Helvellyn and Striding Edge.

7th October 2011

I don`t know why but I couldn`t be bothered writing this one up which is very strange because it was one of the best days out so far this soggy year.Anyway,here`s a quick half hearted attempt 🙂

Down to the Lake District this week for a change of scenery .It`s under two hours from my house and I really don`t know why we don`t get down more often. The forecast for the weekend was the usual recent rubbish,consisting of low cloud and driving rain.Friday however was looking good albeit with the wind giving a “severe buffeting” according to MWIS.We were booked into Barrow Mountaineering Clubs  cottage at Coniston for the Friday and Saturday night along with our climbing club and it didn`t take much to convince Bob and I to go down early on the Friday morning to make the most of the weather.It was a spectacular morning and it`s just as well there is a paucity of parking places along the side of Ullswater as we probably wouldn`t have reached the hill before lunchtime….beautiful scenery.

view across ullswater

Across Ullswater

Our goal was Striding Edge on Helvellyn and we were a wee bit disappointed to see a bank of cloud hanging over the top…

Looking up to the head of Ullswater

Looking up to the head of Ullswater

It looked like it would lift and,anyway,after the summer we have endured it wasn`t half bad. A wee bit of research the previous evening had flagged up the exorbitant parking fees in the National Trust car park at Glenridding weighing in at a hefty £7 for the day
Luckily though it had also shown that there was some free space below Stybarrow Crag a mile beforehand.There was room for half a dozen cars and being midweek late in the season we had it to ourselves.Buoyed by the boost to our wallets we followed a path along the side of Ullswater before crossing the road and heading up a track towards Gillside.


Looking back down on Glenridding

An excellent path then led up the flank of Birkhouse Moor and onto that summit.

View back towards Birkhouse Moor

View back towards Birkhouse Moor.

The forecast was proving to be very accurate indeed with regard to the buffeting as it was blowing a hoolie as they say.A stop at the Hole in the Wall for a Mars bar and the gloves and hats went on for Striding Edge itself which stretched ahead of us in the sunshine..

Striding Edge ahead

Striding Edge ahead

The gusts were proving to be a tad wearisome and took away a bit of the pleasure that would be had on a calmer day.Nevertheless we enjoyed it 🙂 Found a sheltered spot on the southern side of the ridge and had a lunch stop with a grandstand view over to Fairfield.Pic courtesy of Bob.

Fairfield from Striding Edge

Fairfield from Striding Edge

It was over all too soon and we were faced with the final steep section up to the summit plateau where I had the chance of a breather when we had a natter with a couple of Yorkshire guys of our own age.Turned out I`d spent a night in their local pub in the village of Mattersey many years ago 🙂 These were the only two folk we spoke to all day though there were a few other folk around in the distance.

Swirral Edge from Striding Edge..

Swirral Edge from Striding Edge

Swirral Edge from Striding Edge

Looking back along Stridimg Edge…

View back down to Striding Edge

View back down to Striding Edge

The wind had disappeared completely by now so we had a wander around before having a seat in the wonderfully constructed windbreak near the summit.

Helvellyn summit

Bob on Helvellyn summit

Our intention had been to descend via Swirral Edge but that would have us back down a bit on the early side.My foot was a little bit sore by now but the wonderful cloud and light dabbling the hillsides decided it for us.We`d stay up high and make good use of the remaining hours of daylight and I`d worry about the foot later 🙂 Off we headed on the broad path to the south and Nethernmost Pike.Over to the west the light was changing by the minute…

Light show on the fells

Light show on the fells

Light on the fells

Light on the fells

….. and we had to call a halt to the photo stops or we`d never get back down.A nice viewpoint on the continuation to Dollywagon Pike…

High Street

Over to the High Street area

We seemed to be on the disecting line of an east west split.Cloudy and moody magnificence to the west…..

To the south west

…… and beautiful late evening sun to the east.

st sunday crag

St.Sunday Crag

Over to Fairfield..



I had to call a halt on the descent down to Grisedale Tarn for a break and some magic  foot ointment.Still,you couldn`t ask for a nicer spot for a half hours rest 🙂

grisedale tarn

Grisedale Tarn

Our route back down Grisedale was by now deep in shadow with the fading sun just illuminating the tops.

Shadows in Grisedale

Shadows in Grisedale

This was my first visit to Grisedale and I was very surprised at the craggy mountain feel it possessed.

View back up Grisedale

View back up Grisedale

Spotted a couple of Belted Galloways in a field further down.You don`t see many of them nowadays and they always bring a smile to my face for some reason 🙂

belted galloway

Couple of belties 🙂

A few more stops to let the foot recover and we were back down at Patterdale albeit with an unintended detour through the grounds of some private lodge before a stroll back to the car along the lochside in the fading light.

twilight on ullswater

Twilight on Ullswater

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11 Responses to Helvellyn and Striding Edge.

  1. Looks a fantastic trip. Have passed the Lakes many times on my frequent trips down the M6, but have yet to make any decent time to spend there. One day though…

  2. writesofway says:

    Lovely post, Alex. Some cracking pics; lovely, shifting light. I’d much rather go for a bit of ‘changeable’ than sunshine all day – must be adapting to my adoptive country after five years! I always think ‘can’t be bothered’ with the Lakes on account of the crowds, but as you show it’s possible to have the fells more or less to yourself out of season.

    That’s a belting pair of belties. I liked your pic of the coo doing an impersonation of a Belted Galloway on Sanday…

    • The light show was a bit special Pete.There seems to be a different light in the Lakes compared to the Highlands.Nice to see working farms and lovely old dry stane dykes for a change as well.
      My first pint in a pub for over a year was a bit of a shock though…£3.50 🙂

  3. We’ve got a few belties round here 🙂

    Grand photos, especially like the one with the rain to the west of you. But your photos of the edge are good too – make it look nice and sharp!

  4. Fantastic photos of your trip. Been a while since we’ve been to the Lakes for any serious walking. Once we’d discovered other, quieter, areas we kind of gave the Lakes up. You obviously found a peaceful weekend though – could inspire us to re-visit!

    • I`ve always found Wasdale a nice peaceful escape from the tourist bus hordes Chrissie.Haven`t been there in years though.Have done a bit of walking in the Yorkshire Dales but that too was yonks ago as was my first and last visit to Stanage.Found the gritstone grades a bit stiff for my elegant and graceful technique 🙂

  5. McEff says:

    That’s set me off, Alex. I haven’t been up Striding Edge for years. Must tag it onto a list that gets longer and longer. On another point, the coldest night I have ever spent in my life was in the Barrow Mountaineering Club hut in Coppermines Valley, huddled inside a Blacks Icelandic sleeping bag that all the stuffing had migrated from. That was one January in the early 1980s. I hope you had a warmer time.
    Alen McF

  6. backpackingbongos says:

    The Lakes look rather magical in your photos Alex. I have to admit that I have never set foot on Striding Edge, something that I should remedy one day. Only being two hours from the lakes is something that i would be keen on!

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