Classic Helvellyn.

Start. Glenridding.

Route. Glenridding - Mires Beck - Birkhouse Moor - Hole-in-the-Wall - Low Spying How - High Spying How - Striding Edge - Helvellyn - Swirral Edge - Catstye Cam - Red Tarn Beck - Glenridding.

Notes. I believe it was the playwright and actor Noel Coward who penned "Mad dogs and English men go out in the midday sun", what seemed like a good idea driving to work at five-o-clock on a cool cloudless Saturday morning didn't seem so good in the heat of mid-afternoon. Toiling up the Mires Beck path en route to Helvellyn, I was hoping for a breath of wind to cool my ascent, but the weather gods had thrown the gauntlet down, if I wanted a cool breeze I'd have to climb to find one.

My route today was simple, I followed the Mires Beck path visiting the summit of Birkhouse Moor before an adrenalin fueled crossing of Striding Edge, I took a long earned breather on the summit of the third highest peak in the Lake District, Helvellyn, before descending stoney Swirral Edge to gain the airy heights of Catstye Cam. I descended on an obvious path along Catstye Cam's eastern ridge, eventually stepping onto the Red Tarn Beck path for the last three miles back to Glenridding.

view route map.


Toiling up Mires Beck in the baking heat of mid-afternoon, stopping for a breather looking to Sheffield Pike and the lower Glenridding Dodd.

Standing on the 2,356ft height summit of Birkhouse Moor, I've finally found the breeze and a stunning view down Ullswater.

Gesturing towards Helvellyn a young lad on the summit of Birkhouse Moor coined the phraise "the main event", I don't know if they were his words or from the Wainwright book he was carrying, never the less it's a perfect description, and a perfect place to view the route ahead.

From Birkhouse Moor views to Dollywaggon Pike, the path in view leads to the promised land.

How many stiles have a name on the map, this one has, Hole-in-the-Wall, doorway to the best fell walking in Britain.

Striding Edge famed throughout the walking world, now's the time to turn back if the legs are shaking, or you could always take the bottle out path below the top of the ridge, the choice is yours, go for it!.

Approaching Striding Edge from High Spying How looking to Fairfield over Nethermost Cove.

Helvellyn along Striding Edge.

Testament to the mortality of man (not everybody makes it across), the Dixon Memorial.

Dramatic rock scenery on the approach to Helvellyn.

Catstye Cam across Red Tarn, seen from Striding Edge, if I can stop to take photo's it can't be that bad can it.

Dappled light on Catstye Cam seen from the Gough Memorial, another unlucky sole who failed to make the crossing.

After the drama of Striding Edge the summit plateau is unexpectedly flat....

....but the views are stunning, the Coniston massif across a hazy Lakeland.

Red Tarn with sunlight on Birkhouse Moor, it seems an awful long time since I was over there.

Stoney Swirral Edge leading to Catstye Cam.

The endless view to the east taking in Ullswater over the summits of Birkhouse Moor and Catstye Cam.

On the northern horizon Skiddaw and Blencathra seen from the cairn clearly marking the start of the Swirral Edge descent.

Delightful views to Striding Edge from the summit of Catstye Cam.

The summit of Catstye Cam makes a fine view point, well worth the effort it takes to get there, the dog leg shape of Ullswater seen over Sheffield Pike.

A final look back to Helvellyn, seen over Striding Edge, Nethermost Pike and Dollywaggon Pike.

Catstye Cam seen from the banks of Glenridding Beck.

Looking to a slice of Lakelands industrial history, the Greenside Mine once the biggest in the country, all ghosts now.

Descending to Glenridding with views to Place Fell for company.

Looking to Glenridding Dodd.

Place fell over Ullswater, I can almost taste that pint.

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