Starting Point: Glenridding
Distance: 8.49 miles (13.7km)
After a quick check of the weather the day before, I booked a last minute day off work and headed for the Lake District. The initial plan was to walk Catbells and start easy as I’ve done very little walking in the Lakes but as soon as I caught sight of the Helvellyn range with a light topping of snow I changed course.
This change of plan coincided with me realising I’d driven all the way from Newcastle to Penrith without my walking boots, cue a rather expensive stop off at Outdoor in the Rheged Centre for a nice pair of North Face boots (life savers looking back at it).
I arrived in Glenridding around 12:30, parked up and paid my £4 for the day and set off.
As I left the village and headed for Birkhouse Moor it quickly became apparent that I’d dressed for the summit and not the blistering sunshine on the way up!
This photo shows the fantastic view from Birkhouse Moor looking down over Glenridding and Ullswater whilst I sat trying to catch my breath…at this point I didn’t think I stood a chance of reaching the summit, the heat was ridiculous!
After reaching the summit of Birkhouse Moor you’re greeted by this rather spectacular sight – The Helvellyn range, the Striding Edge to the left, Swirral to the right and Catstye Cam in the foreground. It was here I bumped into Jim & Noreen…turns out despite crossing the country and climbing halfway up a mountain, the first people I bump into live 10 minutes down the road from me! Here they are 🙂
From here I followed the path alongside the beautiful Patterdale Common until I reached the “Hole in the Wall”. From here I decided to tackle the Striding Edge and come back down the Swirral Edge (as if things were all going to go to plan!)
Now I’d heard a lot about the Striding Edge, mostly warnings of “Be Careful” and “I hope you have a head for heights” – Jesus they weren’t wrong! As a complete novice this took some bottle to get across, I only decided to attempt it as there was no wind at all. Check it out…
Steep isn’t it? And you know what, I bloody loved it! Pleased I had my GoPro with me as it captured just how spectacular it really is so well…want a bird’s eye view??
I shuffled on, carefully checking my footing in each step. The final climb up to Helvellyn’s summit was a personal highlight for me, thought I’d stop for a breather just before reaching the top to take in this amazing view over Patterdale Common, and yes, it is a long way down!
At the summit, the last bit of snow clung onto the ridge, luckily the clouds stayed nice and high to avoid spoiling the brilliant panorama.
I didn’t realise just how much you can see from the summit, it was just breathtaking! #summitselfie
Ullswater with Pooley Bridge and Penrith in the distance looking North-East.
Skiddaw and Keswick looking North-West.
Now earlier I mentioned my plan to come back down the Swirral Edge, well the lovely snow drift put an end to that! No chance you were getting me sliding down that on my backside so off I went along the ridge to tackle Lower Man .
Thirlmere and Skiddaw from Lower man with Browncove Crags to the left.
After Lower Man I headed up what I believe was Whiteside…it was much bigger than it looked from Helvellyn and by this point fatigue was starting to hit me, I’d exhausted all provisions in my bag (next time I’ll take more, was my biggest mistake!)
From the summit of Whiteside I caught my first glimpse of Glenridding (sort of) and it seemed a long way off! There’s an Ullswater Steamer somewhere in this pic…honest! You can also see the trail down along the left.
Heading West along the top of Red Screes
Looking back towards Helvellyn over Red Screes with Lower Man to the right and Catstye Cam to the left.
After a few twists and turns down into the valley I approached Greenside Mine, almost there!
As the sunset, the view back up the valley towards Catstye Cam and Red Screes was superb. I arrived back to the car at 18:30…8.21miles in around 6 hours in what was easily the best weather I’ve witnessed whilst in the Lakes…and thanks to that expensive trip for new boots, not a blister in sight!
Thanks for reading, already plotting and scheming for my next venture.