It's fifty years since the publication of John Wyatt's seminal book The Shining Levels. The title refers to the multilayered gleaming waters often found in Lakeland views, and nowhere better exemplifies this than the complex, hummocky watershed between the Brathay and Rothay valleys. Pools jewel the ridges while tarns fill the hollows, sparkling in sun, glowering in storm, and leading the eye down to the lowland lakes, with perhaps a glistening estuary beyond. Water, water everywhere. This ridge is often quieter than many, yet easily accessible from Grasmere. The route described marks a horseshoe around the two Easedales, keeping to high ground, and includes the Central Fells’ highest point, High Raise before looping back over Calf Crag, Gibson Knott and Helm Crag.
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Distance: 11.18 miles (18 km)
Total ascent: 854m
Time: 6 – 7 hours (Walking)
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SummitsSilver How 394 m
Blea Rigg 541 m
Sergeant Man 736 m
Calf Crag 537 m
Gibson Knott 422 m
Helm Crag 405 m
High Raise 762 m
Most of the route is hummocky ridges on grass with outcropping rock. Expect confusing ground in mist because rounding each hummock may throw your bearings out of kilter. There is also some bare plateau in the centre section and an optional scramble at the top of Helm Crag.
The summit rocks of Helm Crag could be a nasty prospect in icy or wet conditions. Better to be a live lamb than a dead lion, as the ancient proverb so nearly goes.
Weather and Hill Conditions: mwis: Lake District – Met Office: Lake District
Stagecoach 599 or 555
Wainwright's Central Fells
OS Explorer OL4 (1:25,000), OS Explorer OL5 (1:25,000), OS Explorer OL6 (1:25,000), OS Explorer OL7 (1:25,000), Harvey/BMC Lake District (1:40,000), OS Landranger 90 (1:50,000), OS Landranger 89 (1:50,000) Directory Listings:
Find more Listings near this route Tourist info:
Grasmere (015394 35245); Ambleside (015394 32582); Waterhead (015394 32729)
by Norman Hadley