Here is Birkhouse Moor - which you do not need to
ascend. The path bypasses it to the left.
The path accompanies a wall for much of its length
around Birkhouse Moor. The track from Patterdale comes up from the left
as you ascend. That is Ullswater in the distance.
On the far left you can see the "Hole in the Wall", and the top of the Patterdale path. This is often a point of decision, especially for those who can see the vista ahead. Helvellyn dominates the centre of the picture, and it is obvious that the path we are following seems to take you up on to the edge of a precipitous drop down to the right. This is indeed Striding Edge - and the drop is probably worse on the left side, if you could see it. People - many people - have been known at this point to change their mind and take the track across to the right, down into the bowl, and up to Catstyecam, the pointed fell on the right...
But we will persevere!
This is the actual hole in the wall, and you can see
not only Samba but the valley of Grisedale. This path takes you
down to the village of Patterdale.
This is the dreaded Edge, in close-up. You can
see a) that it is more or less flat (unlike Sharp Edge, for example,
and also unlike Swirral Edge), so you don't have to worry about
scrambling, and b) there is a track away from the top edge. When
you get to the further end, there is a 20ft scramble down a chimney,
which is not too difficult; if you don't like scrambling, about 100
yards before the chimney, take the path to the left, which by-passes
the chimney. After conquering the Edge, it is almost a relief to
struggle up what is a steep and badly eroded rocky path to the summit.
Even closer up. You can see the left hand side
This is the Edge from above. The chimney is
just out of sight under us, but you can see the by-pass track on the
right of the picture.
You won't see this every day! The helicopter is
landing stones on the top of Helvellyn, so that (according to the
ranger in the red hat) they could build some kind of path to reduce the
erosion caused solely by the number of people wandering around.
Watch this space...
From the top of Helvellyn you can look down to Red
Tarn, across to Catstyecam and beyond to Ullswater. You can also
see the "escape route" from the Hole in the Wall, on the far right, to
But first we need to negotiate Swirral Edge, which
drops down sharply from the top of Helvellyn to Catsyecam. Keep
left, as Samba is finding out...
Looking back up at Swirral Edge.
And forward, to Catstyecam.
Swirral Edge, from the top of Catstyecam.
Red Tarn and Striding Edge, from Catstyecam.
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© P. G. R. Rigg 23/6/06