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Report on Helvellyn
12 February 2011

This weekend's Craggy's were - Gail, Kathryn, Irene, Mark, Kevin, Robin, Kenny, Alan and Michael.

Nine club members travelled for our annual sojourn to the Lake District. Six walkers travelled on Friday morning and after lunch at the Rheged Discovery Centre, a short walk up Latrigg was undertaken. The views towards Derwent water and Keswick were pretty impressive from such a low hill.
Rumour has that it that some fancy tumbling was observed later on during this walk; however I know nothing of these things.

On Saturday two members (Irene, thumb & Kathryn, knee) called off due to injury. They were happy doing a walk around Ullswater from Pooley Bridge with views of Helvellyn in the distance. The remaining seven club members travelled to Glenridding and onto Helvellyn.

We set off in decent weather and climbed steadily up through the forest towards Lanty?s Tarn. The views back towards Ullswater were impressive. As we climbed upwards the hill tops were covered with mist. After some impressively steep sections and a bit of huffing and puffing we arrived on the ridge and our intended route (Striding Edge) came into view. There was still some mist around but it was clearing only to be replaced with some sleety snow as we arrived on the ridge proper.

The entire population of the Lake District appeared to arrive on the ridge at the same time and the ridge walking was a bit scary due to the overtaking manoeuvres of some climbers. The ridge was a really good scramble and a bit tricky in places. Kenny almost managed to get himself completely stuck at one point but with some help from his friends managed to extricate himself. Gail and myself avoided some of the ridge and used the by pass path. This however did not remove all the scrambling.
Looking back the edge can be seen in all its glory and is indeed a challenge that should not be taken lightly. At the end of Striding edge the summit plateau is reached by a very steep badly eroded path which was very tiring, I did at one point think I wouldn?t make it up, however the alternative of retreating back down and along the edge was so much worse that I struggled to the top.

The plateau is very flat and a pleasant walk to the summit followed. Lunch was taken in a sheltered area on the summit before setting off for the descent via Squirrel, sorry Swirral edge. Access to Swirral edge involved a bit of down climbing through a frozen snow field. Large steps had been made in the snow and the descent was made without problem. The descent of Swirral edge was very strenuous and as technically challenging as Striding edge but fortunately not as long. Good views into Red Tarn & back towards Helvellyn were the reward for our efforts.

The descent down the valley beside Red Tarn Beck was long and tiring but the path was very good. Irene and Kathryn walked up the path to meet us then we had a very welcome pint in the local pub before heading back to Keswick. The black Labrador rescue dog which Irene stood on in the pub wasn?t so welcoming!

Robin Menzies

Ullswater in distance
Having a rest
wall along path
On the Edge
Looking along Striding Edge
Another look at the ridge
Kevin with Red Tarn in background
Helvellyn plateau
Kathryn's knee on the mend
Striding Edge
Summit of Helvellyn

Photos: Irene Cahill , Mark Kinnon and Robin Menzies

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