Sunday, 2 August 2015

Helvellyn via Striding Edge and Whiteside 30th July 2015


On the 30th July 2015 I set off from the Park Resorts Site (Regent Bay) in Morecambe to climb Helvellyn. This was the only dry day forecasted for the week. I really didn't want to tackle Striding Edge if the rocks were wet. I arrived in Glenridding after nearly an hours drive and parked up in the Glenridding car park and paid the £8 fee for the day.

I walked along the river to the toilets to go before I set off, not having 20p for the toilets I ducked under and relieved myself. Now I was ready, rucksack and boots on I set off out the carpark and up a road passing the Travellers Rest pub and onto the Mires Beck path.


Helvellyn is the third-highest point both in England and in the Lake District, and access to Helvellyn is easier than to the two higher peaks of Scafell Pike and Sca Fell. The scenery includes three deep glacial coves and two sharp-topped ridges on the eastern side (Striding Edge and Swirral Edge).
 Elevation 950 m (3,120 ft)

I am now climbing steeply up and I am out am of breath and my heart is pumping thinking why do  I do this. I stop for a rest look around and think ah that's why I do this.... outstanding views across the mountain and Ullswater.












A Meadow Pipit

Looking down the path to Ullswater






I now reach a place known as Hole in the wall. I stop and speak to a couple and they take my picture for me. Just up ahead a short way is Striding Edge. Now I've heard a lot about this and how frightening it is,but from here it doesn't look too bad. They have been five deaths on this mountain this year (2015) and that is on the front of my mind as I appproach Striding Edge.

Striding Edge begins at Hole-in-the-Wall and then stretches for over 1.5 km to the Helvellyn summit plateau. This starting point is accessible from both Glenridding and Patterdale. Hole-in-the-Wall used to be a prominent gap in the stone wall on the top of the ridge where a gate was missing.Today the gap has been filled in and a ladder stile crosses the wall.

Striding Edge is a classic Grade 1 scramble in the Lake District - and if you’re looking to make your first foray into scrambling territory then it’s the perfect place to start.

With spine-tingling exposure on both sides, Striding Edge isn’t the ideal choice if you suffer from vertigo. Other than a good head for heights, though, all you’ll need is basic hill walking know-how.
“You should have the ability to read a map and a compass, because you’ll be finishing on a summit that’s often in cloud,”  “Having said that, navigating on the scramble itself is straightforward - you just follow the ridge!”


I am now on the Ridge and going across is okay but there are times when you have to lower yourself down or climb across and you think this is pretty scary now and I could see how falls and deaths were possible if care isn't taken.
But saying that I was enjoying it and was no way going to give in and take the easier paths just below the ridge,I'm only here once and I'm doing Striding Edge!
A smaller rucksack would be nice though as it catches on the rocks at times as I lower myself down.










I get towards the end of the ridge, now I wasn't expecting a scramble up the rock face to reach the summit. I start to climb and soon I stop to put the map,walking pole and camera away so I had both hands free and not having the camera smash against the rocks.

A view down off the ridge

This memorial is perched incongruously on Striding Edge and commemorates the spot where the unfortunate Mr Dixon plunged off Striding Edge while running with the Ullswater hounds in 1858.






About to lower myself down

A scramble up

View back down to Striding Edge.





I now reach the summit and a obligatory photo is taken,with Red Tarn below.


A memorial  commemorates Charles Gough, immortalised by William Wordsworth. Gough died attempting to cross Striding Edge to reach the summit in 1805, and  his faithful dog stayed by his body for 3 months until both were discovered. 









I now continue on and somehow miss the turning for Swirall Edge, my fault as I hadn't got my map back out again yet!
I walk up Whiteside (863m) and up yet another climb I wasn't banking on. I take a path down just before Raise along Red Screes.






I follow the relentless zig zags down the path and thinking I don't know whats worse, the hard slog up and the decent and its punishment on your knees. Even the walking pole did little to help.






I eventually am back down to level ground and I take another path that heads back towards the car park after passing the YHA Helvellyn.
I cross the river by a bridge and make it back to the car park.



After dumping the backpack and changing my boots for more comfortable trainers I take a slow walk down to Ullswater for a quick look before heading back to the site.

I'm back in the car absolutely knackered after a 9 mile walk and it took 2 days for my legs to recover but what a walk!