#6 Helvellyn & Catstye Cam

Date: 01-11-2016

Starting Point: Glenridding

Distance: 7.63 miles (12.3km)

Height: 950m and 890m

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After walking Blencathra the previous day, we set off to do Helvellyn. This would be my second climb on this route, however, with clear skies and no snow on the ground this time, I set off to do Striding Edge again and then descend via the Swirral Edge and summit Catstye Cam.

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The autumn colours were on fine display in the early morning light. Birkhouse Moor (below) looking deceivingly small.

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The climb out of Glenridding up Birkhouse Moor was far from forgiving on yesterday’s weary legs. After only 200m we could both ‘feel the burn’ in our aching calves. ONWARDS!

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Stunning views of Glenridding and Ullswater as we walked higher

The temperature change getting out of the shade was pretty impressive, pleased I was carrying plenty water this time. Foolishly only brought a bottle of Lucozade Sport back in March! You live and learn!

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Glen with Black Crag, Birks and St Sunday Crag behind him, Patterdale Common and Grisedale Valley hiding in the shade below.

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After Birkhouse Moor we headed on towards Helvellyn. Here was our first view of Catstye Cam, at 890m I had wanted to summit this peak since failing to do so in march due to the snow.

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Here was our first look at Striding Edge and Helvellyn’s summit. It’s at this stage you realise just how big the Helvellyn plateau is, still quite a walk to go to reach the Hole in the Wall.

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And here it is. The Hole in the Wall is exactly what you’d think it is…this famous section marks the beginning of the fun bit. A gentle climb up to the beginning of the Striding Edge.

Before tackling the ridge we stopped to refuel, there’s nothing like a sugar rush to accompany the adrenaline! Above shows the view east back towards Ullswater, south towards Morecambe Bay and down into Grisedale.

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The route ahead, I love this place!

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Here is a full 360 degree panoramic from the Striding Edge, couldn’t have asked for a better day!

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The Chimney! This section requires you to do some climbing to descend it. There is a path to the south you can take to avoid this obstacle but it’s too much fun to miss out on!

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Looking back over Striding Edge, Red Tarn to the left (which I will swim at some point next year!)

Incase the pictures aren’t sufficient, here’s some bumpy GoPro footage taken while crossing the Striding Edge. Filming this earned me the new title of Callum ‘Two Points Of Contact’ Thompson. Want to make your mother proud? Don’t do a grade 1 scramble holding a camera at arms length haha!

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After climbing the routes steepest section, you reach the relatively flat summit of Helvellyn

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Below shows yesterday’s hike, Blencathra, with Halls Fell Ridge to the right.

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The summit! Thanks to whoever took this for us, always a great feeling reaching the top.

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Glen in the wilderness, this expanse shows the view southwest towards the Scafell range.

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And now for the bit I’ve waited 8 months for, descending the Swirral Edge before ascending Catstye Cam (see other climbers for scale)

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More stunning scenery, I will never grow tired of this sight!

After a brief descent passing two of the most terrified people I’ve ever seen, the view back up the Swirral Edge looked like something from Lord of the Rings.

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Catstye Cam, poised, ready to sap the last bit of energy from our legs!

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The Swirral Edge again. Only the day before, two men needed Mountain Rescue to help them down from here after they got stuck in the clouds after sunset. Never underestimate your mountain!

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We took the rather ‘direct’ route to descend Catstye Cam, straight over the edge down a ridiculously steep scramble into Brown Cove.

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Heading further down into Brown Cove, the Swirral Edge carved the sunlight beautifully.

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Following a few close calls on the slopes of Catstye Cam and passing a dam which had definitely seen better days, we wandered along Glenridding Common back towards our starting point. The autumn colours surrounding the village of Glenridding looked as vibrant as ever in the setting Sun. A beautiful end to another cracking day in the Lakes.

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10 thoughts on “#6 Helvellyn & Catstye Cam

      1. Over the course of the winter, I plan to post some of our favourite ridge walks in the Canadian Rockies, near Canmore/Banff. So far Wasootch and the Mount Allan/Centennial Trail top the list! Our ridge walks look very different from yours. Just as spectacular, beautiful & inspiring… but so very different. Here’s a link to Mount Allan… http://trailtopeaktheadventurouspath.com/2016/08/27/mount-allan-centennial-ridge

        Liked by 1 person

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