Lake District walks - Helvellyn

Here is Birkhouse Moor - which you do not need to ascend.  The path bypasses it to the left.


The path accompanies a wall for much of its length around Birkhouse Moor. The track from Patterdale comes up from the left as you ascend.  That is Ullswater in the distance.

On the far left you can see the "Hole in the Wall", and the top of the Patterdale path.  This is often a point of decision, especially for those who can see the vista ahead.  Helvellyn dominates the centre of the picture, and it is obvious that the path we are following seems to take you up on to the edge of a precipitous drop down to the right.  This is indeed Striding Edge - and the drop is probably worse on the left side, if you could see it.  People - many people - have been known at this point to change their mind and take the track across to the right, down into the bowl, and up to Catstyecam, the pointed fell on the right...

But we will persevere!

This is the actual hole in the wall, and you can see not only Samba but the valley of Grisedale.  This path takes you down to the village of Patterdale.

This is the dreaded Edge, in close-up.  You can see a) that it is more or less flat (unlike Sharp Edge, for example, and also unlike Swirral Edge), so you don't have to worry about scrambling, and b) there is a track away from the top edge.  When you get to the further end, there is a 20ft scramble down a chimney, which is not too difficult; if you don't like scrambling, about 100 yards before the chimney, take the path to the left, which by-passes the chimney.  After conquering the Edge, it is almost a relief to struggle up what is a steep and badly eroded rocky path to the summit.

Even closer up.  You can see the left hand side as well...

This is the Edge from above.  The chimney is just out of sight under us, but you can see the by-pass track on the right of the picture.

You won't see this every day! The helicopter is landing stones on the top of Helvellyn, so that (according to the ranger in the red hat) they could build some kind of path to reduce the erosion caused solely by the number of people wandering around.  Watch this space...

From the top of Helvellyn you can look down to Red Tarn, across to Catstyecam and beyond to Ullswater.  You can also see the "escape route" from the Hole in the Wall, on the far right, to Catstyecam.

But first we need to negotiate Swirral Edge, which drops down sharply from the top of Helvellyn to Catsyecam.  Keep left, as Samba is finding out...

Looking back up at Swirral Edge.

And forward, to Catstyecam.

Swirral Edge, from the top of Catstyecam.

Red Tarn and Striding Edge, from Catstyecam.

Back to the main "Braithwaite walks" page.

For somewhere to stay nearby, try

Highbridge Cottage.

© P. G. R. Rigg 23/6/06