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.