It was great to see the May/June edition of Cockermouth Post published recently. Many people had missed their regular read. Well done, Helen and Mike!

There are two of our local summits from me this month. Grisedale Pike at 2593 feet is an outstanding landmark from Keswick and Hopegill Head at 2525 feet overlooking Cockermouth and the Solway Coast. This is one of my favourite walks from Braithwaite near Keswick linking the two fells together using a straightforward route. The walk provides the opportunity to return through the Coledale Valley to view Force Crag Mine, the last working metal mine in the Lake District, prior to its final abandonment in 1991.

and then comes a view of the former industrial site, Force Crag Mine to the left.

Frances at Hopegill Head. Grisedale Pike beyond

and the path heading upwards. You soon reach an easier section between Kinn and Sleet How with the Hospital Plantation on your right. At this point, Grisedale Pike has that ‘come and get me’ look before the steeper climb over rougher ground to the summit. Fantastic views from here. Other routes to Grisedale Pike are available from Whinlatter Pass, Thornthwaite, Lanthwaite [via Coledale Hause] if you wish to consider other route options.

Grisedale Pike ascent

Although the route for this walk is straightforward, please note that the distance is 8 miles with 2870 feet of ascent. The route is on mainly grass paths, with some rough clambering up loose rock - there is nothing too difficult or could be deemed as scrambling. Be safe though, care should be taken throughout the walk.

Best access to Braithwaite is via the local X5 bus route, or parking in or near the village if you arrive by car. The best location if there is space available at the start of the walk is just off the B5292 [Whinlatter Pass] Road at Grid Reference NY227237 - please park considerately wherever there is space.

At the parking area, there are two options – the track to the left [the former mine road] and the steps to the right. Head up the steps to start the three 3-mile walks to Grisedale Pike, climbing through the woodland. The path curls around to the left and soon reaches open ground with views of the village


Hopegill Head [also known as Hobcarton Pike] is a little more than 1 mile away via a subsidiary summit, to SW, then West, ending with a magnificent summit. Other routes to the summit are via Lanthwaite and Whiteside, High Lorton and Hope Beck and Whinlatter Pass. Views of Skiddaw, Clough Head and The Dodds are excellent.

Force Crag Mine was the last working metal mine in the Lake District prior to its final abandonment in 1991. The site was mined for lead from 1839 until 1865 and for zinc and barytes from 1867. Baryte was particularly sought after during the Second World War as it was used in the manufacture of explosives. Later it became useful as part of the ‘mud’ lubricant for drill tips on oil rigs. Other uses include medical imaging. The site closed in 1990 after a roof collapse. It is now a Scheduled Monument and Site of Special Scientific Interest and is now owned by the National Trust. The Trust opens the mine buildings occasionally for guided tours.

Force Crag Mine

Return to Braithwaite via the access track back to the parking area, or Braithwaite Village.

Before you return home, call in at the appropriately named Hobcartons Tea Room or the Braithwaite Village Shop for a ‘cuppa’ – you’ll have earned it!

Hopegill Head from Grisedale Pike

Head SSE on the path to Coledale Hause via Sand Hill to the intersection of paths that provide routes to Ill Crag, Grasmoor, Wandope and Lanthwaite via Gasgale Gill. At this intersection, turn left to head east and downwards towards Coledale with views of Sail, Scar Crags and Causey Pike visible to the right

For these routes, I suggest using OS Explorer Maps OL4 [The English Lakes, North Western Area], Alfred Wainwright’s Pictorial Guide to the Lakeland fells – Book 6 [The North Western Fells] and the following website which includes a map and additional photographs.

Next month, I’ll turn my attention to a lower level walk after our recent exertions on the higher fells.

Explore and discover! Stan ISSUE 432 | 20 JUNE 2019 | 31

Grisedale Pike ridge from Braithwaite

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