Walking the Wainwrights - A Helvellyn round

A 10-mile walk onto the tops above Glenridding, in lovely weather.  What a way to spend a day!

We went up the Greenside Road, past the mine, branched left for Keppel Cove and cut up right to Raise.  Then along the ridge to Helvellyn, down Swirral Edge to Catstyecam, across to Birkhouse Moor and back down to Glenridding.

Here are the pictures (you can click on any picture to get a larger version).

This is Birkhouse Moor across the valley from the Greenside Road.  We didn't realise it then that we would (by mistake) be returning to Glenridding via the stony left face of this fell - a case of the most direct route definitely not being the quickest...
On the right hand side of the valley Sheffield Pike can be seen above the former miners' cottages (now self-catering holiday homes, of course).

The gorse doing its best to hide the spoil from Greenside Mine.

A forlorn task, as you can see from this picture.  Lead was mined here for about 200 years, and a real mess they left behind them.

Here, from the other side of the valley, you can see the full extent of the mine.  At least it is not only our generation who destroyed the environment...
A closer view of the lower workings.  Hands up those who knew that, after it closed in the 1960s, Greenside Mine came under the control of the UK Atomic Weapons Research Establishment, and was used to test a theory that an underground nuclear test explosion could be made undetectable by its seismic signal. The experiment was known as Operation Orpheus, and involved two test explosions at Greenside Mine. The success of Operation Orpheus led to the shelving of a test ban treaty, then being negotiated between the West and the Soviet Union, since the test had demonstrated that underground nuclear tests could not easily be policed by the opposing side.  We had nuclear explosions in the Lake District!!!

As we thankfully climbed away from the mine, Castyecam came into view.
And the dogs could indulge in some crystal clear water for their morning swim.  This is Red Tarn Beck.

Looking back down the Keppel Cove path towards Sheffield Pike.

This is Keppel Cove, between Catstyecam, on the left, and Helvellyn Lower Man on the right.  It was about here that we stopped for a break - and I left my fleece behind!  Having discovered this only when on the top ridge, I was not keen to go down again to retrieve it, and was lucky enough to meet someone walking in the opposite direction who looked as if they might be going down that way.  He was, and kindly volunteered to look for it.  Three hours later I got a phone message to say the fleece was in the Helvellyn Youth Hostel!  Thanks, Nick!
View over Ullswater from the top of Raise.

Skiddaw, from Raise

The path from White Side to Helvellyn Lower Man.  Helvellyn in the background.

Brown Cove Crags, off to the west of the ridge, with a helicopter ferrying stones from the bottom of the crags up to the top of Helvellyn.  Everyone was quite glad when the pilot stopped for lunch: helicopters make quite a noise.  Yes, I know it is all in a good cause...
Sophie on the top of Lower Man.

Looking down to Thirlmere from Lower Man
Catstyecam across Keppel Cove

Swirral Edge, a joy(?) to come.
Catstyecam from near the top of Helvellyn.

Where the helicopter dumped its stones.  Apparently so many people wander across the flat top of Helvellyn, in many different directions, that the vegetation is dying away.  Will this be the only flat made-up path in the Lakes?  And what will be its route?  Incidentally, when I asked the man unhooking the sacks when they were going to do Grisedale Pike, he effectively said it had become too difficult, since it was all bed-rock.  Ah well...
Obligatory picture of Striding Edge.  Someone fell off here earlier in the week...

On Swirral Edge.  Samba may have thought this was all good fun, but I didn't.  The top section has become massively eroded, and I was very glad that the scree and rubble was not at all slippery.  And I lost my way, of course, which prolonged the ordeal...
Looking back up to the top.

The lower part of the Edge is no problem.
Helvellyn and Swirral Edge from the top of Catstyecam

Red Tarn and Striding Edge from Catstyecam.
At this stage in the walk the dogs clearly liked the sight of some water, and shot down to Red Tarn.

"Well, I deserve a break!"
This is Grisedale, from just above the Hole in the Wall

Helvellyn flanked by Striding Edge, on the left, and Catstyecam on the right.
Looking over Ullswater from the wall on Birkhouse Moor.

The cairn on Birkhouse Moor.
Ullswater from the top of Birkhouse Moor.

Looking down into Glenridding.  This is the face we descended. AW actually includes it as a possible path, but it's not one I would recommend.  However we managed it OK, and the dogs...
celebrated with a swim in the only pool they could find.

Birkhouse Moor from Glenridding, very near the end of the day.
Back where we started, looking at Sheffield Pike. 

If you would like to sponsor me and the dogs in our quest to walk all the Wainwrights for the Great North Air Ambulance Service, please click here - and thank you for your generosity!