Catsycam and Swirral edge avoiding the crowds!

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By iggsypoo on 30/09/20 at 5:30pm (last edited 30/09/20 at 5:33pm)

So Friday September 18th was a glorious sunny morning and the last of five days Wainwright bagging with my son. We'd decided to finish the week doing Catsycam and Swirral edge, which had passed us by even though we've both done Helvellyn and Striding Edge several times and the northern ridge from Sheffield Pike to Clough Head pre lockdown. The car park in Glenridding was already virtually full by 9.15 and the walk up to Birkhouse Moor was like a procession of people out to conquer Helvellyn. We decided by the time we got to Birkhouse Moor to avoid Striding Edge completely and just walk up the flank of Catsycam instead, an inspired move as it turned out as we had the fell virtually to ourselves, whilst Striding Edge looked like an Aldi store during lockdown! Swirral Edge was pretty straight forward and not as intimidating as it first looked from a distance and we both touched the Helvellyn summit to prove a point, trying to avoid the queue of people awaiting a photo opportunity. The route was then to take in White Side and Raise, both of which we'd previously missed out on. After a lunch stop we carried on to the summit of Raise, gradually leaving the throng behind us and dipped down off the summit to have a look at the ski lift and hut below. The route back was then a trudge across heather, bracken and bog and to be honest, wasn't very nice, but we didn't see a soul the whole way back until a lone jogger passed us by the YMCA. Suffice it to say it was a walk of two halves that was initially endured due to the crowds, but subsequently became one of peace and solitude in perfect weather and surroundings. Catsycam, although in the shadow of its higher neighbour is no less a summit and the views are equally as good if not better for the lack of people and its one that I would willing climb repeatedly, with or without Swirral Edge.

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