Helvellyn stands at 950 m / 3116 ft high making it the third highest peak in the English lake district. It towers over Thrimere and Ullswater overlooking red tarn and the valleys of Patterdale and Glenridding. There are several routes you can choose to reach the top of Helvellyn but the most exhilarating path has to be the striding edge.
It is a popular tourist path having thousands of visitors every year and can be so busy that you sometimes have to wait in the queue just to get on to the ridge. It’s also a dangerous path and has been the scene of deaths and many accidents.
The path is a steep ridge starting from bleaberry crag and takes you up along the ridge path on to high spying how where you get a magnificent view of Ullswater. The path drops down with some scrambling before reaching the base of Helvellyn. Here you have to scramble your way up to the top.
My trip to striding edge and Helvellyn started at Gillside campsite where I spent the night. I was guiding some work colleagues up to the top in the morning. Some of them had the experience where some were the first time for them.
We set off in the morning following the path across little cove till we came to the wall. We followed this wall all the way, getting steep at some places till we eventually reached the hole in the wall. The lads were amazed at how stunning the views were……Les couldn’t believe he was up there with us and we hadn’t even started the ridge yet. We had a break not far from the hole in the wall but I noticed the fog slowly rolling in. By the time we were ready, the mountain ranges had disappeared into the thick fog and I started a risk assessment…..was it safe to continue.
I decided to carry on with our trip and see what it was like on the ridge. The fog seemed to come then disappear and there were loads of walkers on the ridge but Les started to doubt himself of fear from heights and Paul seemed a little anxious Too. We got to the first drops and Les sat down and froze…..something we call cragfast. I was not comfortable taking Les any further as the ridge gets worse and Paul seemed reluctant to continue so we came to the arrangement that Paul and Les would return to the path back to the campsite and I would continue guiding Keith and Luke on the ridge and up to Helvellyn.
The views were spectacular and once we got to the top we visited the trig point and memorial. The place was very busy with a few tents pitched. but it was getting late so we made our way back down through via swirral edge.
You can sit back and watch this whole adventure in the video below and maybe it will help you decide if this scramble is for you………..remember you need a good head for heights. Thanks for watching folks.
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