|Distance:||18.6 km or 11.6 miles|
|Ascent:||1421m or 4662ft|
|Descent:||1421m or 4662ft|
The winter so far has been very mild, particularly so in the past few weeks, with almost all of the late January and early February snow on the high fells having now melted. The weather forecast for Tuesday 26th February was for a continuation of the unseasonally high temperatures, with a fine, sunny day, and light winds expected. On that basis, I decided to make another trip to the Lake District, with intentions of doing (yet again!) one of my favourite walks - Helvellyn via Striding Edge, along with several other tops.
I started the walk from a rough gravelly pull-in on Greenside Road in Glenridding, making my way across Rattlebeck Bridge, and walking towards Littlecove and my favoured Mires Beck route up the fellside. The path beside Mires Beck is well defined and easy to follow, and leads directly up the fellside to a drystone wall, where it then turns to follow the wall upwards before diverting northwards towards Birkhouse Moor's more northerly "summit".
After visiting the cairn there, the wall was picked up again, being then followed along the ridge, past Birkhouse Moor's true summit, (which is located immediately beside the wall, and which is approximately 10m higher than the "north summit"), to the "hole-in-the-wall", from where it is just a short distance to Low & High Spying How, and Striding Edge. Once across Striding Edge, it was up to Helvellyn summit, and then along the ridge across the summits of Nethermost Pike, High Crag, and Dollywaggon Pike, before descending to Grisedale Tarn.
Crossing the stepping stones at the tarn's outlet, I then made my way up to Deepdale Hause, and onwards to St. Sunday Crag summit, (where I had a late lunch break), before making the lengthy descent back to valley level, contouring around the flanks of Birks, and down Thornhow End. Then, a very short stretch of road before crossing the valley towards the Kennels, followed by a slight ascent to pass by the side of Lanty's Tarn, (adjacent to the small knoll of Keldas), before continuing onwards back to Glenridding and the car.
GPX track of the route walked: -
Walk Elevation Profile: -
First photo of the day just after leaving the car, looking towards Rattlebeck Cottage, with Littlecove in the distance. - (Still before sunrise, with the moon just sitting on the horizon): -
The view back towards Glenridding from Littlecove, with early morning sunshine now catching the fells: -
The drystone wall at the head of Littlecove. - (The route from here follows the wall upwards for a short distance): -
After a few hundred metres, the "official" path now veers northwards, away from the wall. The original path follows the wall all the way up to the ridgeline, but major erosion by the footfall of countless fellwalkers has led to the Fix-The-Fells team rerouting it. The actual start of the preferred path, where it veers away from the wall is, as yet, quite indistinct, but it is worth seeking out as it soon becomes an easy to follow, partly pitched route that leads up towards Birkhouse Moor's "northerly summit".
Having now veered away northwards from the wall, the view towards Ullswater from the flanks of Birkhouse Moor: -
First glimpse of Helvellyn, as the ridgeline near the summit of Birkhouse Moor is reached: -
A zoomed-in shot of High Spying How, Striding Edge, & the Lad Crag headwall - from Birkhouse Moor ridgeline: -
A zoomed-in shot of the east face of Helvellyn. - Again taken from the Birkhouse Moor ridgeline: -
Looking towards a distant Ullswater from Birkhouse Moor's (north) "summit" cairn: -
Helvellyn and Catstye Cam from Birkhouse Moor's (north) summit cairn: - (I always consider this cairn to be the summit of Birkhouse Moor, but in fact the true summit is approximately 10 metres higher, and is located about half a kilometre away, marked by a very large pile of stones immediately beside the drystone wall that leads along the ridgeline to the hole-in-the-wall).
