Raise is a fell located in the English Lake District and standing on the main spine of the Helvellyn range in the Eastern Fells, between Thirlmere and Ullswater.
The Helvellyn range runs broadly north-south for approximately 7 miles, remaining above 2,000 ft (600 m) throughout its entire length. Raise is close to the centre of this ridge, with Stybarrow Dodd to the north and White Side to the south.
As with many of these fells, Raise displays smooth mainly grassy slopes on the west and much rougher ground to the east. Here however the contrast is less noticeablethan further south around Helvellyn and Nethermost Pike.
Somewhat unusually for such a high fell, the slopes of Raise do not have a toehold at valley level on either side. Westwards the boundary streams of Sticks Gill (West) and Brund Gill meet just below White Side’s Brown Crag. At Fisherplace Gill they descend a further thousand feet to the valley floor, and originally turned north to join St John’s Beck. A
All of this altered as part of the Thirlmere reservoir scheme in 1894, when a water race was built to carry most of the water into the lake. Eastwards the fell is also squeezed out at height by its neighbours, failing to reach the shore of Ullswater. Raise has a short eastern ridge, Stang, dropping between Sticks Gill (East) and Glenridding Beck, but these streams merge above the site of the old Greenside Mine to leave Sheffield Pike and Birkhouse Moor overlooking Glenridding.
North of Raise the pedestrian route of Sticks Pass crosses the ridge at a height of 2,445 ft (745 m), being the highest pass in the District crossed by a regular bridleway. Now of use only to hillwalkers, it once provided the only link between the communities on either side of the Helvellyns. The name is thought to have been taken from the guideposts originally used to mark the route. The becks flowing from either side of the pass summit are officially named Sticks Gill, the ‘East’ and ‘West’ having been added by Alfred Wainwright to his Pictorial Guide to the Lakeland Fells and used by later guidebook writers. Northwards, beyond the pass, the ground rises again to Stybarrow Dodd and all here is grass.
To the south of Raise the ridge swings a little to the west, traversing an unnamed col on the way to White Side. The east face of this ridge is gouged deeply by Kepple Cove, a corrie whose back wall is known as Red Screes. Kepple Cove once contained an artificial tarn, although today the bed is mainly marshy except after heavy rain. The water from the tarn was used in a hydroelectric scheme, driving electric winding gear at Greenside Mine. Commissioned in 1891, this was the first such system used in the country. It continued to be used until the night of 29th October 1927 when the Kepple Cove dam burst during a heavy storm, leaving an 80 ft wide gap in the earthworks.
The subsequent wave passed down the valley and through Glenridding village, flooding buildings and causing extensive damage. The breached dam is still there today.
A further tarn which served Greenside Mine was created in Sticks Gill (East) by the building of a stone barrage. Called Top Dam, this was still in existence during the 1950s but is now a dry bed. There are various other signs of mining activity on the Stang ridge, in particular the stone smelter flue. Prominently marked ‘chimney’ on Ordnance Survey maps, the flue ran a distance of half a mile up the fellside to a stone chimney at around 2,250 ft. There are also the remains of a number of leats, artificial channels diverting streams to the thirsty mine. Stang now carries the marks of more modern industry, with the Lake District’s only permanent ski-tow built on the northern slope. There is a little rock outcropping on the eastern slopes of Raise, mainly at Stang End above the Glenridding Beck.
Geologically, the top of Raise is part of the Birker Fell Formation of plagioclase-phyric andesite lava, with pyroclastic breccia in the south west. There is also substantial areas of gravel drift.
Alone among the northern Helvellyns, Raise has a summit area of outcropping rock, a virtual island amid the sea of grass. A little to the east of the top is a rock tor which would normally be insignificant elsewhere, but in these surroundings draws the eye. A route follows the ridge, with a surfeit of cairns to the south. The view is panoramic, with all of the major fells being seen. Thirlmere can also be seen by walking a few yards to the west.
The main routes of ascent are via Sticks Pass, beginning from either Legburthwaite or Glenridding. More direct ascents from the west can be made by following Fisherplace Gill and then heading up across the pathless praire as required. From the east there is a path rising directly up the Stang ridge and a further old route winds its way up from Glenridding Beck beside Kepple Cove.
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