Blakeley Raise, Lake District
Distance: 7km/4 miles l Ascent: 276m/906ft l Time: 2 hours l Walk type: Hill, woods.
Navigation level: Novice l Difficulty: Leisurely/moderate l Type: Linear
Start/End location: Pull-in car park south of Blakeley Raise Stone Circle (NY059138).
Where: Blakeley Raise and the Grike, Cumbria. Drive east from Cleator Moor towards Ennerdale Bridge, right at village boundary sign, then 1 mile south. You’ll find pull-ins and a small car park south of the stone circle. Stagecoach bus 30 (Frizington to Maryport) stops at Cleator, 3 miles from start.
Maps: OS Landranger 89, OS Explorer OL4.
Eating & drinking: The Gather community-run café and shop, Ennerdale Bridge, CA23 3AR (01946 862453, thegatherennerdale.com)
Sleeping: The Shepherds Arms Hotel, Ennerdale Bridge, CA23 3AR (01946 861249, shepherdsarms.com).
Visitor information: Egremont Tourist Information CA22 2DW (01946 820693)
Guidebook: The Western Fells: Wainwright's Walking Guide to the Lake District Fells - Book 7 by Alfred Wainwright (£15.99, Quarto, ISBN 0711236607).
1. From one of the parking places at Scaley Moss, join the footpath heading northeast off the road onto Blakeley Moss. The path rises steadily but it is not too steep, especially in comparison to elsewhere in the lakes. Once through woods veer right, ascending on the path as it rises a little. Eventually you'll see a stile to the left, leading up to a large hill known as The Grike, the most westerly of the Wainrights.
2. Cross the stile and head up the Grike. The path is at its steepest here but the panoramic views from the top of the hill are worth those aching legs. If the weather is in your favour, you’ll see over to the Solway Firth and if it isn’t you may catch sight of the much nearer Ennerdale Water.
3. From the top of the Grike, follow path back down and rejoin the same path you came in on. Once back at the tree line, find a path veering to the right (not left the way you came) this continues around the fringe of the woods with further wide-open views out to the coast. The path is very straightforward from here. This is a less populated part of the area and chances are you won't see another soul during this section. The trees change from conifer to native species including willow, hawthorn, birch and rowan.
4. Go through the gap to the left of Forestry Commission gate, then head left on road and past sign to Bradley’s Riding School. Continue on road up the hill, eventually you'll see the small stone circle of Blakeley Raise (aka Kinniside Stone Circle) to the right.
5. The stone circle is missing from older OS maps as it simply wasn’t there. Sometime in the 18th Century a local farmer decided to use the stones as fence posts. During the 1920s the stone circle was restored by Doctor Quine of Frizington who set the stones in concrete. It is unlikely he set the stones in their original position and some of the stones may not be original. From the circle follow the road up back the short distance to the start of the walk.
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