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“A Cautionary Tale”
Review of Helvellyn

Ranked #63 of 388 things to do in Lake District
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: This is England's 3rd highest mountain at 3,118 feet.
Reviewed June 27, 2014

I had booked a guided walk along Striding Edge to Helvellyn in late-June 2014, but after reading about it and watching some unnerving looking YouTube videos and being knackered after climbing Scafell Pike the day before, I decided not to go. Add to this that in my home town London we don't do much hill-walking, preferring to take the lift up The Shard for our views.
However when I went across to the meeting point to tell the guide I wasn't coming on the trip, I did wear boots and my idea of perfect hiking gear - a wooly cardigan (try it, it really does breathe, is warm and repels light showers). He persuaded me to come. Now read on for the exciting and nearly tragic bit.
The hardest bit of the hike for me was the steep slog up towards the ridge. I was sweaty and short of breath. Something weird about me is that when the scrambling starts I get faster and start enjoying myself.
We went out onto to the rocky top of Striding Edge. Even the memorial plaque did not faze me. I was going along fine when I heard a cry and turned to see one of our small group literally bouncing off rocks as he fell. He was very fortunate in that he fell to the right side and his fall was broken by the path a little lower down. He was bleeding from a number of cuts including a head wound. His clothes were in shreds.
His legs were OK but obviously a head wound cannot be laughed off so our guide aborted the route and we went down the way we came to where the ambulance was waiting at Glenridding.
I was disappointed not to have been able to continue, but this experience shows that Striding Edge really is a dangerous place. If he had fallen to the left, that would almost certainly have been his lot, and he was very lucky not to have bounced over the path which ended his fall.
Yes, if you have a head for heights and are sure-footed you will enjoy the Edge as I was doing, but it is not the walk in the park that some make out.

4  Thank MylesAhead
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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128 - 132 of 154 reviews

Reviewed June 20, 2014

This is one of the better fells in the Lake District and well worth the effort. Plan for a 5-6 hour outing, especially if you take one of the longer routes on the way down. Taking the striding step route is probably the most enjoyable, but you should be aware that this involves some mild scrambles with some exposure, so some confidence in hill walking is needed

1  Thank michaelmoulsdale
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 8, 2014

One of Lakeland's definitive itineraries for the hardened fell-walker. I first conquered Helvellyn at the age of 11 on a school trip and the Lake District bug bit. Since then I have returned to the mountain on many occasions and in all seasons but late spring on a sunny day, as I did last week, with bluebells still in flower among the growing bracken on the lower slopes, must be among the best times to go.

There are many trails to the top from virtually all directions but the most exciting must be the routes involving Striding Edge and Swirral Edge. I prefer an anticlockwise route from Glenridding taking in Catstye Cam before heading on to Swirral Edge and then clambering to the summit of Helvellyn itself. Dither on the top taking in magnificent views in all directions. Then head off down the eroded path east marked by a cairn at the southern end of the summit which leads on to Striding Edge.

As Terry B notes, there are paths to the sides avoiding the top ridge but the National Trust is obviously doing its best to avoid further erosion and has erected signs requesting visitors to stick to the ridge.

From the Hole in the Wall head down on the path to the right and take in Lanty's Tarn and Keldas (by kind permission of Patterdale Estates) before making it back to Glenridding.

Thank Edward1951S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 3, 2014

Came at Helvellyn from Patterdale via Striding Edge. Couldn't wait to finally conquer it as it'd been an option whilst doing Coast to Coast but too much of an additional challenge in the end. Being honest, I didn't expect to be as scared as I was, and the sight of the drop on either side made my legs go a bit wobbly at times. But I made it along the top of the ridge (admittedly on all fours at some points) and scrambled up the scree at the end which is actually easier and more exciting than it looks. Glad to still be alive, plodded up to the anticlimactic cairn & then found somewhere on the expansive summit to have lunch. Was surprisingly calm at the top. Went on to bag Nethermost & Dollywagon before descending via Grisedale Tarn & Grisedale valley. Will probably descend via Swirral Edge next time as I'd forgotten how long and awkward a slog that path is!

To sum up, definitely a thrill-seekers delight!

2  Thank indeanna_jane
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 1, 2014

This was without doubt the most thrilling & exciting walk I've done in 10 years of mountain walking. But be in no doubt that it is not for the faint hearted. It is possible to take a side path across Striding Edge thus avoiding the top ridge. The most tricky part is a 30 ft down climb at the edge of the ridge that is rather tricky and in less than perfect conditions dangerous. Be advised however that you can bypass this section by taking the side path to the left.

Then when you have done this and are feeling either elated or standing there with wobbly legs, you are faced with a scramble up the face of Helvellyn itself. From the end of Striding Edge the first part is steep and tricky, with the scrambling requiring quite a bit of stretching and fluid moves but there is more than one route available. Once this is overcome the final bit is easy to reach the summit plateau. You can either descent via Swirral Edge but we took the long route round via Lower Man & the zig zags back down to the mines. A fantastic day out but we had fabulous weather. I'm in doubt that Striding Edge would be a different proposition in the wet a with a strong wind but this would depend on your experience and confidence. For me, I plan to do it again and descent via Swirral Edge.

One last point, I think I would take my wife up there but take her along the side paths on the Edge and help her with the scramble up Helvellyn, knowing now how tricky It is but I personally would not be taking my children on this route (aged 10 & 14) until they are more competent & confident. Know your limits I would say. For me it was well within my limits and made for an exhilarating walk/scramble, but I wish that I'd have read an honest review like this is intended to be that serves to make people informed about what to expect.

5  Thank Terry B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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