Date & Time: Wednesday 19th Sept 2007. 10 am start.
Location of Start : Patterdale Church, Patterdale, Cumbria, Uk. ( NY 393 161 )
Places visited : Grisedale Valley, Hole in the Wall, Striding Edge, Helvellyn, Swirral Edge, Catstycam, Hole in the Wall, Birkhouse Moor, over the stile back into Grisedale and home.
Walk details : 8 mls, 3100 ft of ascent, 7 hrs 15 mins.Highest point : Helvellyn 3118 ft ( 949m )
Walked with : Sean, Lesley, Martin, Claire, David, Mike, Andy, Jo, Angela, Alan, Chris, Ann and myself plus the dogs, Angus and Casper, Harry and Bethan, Jodie and Megan.
Weather : A poor forecast and lousy weather to start, may improve they said ?
The sign at the start of the footpath up the fell.
A midweek invitation from Sean for devotees of his Striding Edge.net web site to join him on a walk up onto Helvellyn via, you guessed it, Striding Edge.
Will the dismal morning weather and a poor forecast spoil the day . . . that was the question ?
It was certainly bad weather overnight and the morning was no better, so it was on with full waterproof gear as we gathered outside Patterdale Church.
Angus and Casper were in attendance and ready to go, but Ann has spotted something . . .
A rainbow across the meadow . . . could this be a sign of better things to come ?
Hopeful of an improvement, we stuck to the original plan and set off for the fells.
Grisedale Valley as we make our way along the wet road - at least we can see the mountains !
What's this - as we start the climb so the sun makes a determined breakthrough.
We are rather impressed as colour returns to the upper part of the valley.
A damp team photo at 'Hole in the Wall' but at least it had stopped raining.
Andy, Mike, Lesley, David (with the glasses), Jo, Martin (in green), Ann, Sean, Angela, Claire and Chris in front.
Alan, the final member, joined us soon after the photo was taken.
As we sat by the wall we were able to enjoy this ever improving panorama.
Sunshine on the distant Hart Side fell and on the far end of Ullswater, but Birkhouse Moor is still in shadow.
The group of walkers huddled by the stile are some youngsters from the local Outward Bound School I believe.
The prospects of a view were good now as the cloud base had risen sufficiently to be able to see Striding Edge.
The summit ridge is still in cloud and would be for some time to come
but Catstycam on the right is still just hanging on to a small mantle of that cloud.
Hanging back for a previous photo, I was a little behind the main group and watched in delight as, unknown to them,
this sheep followed up the path for several minutes, only turning off as I caught up..
The first narrow crag is High Spying How which marks the start of the Edge.
Alan by this time had joined the group and can be seen here next to our dog.
From here on the Edge gets narrower and more exposed
but for those feint of heart, a second path can be seen lower down to the right - you don't have to walk the ridge if you don't want to.
The cloud was hanging on the Edge as we started the crossing.
It gradually lifted as we progressed - Here Jo, Claire, Mike and myself. (Ann's photo of course)
Ann now crossing the flat slab on one of the middle parts of the ridge. The lighter colour to the rock was where it was worn smooth.
Due to the damp conditions, care had to be taken, as the rock was quite slippery all the way along.
A larger step down needed care, especially in these conditions.
The other side of that flat topped rock was the memorial to Mr Robert Dixon, who fell from this spot whilst following the Patterdale Hounds.
A second parting of the ways as the low level pass cuts from left to right and so avoids the last big climb.
The final down scramble complete, we stopped briefly to re-group and to discuss the route for the next section.
We had to climb the height of the Nethermost Cove Crags, but fortunately not the cliffs.
Sean pausing for a photo on the way up this last section.
Suddenly all was FLAT !
and all that remained was the walk over to the summit shelter.
This was welcome reprise from the damp breeze and was our lunch spot today.
Bethan was just tidying up, checking for crumbs, once everyone had left - honest.
A short panoramic shot of the summit as we make our way over to the trig point.
The cloud was coming and going here giving us alternating clear and restricted views of the fells around.
Red Tarn far below through a hole in the clouds.
Suddenly clear as Ann takes a picture of Harry and I against a backdrop of the High Street range.
The Striding Edge crew - Mike, Lesley, Martin, Claire, David, Sean, Andy, myself and Ann (Not shown are Jo, Angela, Alan and Chris )
( This photo taken by Jo on my camera - see her pics for the reciprocal offering)
The (Striding Edge) artist at work.
All clear to the north as the dogs take to the high ground.
Behind is Helvellyn Lower Man and White Side, with Skiddaw in the background.
Keppel Cove from the start of the Swirral Edge descent.
Swirral Edge from part way down with the clear path onwards to Catstycam.
Ann and Jo take the path below Swirral and start the climb up to Catstycam.
Bethan is feeling a little tired now and she takes no time at all to find a comfortable place to relax at the summit of Catstyecam
Immovable despite everyone walking around her.
She's moved - did someone rustle a sandwich wrapper ? . . . . now Angus can sit for his break.
From the top, the only way is down, and as we head forBirkhouse Moor we take the upper of the two paths.
[ As an aside, I don't think those machined path below will ever blend into the landscape, despite what the path makers say. ]
As we drop down from the summit back to the lake
we catch sight of this group silhouetted against the skyline as they make their crossing of Striding Edge.
Walking out now, we take the path back to the wall.
We make our way over to Birkhouse Moor for our third Wainwright summit of the day.
We've had a great day and don't mind a rather cloudy end as the walk has been superb.
However, as a finale the sun comes out again to brighten our descent .
Sean and Casper look down on Ullswater and Glenridding.
The wall down to Little Cove and Glenridding.
Instead of following the path to the left, we will take the minor path straight ahead towards Patterdale.
Sunlight catches a sheepfold next to the path.
Behind is Sheffield Pike and Glenridding Dodd.
Back to the Grisedale Valley and our ascent path used earlier in the day.
The river proved irresistible to the dogs at the end of the day, much to everyone's amusement.
What was more irresistible to us was a visit to the White Lion at the end of the walk.
Many thanks to Sean for an excellent day out, one where the weather added to, rather than detracted from the quality of the walk.
It was great to meet and make new friends too. Thanks everyone.
- - - o o o - - -
Technical note: Pictures taken with a Canon G7 and Ixus Digital cameras.
Resized in Photoshop, and built up on a Dreamweaver web builder.
This site best viewed with . . . someone to drag you out of the house on a bad weather morning.
Previous walk - 18th Sept 2007 Graystones and Broom Fell
A previous time up here - 10th April 2007 Catstycam on Polly's 214
If you want to check out a few more photos,