It’s been a dream of mine for years to conquer the most notorious mountain in the Lake District. I have already conquered the tallest Scarfell Pike, but there is something about Helvellyn that just fascinates me.
This notorious mountain doesn’t show its mean side until you have already conquered 3/4 of it. The initial climb from the wondrous Glenriding is to be appreciated, with glorious rugged scenery the whole way. The pathway follows the valley river before meandering up a steep incline over the ridge and into an ancient plateau. Don’t get me wrong that hike alone takes guts, determination and fitness.
However, it gets really interesting at the cauldron, you stand facing the summit with a natural lake directly in front of you. That lake makes a direct ascent impossible, however I think even without the lake that would be a very difficult 90 degree ascent. So the options on either edge are ‘Striding Edge’ and ‘Swirral Edge’, both offering a sharp ascent to the plateau summit.
I chose Swirral Edge for the ascent and Striding for the descent. This is where Helvellyn lives up to it dangerous reputation. Both edges consist of exposed elements, narrow ridges and slippery scrambles. In all honesty it is not that difficult to anyone who is agile and experienced, but you just need to be careful. A strong gust of wind or a simple slip and you could be in a lot of trouble – one might say lethal.
The summit however is simply exquisite, with dramatic panoramic views across much of the district. Views from on high always have their benefits, but the elation after making the scramble and standing tall on England’s 3rd highest mountain is wondrous.
The Lake District is by far my favourite spots in the country I call home. Its rugged, natural beauty rivals even that of the more iconic northern territories of Scotland and Scandinavia.
If you are heading to Cumbria be sure to check out http://www.hollywoodguesthouse.co.uk, and drop me an email if you want any advice.