Helvellyn from Glenridding via Sticks Pass

Route Summary:

Staightforward fell walk to Helvellyn via Stick’s Pass.

9.6 km 647 m 4 hours

Calculate the time using Naismith’s Rule and factor in your own pace.

Start and Finish: Glenridding


Toilets, pub and parking.



Remember that we cannot outline every single hazard on a walk – it’s up to you to be safe and competent. Read up on Mountain Safety , Navigation and what equipment you’ll need.

Public Transport: Traveline for UK Public Transport
Parking and Post Code for Sat Nav (where applicable): 

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Helvellyn from Glenridding via Sticks Pass Route Map and GPX Download


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Helvellyn from Glenridding via Sticks Pass Details

This walk up Helvellyn from Glenridding takes you along the Sticks Pass path up to the summit of Raise and optionally onward to Helvellyn – we’ll be changing it to include that in the near future but you can follow this route for the extension to Helvellyn. This walk starts at the Helvellyn YH, but can be equally started from either Glenridding or Patterdale with a short walk in.

We started off late on the Saturday, as the winds were forecast to ease. An easy zig zag from Swirral Barn took us up the scree slope and finally to the mines above. A highly surreal landscape that would probably have featured in a few episodes of Blake’s 7 at some point. You have to cross the sandy area and beyond this you are finally on what feels like proper fellside.
Helvellyn from Glenridding via Sticks Pass

The path follows the hillside gently for a few kilometres, and it’s only in the last section that you feel like you’re going up hill. The land either side steepens, but remains grassy, and the paths follows many little tributaries of the river that have cut their own way down the hillside.

Now Stick’s pass is a featureless place. It also lacks proper shelter. Today we needed it. Wind was over 80kph and gusts well over a 100. So we found a ditch by the side of the path and fell in there. We were followed by a large group, who were clearly impressed with our display of hillcraft. Here’s a group who knows the hills they must have thought.

We quickly dispelled this though, as we were reduced to elbows, knees and curses inside our storm shelter. They’re great ideas, but you really have to be sitting in the right position for them to work. Literally inside a ditch facing downhill made me feel insecure, and the constant battering by the wind didn’t help. The only consolation was watching Mark trying to get coffee to his mouth. He’d carefully lift the cup, before a playful gust of wind would shake him and he’d end up wearing most of it. Whatever they say of storm shelters, they’re definitely a morale builder, and do ensure you don’t cool down too much during lunch. In the wind I was seriously worried it’d get lifted up if it really got hold of it.

The path that we were now on would class as a pavement back home. I’ve got to hand it to the Park, they build easy paths. We were up onto Stybarrow Dodd in no time, the powerful sidewind whipping our eyeballs with vicious little ice crystals. I was really glad i’d bought the ski goggles. Not so glad that I hadn’t bRought them. Winds of over 100kph (60mph for you still working in old money and struggling with newfangled stuff like fire, the wheel and so on), with gusts towards 130, meant that Mark and Hev had stopped on the first summit. Wisely I’ll add, as I only just managed to return from the true summit against the wind.

It was clear that the conditions were pretty harsh and that we were never going to reach Helvellyn today, so we decided that we’d do Raise and then descend by a hopefully easy path past Red Screes to the camping barn, notwithstanding any nav problems. Raise was a struggle for some of the party (naming no names), and we didn’t dwell on the summit as we were now in cloud. Time for a bit of nav practice i thought. Then i saw the cairns. So close together that you can use them as stepping stones. There is a geological theory that the Cumbrian fells were once taller than both Snowdonia and the Highlands, but manic cairn building at some point in the past reduced them to the heights you see today. Right, I thought, the path won’t be as easy to find.

Helvellyn from Glenridding via Sticks PassWrong again. Near a large cairn that I think classifies as a Nuttall the motorway above Red Screes was encountered. So much for navigation. Were this a Snowdonian mountain, i’d have clambered over a boulder field, crossed enough chronic bogs to get my feet wet and then lost the path as it petered away to nothing in sedge grass or, again, at the foot or head of a boulder field. Either that, or fighting my way through hundreds of tourists.

Well, definitely some of the most pleasant walking I’ve ever done.

The track down was easy, never too steep and not too loose. An easy end to the walk it had to be said.

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