Posted by: sweetpea | October 16, 2006

Striding Edge and Helvellyn

I’ve just spent another wonderful weekend in the Lake District with the ‘York Hikers’.  I don’t know how we manage it, but we seem to be blessed with luck when it comes to the weather.  On both Saturday and Sunday we couldn’t believe it was mid October it was so sunny and warm.


Most of us were staying at YHA Helvellyn; I was expecting some fantastic views from the hostel but was disappointed that these views were hidden by the building or overgrown trees!  Friday night was a bit of a sleepless one for some of us mainly due to the gushing stream running right outside our window!  Even with ear plugs it was audible, and that combined with a hot room and soft bed meant that I didn’t sleep well.  But having said that I still like staying in YHA hostels, they’re cheap, friendly, and for a short term stay it doesn’t matter so much if you don’t sleep well!


Saturday we headed off on our walk.  The plan was to do Striding Edge and Helvellyn, and then possibly do a couple of the other peaks in the range depending on time and how everyone was feeling.  The first stretch up to Red tarn was a bit of a hard slog because my body hadn’t had time to warm up enough, but the views we were getting were well worth the effort.  At Red tarn, Stephen, Sue and Gill split off to go up Swirral edge to Helvellyn to avoid Striding edge.  The rest of us headed to Hole in the wall before saying goodbye to Laura and Gio who were heading back down because of Gio’s injury.  I really felt for him as I know he’d have loved Striding edge, but it wasn’t worth damaging his knee further.

From Hole in the wall we headed up towards Striding edge.  The terrain gradually became rockier and rockier until we reached the start of the ridge.  Maria at work had said that there would be people queuing to go up, and she was right, we couldn’t believe how busy it was up there.  We joined the queue and started to cross the ridge, carefully making our way over the rocks.  It was fantastic 🙂  It’s funny really because I have been on top of man made structures that are lower in height than the ridge and felt really uncomfortable.  But on Striding edge I feel perfectly at home despite walking along a very rocky narrow path with very steep drops on both sides.  I put it down to growing up walking in Snowdonia.  I think most of us did the whole ridge on the very top but some opted for the easier paths just under the ridge.  I’m proud to say I wasn’t one of them 🙂 

After reaching the end of the ridge we had a scramble up a section of rock to reach the flatter summit of Helvellyn.  Quite surprisingly we managed to meet up with Stephen, Sue and Gill at the summit before they continued their walk by heading north and back down towards Glenridding.  The rest of us stopped to eat lunch on top still on a high after completing ‘the edge’.


After lunch we headed south to Dollywaggon Pike, admiring the views of Striding edge along the way.  I think we all found it hard to believe that we’d actually walked it as it looked such a precarious thing to do.  The views from the top of the surrounding fells were amazing, a bit hazy, but so beautiful.  From Dollywaggon Pike we headed down to Grizedale tarn and the down Grizedale valley back towards Patterdale.  As we were all tiring we decided to cut the walk a little shorter than originally planned, and head back up to the hostel for a well earned shower and rest.


On the Sunday, after a somewhat better nights sleep, we headed down to Grizedale to wonder around, have a very short walk along the edge of Ullswater, and enjoy a cup of tea or two.  Ling and Ned hired a sailing boat for an hour or so, and Natalie and Christophe took the steamer along the length of the lake.  To finish off what had been a fantastic weekend we stopped at Castle Rigg stone circle on the way home, beautiful setting although I’m not sure I felt anything spiritual there.


Needless to say I am already planning our next trip, this time I’m thinking of taking people back home to my beloved Wales 🙂


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