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Helvellyn in the Lake District, England

Helvellyn in the Lake District Loch, Lake, Waterfall in Glenridding, Cumbria, England


The must do walk in the Lake District! England's second Highest Mountain and one of the most popular. Approach from Glenridding and Patterdale in the east or Thirlmere in the west.

30 miles, 26 peaks (including Helvellyn) and 10,000 feet of ascent to raise money for Patterdale Church and School.

Helvellyn, ("Yellow Upland" in Cambric) is the third highest mountain in the Lake District. It is the most famous and most climbed and walked of all the Lakeland fells and is the ideal place to experience the majesty of the area.

 The eastern aspect is by far the most picturesque and dramatic, with the summit encircled by Striding Edge and Swirral Edge. Striding Edge is one of the most popular ridge walks in the Lakes, although there is a lower path for those who prefer (recommended in high wind and the wet!). Swirral Edge also provides a dramatic ascent or descent, and leads to Catstyecam.

The summit of Helvellyn is remarkably flat (helped by some Victorian workmen), so flat indeed that in 1926 John Leeming and Bert Hinkler landed a plane on it (and took off again!). This is marked by one of three memorials in the area. The other on the summit 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. The final 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.

In the natural hollow bordered on three sides by Helvellyn, Striding and Swirral edges lies Red Tarn, which contrary to its name is a splendidly clear glacial pool which looks like an inviting plunge pool from the top in the summer but regularly freezes over in the winter months. Water from the tarn was used to power Greenside mines above Glenridding.

Suggested Route

Patterdale - Hole in the Wall - Striding Edge - Helvellyn - Swirral Edge - Red Tarn - Glenridding via Green side Mine - Patterdale

Distance: c. 21 km (13 miles)
Total Ascent: 1329m (4359 ft)
Time: c.9 Hours
Maps OS Landranger 90/OS Explorer OL5

 

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The must do walk of any trip to the lakes. We recommend to ascend from Patterdale, as the climb up to Hole in the wall is short and relatively painless! On the way up don't forget to look behind you at the splendour of the dale and the magnificence of High Street and Place Fell

View towards High Street and Place Fell © Rob Shephard 2007



Striding Edge © Rob Shephard 2007


Once at hole in the wall turn left for the awesome striding edge. Watch out if it’s busy as in some places there isn’t much room to step off the path to make room for people coming the other way! Be aware that it can be treacherous in poor weather so if you’re unsure just head for red tarn instead – once there if you can see the summit in front of you it should be OK!




Once you complete “the edge” look back and you’ll feel a unique sense of achievement!

Striding Edge © Rob Shephard 2007

Red Tarn from Helvellyn © Rob Shephard 2007



From the summit look down at Red Tarn – for a glacial lake it looks like a big inviting swimming pool!



From the summit take the time to explore the panorama – on a clear day the views stretch to the coast in the west, to Scotland in the North and across the lakes in the east and south

Summit of Helvellyn © Rob Shephard 2007

Swirral Edge - Helvellyn © Rob Shephard 2007

Come back down via the “gentle” Swirral edge and then stop off at Red Tarn for a rest before meandering down to Glenridding via Greenside mine. All in all a grand day out!






Nearby Holiday Accommodation

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Location Details and other Things to Do

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Helvellyn in the Lake District
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Nearby Accommodation Holiday Accommodation in England

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