morning start we were able to get one of the last spots in the car park at Mardale Head. After the wet start to spring we headed out for a walk on a warm and sunny day on what was to turn out to be the start of the long and hot summer Britain enjoyed for numerous weeks.

Start: Mardale Head (NY 4691 1070)

Route: Mardale Head - The Rigg - Castle Crag (398) - Birk's Crag - Low Raise (399) - High Raise (400) - Kidsty Pike (401) - Kidsty Howes - The Rigg - Mardale Head

Distance: 7 miles     Ascent: 750 metres      Time Taken: 7 hrs 20 mins

Terrain: Steep and at times pathless.

Weather: Warm and sunny.

Pub Visited: Haweswater Hotel    Ale Drunk: Forgotton

Route Map >>


The Rigg

Our route would take us along the side of Haweswater towards the Rigg.

Hawsewater Reservoir

It's amazing what a difference 24 hours can make. We had walked along this path yesterday and it was like walking in a stream.

Kidsty Howes

From the Rigg we could make out our route to Castle Crag. On a stroll yesterday we had scouted out the possibility of accessing Castle Crag via the small wood opposite.

Lady's Seat

After emerging from the wood we had headed up the field to find a stile that gave us access to Lady's Seat.

Castle Crag

From Lady's Seat we dropped down onto Castle Crag, this route avoided the very steep climb up the front of Castle Crag.

Whelter Crags

Looking into Whelter Bottom from Castle Crag's summit. Our route would take us onto the plateau above Whelter Crags.

Haweswater Reservoir

Before we began the steep climb up Birks Crag we sat enjoying the view along Hawswater.


We also finally got to see what Branstree looked like when its summit wasn't covered in cloud.

Birks Crag

Have summited Lady's Seat we had our first close look at Birks Crag and the steep climb facing us.

Lady's Seat

As we approached the top of Birks Crag I spot the ruined building I had hoped to visit on the walk. There was no way I was going back down.

Selside Pike

Having reached the top of Birks Crag we found ourselves picking our way through tufts of grass, the sort of terrian I'm always glad to avoid in summer. With no sign of a path in sight and after one of many false summits we opted for a coffee break so we could enjoy the views across Haweswater before they disappeared.

Harter Fell

Looking towards Branstree and Harter Fell.

Naddle Forest

The Haweswater Hotel looks very small from here.


In the distance we can make out the Pennines.

Low Raise

After a long time sat enjoying the views we head uphill again and soon pick up a track which takes us to the summit of Low Raise.

High Raise

The route to High Raise looks nice and easy compared to what we have just done.

Northern Fells

There is a good view of the Northern Fells from here.

Loadpot Hill

We look across High Kop towards Loadpot Hill.

Low Kop

We also get a better view of Low Kop than we did when we visited it in 2006.

Low Raise

We very quickly find ourselves at High Raise looking back at Low Raise.

High Raise

It wasn't the summit I planned as my 400th Birkett, it was meant to be High Street, but there is a still a sense of achievment as I approach it.

High Raise

Having reached the summit I only have 141 to go. Time to take in the views.

High Street

Looking across to High Street from High Raise.

Kidsty Pike

Looking across Kidsty Pike towards Mardale Ill Bell.

Red Crag

We had lunch facing the blue sky, looking down on some of the previous summits we have visited, including Red Crag just below us.

St Sunday Crag

Away to our left we tried to work out which fells we had done and which we still had left to do. Many of the ones in this shot of St Sunday Crag are on the to do list.

The Knott

The same can be said of many of the fells in this shot.

Kidsty Pike

We debate taking in a few other summits but as we still have to travel home we decide to make Kidsty Pike the final summit of the day.

High Raise

Another quick and easy walk and we are soon looking back at High Raise from Kidsty Pike.

Kidsty Pike

This is one summit cairn you don't want to fall over.

Long Stile

Stepping back from the cairn we enjoy the view across Long Stile towards Mardale Ill Bell and Harter Fell.


Turn around a few degrees and the weather looks completely different.

Kidsty Pike

All that remains is the long descent from Kidsty Pike, which is at least quite gentle to start with.

Kidsty Pike

Hidden from view is the steep and rocky section known as Kidsty Howes.

Kidsty Pike

Looking back towards the summit from the ridge gives no real sense of how dramatic the summit actually is.

The Rigg

Having emerged from Kidsty Howes there is still a lot of descent to do before we reach the valley floor.

Kidsty Pike

We take a final break at the Rigg and enjoy a last look back at Kidsty Pike. Knowing that a trip down the M6 was ahead of us it was hard to drag ourselves away.


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