Helvellyn via Keppel Cove.

Start. Patterdale.

Route. Patterdale - Glenridding - Greenside Road - Greenside Mine - Keppel Cove - White Side - Lower Man - Helvellyn - Swallow Scarth - Nethermost Pike - High Crag - Dollywaggon Pike - Grisedale Tarn - Grisedale - Elmhow - Thornhow - Glenamara Park - Patterdale.

Notes. Helvellyn at 3118ft the third highest mountain in the Lake District, a vast wall of cliff, crag and rock dividing the deep cut troughs of Thirlmere and Ullswater, a monster rising from volcanic turmoil, carved by ice, sculptured by wind and rain, an impressive mountain for those who wander it's steep slopes and awesome ridge lines. Many paths climb Helvellyn's steep slopes, from the world famous Striding Edge ascent to the routes leaving the Thirlmere valley, all undeniably steep and all well trod. My route followed the quiet, a lonely walk to Keppel Cove traversing the Glenridding valley, allowing me to approach the hill from the north by way of White Side and Lower Man.

I parked in Patterdale, why? because there's free parking if you arrive early enough. The mile long road walk to Glenridding was a delight in the low sun of early morning. Once in Glenridding I joined the Greenside Road, my guide into the hills. With tarmac under foot I ascended passing The Travellers Rest and on to Helvellyn Cottages, (a row of ex minors cottages some now let as holiday accommodation) where tarmac ended to be replaced by a rough track, this in turn terminated at the buildings of the Greenside Mine, a hostel and various education facilities.

From the mine a finger-post invited me to Keppel Cove, I obliged, the walk in was stunning but lonely, steep mountain slopes rose on three sides, you feel tiny, an ant wandering into a land of giants. Keppel Cove welcomed me with walls of rock and sheer cliffs, an atmospheric slice of Lakeland even more so with thick cloud being thrown down from the mountains. Just before entering said cove a steep path ascended to my right, this I followed into low cloud and swirling Lakeland mist. The long steep ascent behind me, the path swung round the head of Keppel Cove, ascending White Side, followed by Lower Man before depositing me on the summit of Helvellyn. I hung around, chatting to other walkers. Just before heading south the cloud lifted revealing staggering views to all points of the compass, vast combs, awesome ridge lines and my route ahead. A route that clung to the edge of the ridge and those staggering views, this trod also avoids the crowds wandering the main path. Over Nethermost Pike and High Crag I wandered, after traversing Dollywaggon Pike I descended the main path to the mountain crossroads at Grisedale Tarn. The long finger of Grisedale stretched to the north-east, this was my guide back to the civilised world.

With the song and churning waters of Grisedale Beck for company I wandered down the valley taking the right fork after descending from Ruthwaite Lodge (climbing hut). I wondered on passing Elmhow and Thornhow to be greeted by a finger-post promising passage to Patterdale. This narrow trod ushered me up hill through mature woodland then under the steep slopes of Thornhow End to access Glenamara Park. The rooftops of Patterdale soon tilted into view, a short walk through birch woods followed before the path ejected me into Patterdale right next to the patiently waiting car, a stones throw from the White Lion.

view route map.


Early morning over Ullswater and I'm greeted by a couple of locals.

Viewing The Nab slopes of Birkhouse Moor with Little Cove to the left.

Towering above the Greenside Mine the rock and scree of the Glenridding face of Sheffield Pike.

The mighty head of Glenridding, Brown Cove and Keppel Cove.

Sheffield Pike seen over the rough grazing land of Glenridding Common.

A wild sky to match a wild landscape.

Romping along above Keppel Cove, like a phantom in the mist my next climb, White Side.

The Browncove Crags of Lower Man seen from the descent of White Side.

Viewing Birkhouse Moor from the coll between White Side and Lower Man.

The summit Helvellyn.

Red Tarn through a window in the cloud.

Wandering across the mountains dark escarpment.

A magical view to Catstye Cam from the summit of Helvellyn.

Stunning views across Red Tarn to Ullswater.

Above Nethermost Cove viewing the Grisedale valley.

The massive cliffs of St Sunday Crag dominates the view over Grisedale.

Great Gable looking rather imposing from the path onto Nethermost Pike.

Mouth-watering views over Ruthwaite Cove, to the right the shadowed face of St Sunday Crag, with Birks in sunlight and shade.

The Coniston massif seen over the slopes of Dollywaggon Pike.

Stunning panorama from the summit of Dollywaggon Pike, from left to right, Crinkle Crags, Bow Fell and the Sca Fell massif.

Another stunning panorama this time starting with little Harrop Tarn across the valley, ending with High Stile, Red Pike and Dale Head reaching across the horizon.

Endless views from the descent of Dollywaggon Pike, Coniston Water and the salt water of the Irish Sea seen over Seat Sandal.

A gem in a mountain setting, Grisedale Tarn.

En route through Grisedale looking to Place Fell.

Ullswater as seen from Glenamara Park.

Looking back to Thornhow End and a wonderful day out.

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