On Thursday last week I travelled to the Lake District to walk up to the 950m summit of Helvellyn. This was my second walking trip to the Lake District (the first being to Skiddaw in March, see the blog posting ‘Skiddaw‘)
I walked up along Mires Beck river from Glenridding and onto the broad ridge of Birkhouse Moor before the arête of Striding Edge itself.
Walking along Striding Edge was mostly pretty straightforward, the exception being the few metres of scrambling descent down a step (see photo at left) required near the end of the arête before the final steep climb up to the summit plateau of Helvellyn.
I descended down off the busy summit Helvellyn via Swirral Edge, which again was steep and bouldery requiring care, but with no real difficulties. It was a good day, but I was left feeling a little bit confused by all the reviews I had read of this route which had mostly described it as difficult and challenging.
In my view, almost the entire length of Striding Edge is equal in difficulty to the route between Sgùrr Chòinnich Mór and Stob Coire Easain that I walked last month (see the blog posting ‘Sgùrr Chòinnich Mór‘) but which receives absolutely no mention at all in any guide or review that I have seen, because in the context of the Scottish mountains that ridge is fairly unremarkable in terms of difficulty.
Striding Edge’s reputation for difficulty seems to arise entirely from the sharp but short scrambling descent mentioned above, but I actually chose to descend by a different route on the other side of the step for more of a challenge!
An ice-cream at the end of the day in Glenridding was very welcome, and cushioned the blow a little bit of the £6.50 charge for the car park!
You can see the photos from the walk on Thursday on my website here.
Surely the reputation Striding Edge has for difficulty must be to do with having to squeeze past the all the other walkers as seen in your photo.
Yes, the number of walkers on the ridge made it awkward (and this was a week day, it must be hell at the weekends).
A lot of the walkers I saw were also ill-equipped and obviously inexperienced on this kind of terrain, I’m sure lots of accidents must happen here. A lot of the walkers had no sense of mountain etiquette either, I saw people trying to ascend the narrow step and barge past people who were descending, it wasn’t a pretty sight.
car made it OK then. it looks quite gloomy for the lake district, but interesting
take it you have not been on a windy day ! Many of the accidents and deaths have been experienced climbers . I went up on 10th july when there was an accident and it was not visisble and treacherous . Anyone can say it is easy on a mild day . Show a bit of respect
did striding edge n swirell edge on sat 14th aug, loved it
I did Striding Edge yesterday and it should be treated with respect. I am not good with heights and was glad we climbed it in the clouds so I could not see the drops on either side. The rocks were slippy and we all agreed it was a dangerous place. Call me a pussy I dont care, it was the scariest experience of my life! I crawled over most of it!
mmmmmmmmmmm I’ve walked climbed and scambled along striding edge since 1966 but your right it isnt as great a ridge as the sonkersplitz in the stubai nor the barren ridge in norway nor even the cuillin ridge so what are you saying? respect your blogging but it stridnng edge exists in our lovley lake district enjoy is dude we aint gonna grow no more hills man use it as a means to explore