Helvellyn in Snow. - (Striding Edge / Swirral Edge etc.)

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By Lancashire Lad on 09/01/18 at 2:28pm

Hills walked:
Striding Edge (Hewitt, Nuttall, High Hill of Britain, Synge, Sim, and Tump)
Helvellyn (Furth, Wainwright, Birkett, Marilyn, Hewitt, Nuttall, HuMP, High Hill of Britain, Clem, County Top - Current County and Unitary Authority, Fellranger, Synge, Sim, County Top - Historic, and Tump)
Birkhouse Moor (Wainwright, Birkett, Nuttall, Fellranger, Synge, and sub Sim)
Date started:07/01/2018
Distance:12.1 km or 7.5 miles
Ascent:869m or 2851ft
Descent:867m or 2844ft
Start OSGB:NY381169
Time taken:7:56

According to the mountain weather forecast, Sunday 7th January was to be a sunny day in the Lake District, with moderate winds. So, as there was a good coverage of snow on the high fells, I decided on a trip to Glenridding, to revisit (yet again!), one of my favourite walks: - "Helvellyn by the edges".

Bearing in mind that Helvellyn is an extremely popular walk, even in winter, (and what with this being a Sunday, with the forecast good weather conditions, and the probability of many fellow walkers being on the route), a very early start from home saw me arriving at Glenridding while it was still dark. I parked up in a small rough roadside layby on Greenside Road, and leisurely sorted out my gear before heading off over Rattlebeck Bridge to pick up the Mires Beck path into Little Cove.

Dawn soon broke, and it became easy to see more of the surrounding landscape. The sun eventually rising over the horizon to give the first hint of what was to be a glorious day on the fells.

I decided to take the recently partly pitched path diversion towards Birkhouse Moor, thereby giving a slightly easier ascent, and a longer walk across the moor towards the Hole-in-the-wall. - With more opportunity for photographs towards Helvellyn on the high level approach.

The main snowline was at about the 1700ft level. Above that height, there was plenty of snow underfoot, and solid enough to walk on without sinking in too much! - Both Striding Edge and Swirral Edge had liberal snow coverage, with icy patches here and there where the snow had consolidated after the passage of many pairs of boots! - Crampons and ice axe being essential for safe passage of both edges.

All in all, a fantastic day on the fells!

GPX track of the route walked: -

Still a bit dark when I set off! - (The moon over Birkhouse Moor): -

Moon over Birkhouse Moor.

Dawn soon broke, and I could look back down the Mires Beck path towards Glenridding and Ullswater: -

Glenridding View.

The sun begins to catch the fell tops as I get higher up the hill: -

Ullswater from the Mires Beck path.

Approaching Birkhouse Moor plateau, Helvellyn and the edges, (and Catstye Cam), come into sight: -

Helvellyn comes into view.

A closer view of today's goals, from Birkhouse Moor: -

Helvellyn from Birkhouse Moor.

The dry stone wall across Birkhouse Moor, leading towards the "Hole-in-the-wall", with Striding Edge and Helvellyn beyond: -

Helvellyn from Birkhouse Moor.

Slighty closer to the Hole-in-the-wall, (can be seen where wall bends left), looking towards Low Spying How & High Spying How: -

Low & High Spying How from Birkhouse Moor.

Striding Edge and a sunlit Lad Crag headwall. (And a glimpse of the Nethermost Cove crags, above Striding Edge in centre shot): -

Striding Edge from Birkhouse Moor.

A zoomed-in view of Striding Edge and the headwall: -

Closer view of Striding Edge.

Looking towards Helvellyn summit plateau. Striding Edge to left, Swirral Edge to right, and the moon still very visible above: -

Helvellyn summit & the moon, from Birkhouse Moor.

A zoomed-in shot of Swirral Edge and the moon: -

Moon over SWirral Edge.

I think this guy has a slight case of hypothermia! - Helvellyn and Catsty Cam from just beyond the Hole-in-the-wall: -

Snowman & Catstye Cam.

Red Tarn comes into view on the way up towards Low Spying How: -

Red Tarn comes into view.

Looking towards Nethermost and Dollywaggon Coves on the approach to High Spying How: -

Nethermost & Dollywaggon Coves.

Almost at the summit of High Spying How, and another view into Dollywaggon Cove & Nethermost Cove: -

Nethermost & Dollywaggon Coves.

Looking along Striding Edge from the summit of High Spying How: -

Looking along Striding Edge.

The Dixon Memorial, located on the Striding Edge side of High Spying How: -

The Dixon Memorial.

Looking back to High Spying How from Striding Edge: -

High Spying How.

A passing low cloud just hits Helvellyn summit, and giving a slightly gloomier feel to this shot along Striding Edge: -

Looking along Striding Edge.

The cloud quickly passes, and sunlight returns as I approach the narrower part of the Striding Edge traverse: -

Looking along Striding Edge.

Looking along the narrower bit: -

Looking along Striding Edge.

Looking back down to Striding Edge and Red Tarn, from about half way up the Lad Crag headwall: -

Looking back across Striding Edge.

A similar shot, this time taken nearer the top of the headwall, just before reaching Helvellyn's summit plateau: -

Looking back across Striding Edge.

A rime-ice covered Gough Memorial, with Helvellyn's summit shelter and the actual summit just beyond: -

The Gough Memorial.

Looking across to Great Gable from Helvellyn summit plateau: -

Great Gable etc, from Helvellyn.

The easterly view towards Ullswater from Helvellyn summit plateau: -

Ullswater from Helvellyn.

Red Tarn and Striding Edge from the summit plateau: -

Striding Edge from Helvellyn's summit plateau.

A closer view looking back to Striding Edge, with St.Sunday Crag immediately behind: -

Striding Edge from Helvellyn's summit plateau.

Looking across to Swirral Edge, the next part of my walk, from Helvellyn summit plateau: -

Swirral Edge from Helvellyn's summit plateau.

A walker making his way up Swirral Edge: -

Swirral Edge from Helvellyn's summit plateau.

Looking back up towards the top of Swirral Edge, as I make my descent: -

Looking back up Swirral Edge.

Interesting ice formations on the rocks of Swirral Edge: -

Frost & ice on Swirral Edge.

Looking back across to Striding Edge from Swirral Edge: -

Striding Edge from Swirral Edge.

A closer view of walkers on Striding Edge's narrow bit. - As seen from Swirral Edge: -

Striding Edge from Swirral Edge.

Looking back up Swirral Edge as I make my way down towards Red Tarn: -

Looking back up SWirral Edge.

Last shot of the day. - A view back towards the snow clad summit of Catsty Cam, after the long descent beside Red Tarn Beck: -

Catstye Cam from Red Tarn Beck bridge.

Regards, Mike.

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