Helvellyn, Cumbria

At 3,117 ft above sea level Helvellyn is the third highest peak in both the Lake District and England. The mountain is the apex of the Eastern Fells, it's parent peak is Scafell Pike .

The peak of Helvellyn is situated on the north-south ridge that runs east to west between the Patterdale and Thirlmere valley. It is the highest peak on a ridge which continues north over Helvellyn Lower Man, White Side, Raise, Stybarrow Dodd, Great Dodd and Clough Head, and south to Nethermost Pike and Dollywaggon Pike.

Enclosed in the combe created by Helvellyn's two edges is Red Tarn. The lake is named for the colour of the surrounding screes, rather than its water. The Red Tarn is now about 80 feet deep. It was dammed with boulders in the mid 1800s to increase capacity to provide additional water to the Greenside lead mine in Glenridding. The water race feeding the disused mine is still visible as it crosses the slope of Birkhouse Moor. The Red Tarn contains brown trout and schelly, a type of fresh-water herring.

Striding Edge provides the classic scrambling route to Helvellyn. It links the summit ridge of Birkhouse Moor to Helvellyn's summit by what becomes a sharp arÍte and provides a challenging route to the mountain's peak.

Striding Edge stretches for over a mile to the Helvellyn summit plateau from its source at Hole-in-the-Wall. The ridge begins with a relatively rounded profile with a good path running along the right hand side. Upon reaching the highest point on the ridge at High Spying How (2,831 ft) things get more challenging. The path narrows as it continues to the top of the ridge and it becomes increasingly narrow and difficult as it reaches Helvellyn. Views from the ridge, and from the summit, are breathtaking if conditions are good. Striding Edge is a notorious accident spot among hikers and scramblers. Weather conditions are often poor and even when the weather is good things can change very quickly. Walkers need to take proper precautions and check weather reports as visibility can be reduced to dangerously low levels in poor conditions.

Visitors to the area often lodge at YHA Helvellyn. The hostel lies on the slopes in a wonderful isolated spot. At 900 feet above sea level, it is approached by a three quarter mile long track that runs up from the village of Glenridding.

More British Natural features?

Other Cumbria Naturals

Lake Windermere
Scafell Pike
River Eden
Derwent Water
Bassenthwaite Lake
Solway Coast
North Pennines
Solway Firth
Coniston Water
Arnside and Silverdale
Aira Force
Duddon Valley
Barrow Island
Walney Island
River Wampool
River Ehen
River Duddon
River Lune
River Cocker
River Esk

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