Helvellyn & Striding Edge

The third highest fell in England presents an epic challenge that is fraught with danger. The outstanding and rugged beauty of this summit is marred by the fatalities that are a regular occurrence here.

This is not a route for beginners, as you need excellent navigation skills, good climbing skills, and a good level of fitness. However, if you can reach the summit with its dual ridges, you are rewarded with unrivalled views that will take your breath away.

The Route

Striding Edge, mountain ridge on Helvellyn

Striding Edge, mountain ridge on Helvellyn

Follow the track from the start point, keeping the river to your right. Veer left at NY 379 168, past the farm. Turn right at NY 378 167 and then left at NY 376 166 up the fell side. Continue on this path, keeping right at the fork, until you reach Hole-in-the-Wall (a gap in the field wall that offers superb views) at Grid Ref NY 359 155.

Take the left fork after Hole-in-the-Wall and begin the challenge of the ridge walk of Striding Edge. Here you can choose to attempt to climb over the top of the ridge, or along one of the paths that runs alongside the ridge, which are safer for beginners. At the end of the ridge, there is a very steep rock face leading up to the Helvellyn summit.

Take your time here, particularly during peak periods as it can be very busy. The summit is a plateau so is a fine place for a picnic during warmer weather, and it affords views right across the Lake District fells and out towards the Pennines and Scotland.

You have a number of choices for your route back. You can follow your ascent route down back along Striding Edge, or you can attempt to climb across Swirral Edge, which also leads from the summit and is on the opposite side of Red Tarn to Striding Edge.

However, in recent years, Swirral Edge has seen a lot of erosion and it is here where there have been a high number of fatalities. Alternatively, consider the longer, more level route via Whiteside Bank (Grid Ref NY 337 166) and the path that zig-zags down Raise before joining an old mining track at NY 352 165 that leads directly back to Glenridding.

Useful Information

Parking: There is plenty of pay and display car parking available in the village of Glenridding

Start Point: Grid Ref NY 386 169; Opposite the Glenridding Hotel on the A592 there is a turning onto a narrow lane with the river flowing along the right; The road is signposted for Helvellyn

Summit: Grid Ref NY 342 150; 950 metres above sea level

Distance: Approximately 7.5 miles

Terrain: Mixture of well-maintained mountain paths, grassy paths, and rocky ridges

Total Time (Ascent & Descent): 5 - 6 hours

Suitable For: Adults with good fitness


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