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Helvellyn via Striding Edge & St Sunday Crag
by poppiesrara » Fri Jun 28, 2013 11:52 pm
Wainwrights included on this walk: Arnison Crag, Birkhouse Moor, Birks, Dollywaggon Pike, Helvellyn, Nethermost Pike, Seat Sandal, St Sunday Crag
Hewitts included on this walk: Dollywaggon Pike, Helvellyn, High Spying How (Striding Edge), Seat Sandal, St Sunday Crag
Date walked: 26/06/2013
Time taken: 6
Distance: 19 km
Ascent: 1540m5 people think this report is great. Register or Login free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).
From the beautiful lower valley, even midweek there are many heading up the stoned path to Helvellyn via Hole-in-the-Wall; far fewer taking the lovely route via Birkhouse Moor, zigzagging up through the bracken to a gently-graded sweeping path. Not much of a summit itself, but a good place to view the tempting way on to Helvellyn above the sharp edges cradling Red Tarn.
Striding Edge has a fierce reputation, but the way up to the ridge, a delightful climb over easy rock steps, would trouble no-one, and there are enough veterans shuffling comfortably along the crest to suggest that most of us should have many more years of being able to manage it. Generally the top of the ridge (in good weather) is just broad and flat enough to traverse happily for the well-balanced; short spells on the bypass paths to the side, quite eroded in places and very exposed to long drops below, were much hairier. The final steep step down off the ridge, hardly obvious and with even the easiest-looking way needing a couple of long blind strides down, is probably the hardest part – several here seemed to be looking around for the easier way they felt they must have missed… It’s a very steep 100m+ climb from there to the summit plateau, but thousands of feet have trodden a clear and decent enough walking way up. Quite a contrast to emerge onto the wide, flat summit plateau amid the crowds, but some satisfaction in having got there the hard way!
The ridge south to Dollywaggon Pike, gentle slopes over firm putting-green turf with little detours to the clifftop summits, must be about the easiest walking on such high ground imaginable, even if the apparently-possible climbs from the east look absolutely terrifying…
Much harder going from there on the direct route to Seat Sandal - a very steep slope down, demanding slow tiptoe steps to hold one’s balance, a boggy col and then a hard-enough slog back up the lumpy little hill. This lonely spot, if hardly the finest of peaks, seems a world away from the masses on Helvellyn an hour or so before.
Another steep descent to the brooding waters of Grisedale Tarn, and then another skirt of some marshy terrain, gets you back onto another excellent path – welcome towards the end of the day – slanting gently up to Deepdale Hause. From there it’s an easy trek up and over St Sunday Crag, much friendlier than the daunting western face it shows to much of this route. Trudge over Birks’ wet grass from there to the much more impressive mini-mountain of Arnison Crag, fabulous views of the southern tip of Ullswater and a quick descent home to finish a great circuit.
by craighall » Sat Jun 29, 2013 9:24 am
I'm heading down to Ullswater next weekend, though my walking schedule might be more modest !
by yellowbelly » Sat Jun 29, 2013 11:14 am
Not sure you got the exact summit of Birkhouse Moor though which is Grid Reference NY 36344 15974. See photo on http://www.stridingedge.net/Wainwright%20Fells/A-L%20fells/Birkhouse%20Moor.htm
by poppiesrara » Sat Jun 29, 2013 1:00 pm
by craighall » Wed Jul 10, 2013 4:40 pm
I was in the Ullswater area at the weekend, though had to settle for the more modest Grisedale & Hayeswater reservoir, so will have to settle for great reports like this & ' the Julia Bradbury programmes ' ( in no particular order ).
by Ibex » Wed Jul 10, 2013 8:00 pm
I have planned this exact walk for my first walk back in the Lakes. Though I plan to end it on Catstye Cam, rather than Birkhouse moor.
Must have been warm up there. I'm sweating just sitting down at home. Stupid heat!
by L-Hiking » Thu Jul 11, 2013 2:09 pm
by ChrisW » Thu Jul 18, 2013 9:55 pm