Helvellyn via Striding Edge and Swirral Edge

Name of walk Helvellyn via Striding Edge and Swirral Edge
Date of walk 2010-05-24
Distance walked (miles) 10
Duration of walk 7 hours 0 minutes
Weather sunny
Peaks on walk Birkhouse Moor, Helvellyn, Catstycam
Walked with Brendan and Ged
Parking Glenridding Car Park

On Monday Brendan, Ged and I went to Glenridding to climb Birkhouse Moor (2350ft) then over Striding Edge to Helvellyn (3118ft), down Swirral Edge and up to Catstycam (2917ft)and back down the valley via Red Tarn and Greenside Road. A walk of over ten miles. (But I did more……!)


We first headed for Lanty`s Tarn and Keldas, passing the Bluebells on the way with good views down to Ullswater and Glenridding.


Birkhouse Moor is the big mountain behind.


Very little water in the tarn.


View point on Keldas....... It was here that I put my hand in my pocket and discovered the car park ticket that should be on the dashboard of my car. I had made a detour from the ticket machine to the toilet and subsequently forgot to display the ticket. There was nothing for it but to return to the car while Brendan and Ged would continue up the ridge and I`d meet them up on Birkhouse Moor. I ran all the way back down, taking the quickest route, arriving back to the car an hour after having bought the ticket. Thankfully my lawlessness had not been spotted I put the ticket on the dash and I jogged back along the track that leads up to the Mires Beck path. It is a good pitched path, but it is steep and relentless. I passed lots of guys half my age on the way up in my efforts to be on the ridge as soon as possible. Amazingly I reached it only 3 or 4 minutes after Ged and Brendan who I had spotted walking along the ridge. I was rather out of breath and had a face the colour of my T-shirt......and that was with a stop to convert my trousers into shorts to try and combat the heat and lack of breeze on the Mires Beck path. Not bad! I even impressed myself with my aerobic fitness!


Looking down the Mires Beck path from the ridge.


Still a bit pink in the face!


Birkhouse Moor summit cairn with the ridge route beyond.


From the left is Striding Edge, Helvellyn, Swirral Edge and pointy Catstycam.


Looking down into Grisedale and over to St. Sunday Crag and Fairfield.


Red Tarn.


Cowboy Ged and Brendan on the start of the ridge at High Spying How. The ridge is a lot safer and far less exposed than Sharp Edge, but many people have fallen off over the years, so we were not complacent and took our time. Loads of people on the summit ridge.


The Dixon Memorial of 1858, dedicated to Robert Dixon who fell off here whilst out with the foxhounds.


Looking down the ridge



This is the reason that Kas stayed at home today. If you come over the ridge it is an unavoidable descent.


Looking back along Striding Edge from the final steep ascent. For the unadventurous you can miss the ridge almost entirely by taking the side paths, but that would be rather boring!.


Looking down to check Brendan is still there!



Brendan ascending the final few feet.


A bite to eat in the summit shelter.


The path to Nethermost Pike and Dollywaggon Pike.



Looking down Swirral Edge to Catstycam.


Bassenthwaite Lake on the left with Skiddaw and Blencathra in the distance. Looking over Whiteside to Raise.


Looking down on Brown Cove.


Ged descending Swirral Edge


Clouds reflected in Red Tarn.


View back.


Red Tarn.


View down to Keppel Dam and over to the Sticks Pass on Raise from the summit of Catstycam. We descended straight down to the dam the last time we were here. It was steep!


Looking down the valley we would return by. Our path is on the right.


Looking back along Swirral Edge to Helvellyn.


We walked down to Red Tarn for a brief rest before the long descent down the valley.

It is always longer back than I remember. We stopped off at the Travellers Rest for a well deserved drink. The walk had taken under 7 hours.