A slightly zoomed-in shot of a hazy looking Ullswater. - Taken from Birkhouse Moor, just north of its northerly cairn: -
Looking along the drystone wall, from the ridgeline between Birkhouse Moor and Helvellyn. (Birkhouse Moor's true summit is just behind me at this point): -
A close-up of Swirral Edge, (two walkers at the top), taken from beside the wall on Birkhouse Moor's ridgeline: -
Almost at the hole-in-the-wall: -
The ladder stile over the drystone wall, with the "Hole-in-the-wall" beyond: -
Looking back across Birkhouse Moor from the hole-in-the-wall. (Birkhouse Moor's true summit is more-or-less where the wall disappears over the crest in the photo): -
The crags of Helvellyn's east face. (The summit cross-shelter can be seen on the ridgeline above Viking Buttress): -
On the way to High Spying How, and the view across Red Tarn towards Helvellyn: -
High Spying How, with Striding Edge and Helvellyn beyond: -
The Dixon Memorial, (located just on the Striding Edge side of High Spying How). The text box might be a little small to read in the photo here. The actual text on the memorial reads: "In memory of Robert Dixon, Rookings Patterdale, who was killed on this place on the 27th day of Nov. 1858 when following the Patterdale foxhounds": -
Looking along Striding Edge towards Helvellyn: -
Another shot towards Helvellyn, (from further along Striding Edge): -
Looking back along Striding Edge from about half way up the Lad Crag headwall: -
Looking back across Striding Edge from the top of the headwall, just below Helvellyn's summit ridge: -
The Gough Memorial on Helvellyn's summit plateau. (The summit cross-shelter can just be seen, over towards right hand side): -
The text of the Gough Memorial: -
The eastern vista from the Ordnance Survey triangulation pillar at Helvellyn's summit: -
Yours truly at Helvellyn summit. - (Red Tarn below, and the upper part of Viking Buttress in shadow behind): -
A zoomed-in shot looking westwards from Helvellyn towards Great Gable etc.
Now on the way towards Nethermost Pike, and a view looking back, showing Striding Edge and the ridge back to Birkhouse Moor: - (The Pennine hills in the distance appear to be floating above the thin cloud inversion that's been lingering all day over that way!)
Further along the ridge, and a zoomed-in shot looking back to the awkward "chimney" section of Striding Edge: - (Spot the walkers, (circled). - One who has just climbed down the chimney and is now making his way towards the start of the Lad Crag headwall to Helvellyn's summit, and the other, who has already started the ascent of the headwall).
A view down to Grisedale Valley from Nethermost Pike summit plateau, with part of Striding Edge at left hand side:- (Thornhow End in shadow at right. Place Fell & Birk Fell across the valley floor, Arthur's Pike, Loadpot Hill & Wether Hill beyond, and the Pennines on the horizon).
Looking more easterly from the same spot, (unfortunately against the light), with St. Sunday Crag prominent across Grisedale: -
Now beyond Nethermost Pike, heading to High Crag, and the view down into Ruthwaite Cove. - (Hard Tarn near centre shot): -
The western vista from High Crag summit cairn: -
Now almost at Dollywaggon Pike summit, and the view looking back along the ridge to High Crag. - (At upper right of shot): -
St. Sunday Crag, as seen from Dollywaggon Pike summit: -
The ornate cast iron post, not far from Dollywaggon Pike summit: -
St. Sunday Crag as seen from the upper flanks of Dollywaggon Pike at the beginning of the descent to Grisedale Tarn: -
Grisedale Tarn, seen on the descent from Dollywaggon Pike. - (Unfortunately looking directly into the light): -
Seat Sandal, seen across the stepping stones at the outlet of Grisedale Tarn: -
Looking in the other direction, to St.Sunday Crag. - (Deepdale Hause is at the dip on the horizon, about a ¼ way in from right): -
Tarn Crag & Falcon Crag (part of Dollywaggon Pike), as seen on the ascent from Grisedale Tarn to Deepdale Hause: -
Grisedale Tarn from Deepdale Hause, with Dollywaggon Pike and its crags prominent. - (High Crag on horizon at far right): -
Looking across to the ridgeline walked earlier. - Part of Dollywaggon Pike at far left, then High Crag, then Nethermost Pike, and then Helvellyn, (its summit cross-shelter just visible at far right). - Ruthwaite Lodge, (see inset), can just about be seen in the valley below: -
Looking across to Nethermost Cove from just beside the summit cairn on St. Sunday Crag. - Nethermost Pike to left, & Striding Edge leading to Helvellyn at right: -
Ullswater from Thornhow End - as seen on my descent back to valley level: - Part of Lanty's Tarn, my next objective, can just about be seen across the valley. (Just below ½ way up at left hand edge of shot): -
Lanty's Tarn. - Thornhow End, my descent route back to valley level, can be seen across the tarn: -
Last shot of the day - Ullswater, taken from the Keldas area just before my return to Glenridding and the car: -
All things considered, another fantastic day out on Lakeland's fells.