19 10 2011
My brother in law hasn’t done Helvellyn before so we took full advantage of the recent good weather to head over to the lakes in the Berghavan, just beating the rest of the Berghaus staff with our Booking form.
We were on the road from Sunderland just after 8am heading to Glenridding, on what was set to be the hottest October day on record, enjoying the stunning scenery and impressed with the BerghaVan.
10.30am and we were on our way, heading up along the private road to the old school house before hitting the trail properly. It’s a long slog up to red tarn and we were ready for a break by the time we got there. As we sat down and RAF Rescue helicopter came in low, and circled around red tarn before dropping an orange smoke marker and hovering for a few minutes. Luckily it was just a training run and the helicopter disappeared as we put or packs back on and started to head diagonally up from the tarn to the start of Striding Edge.
As we set off walking the helicopter came back and hovered less than 10 metres away from us blocking our path, so we stopped to watch as they hovered with perfect precision. The pilot gave us a cheery wave and they roared off as quickly as they’d come. It was a reassuring sight to know that there are people willing to help when things go wrong, but definitely a service you hope you never need.
Striding Edge is an impressive ridge but it definitely felt like a conveyor belt, as it seemed most of England had decided to do it on Saturday too. The top of Helvellyn was very busy and we had a brief stop before heading to Sticks Pass and turning right to head back down to the disused mine. Once off Helvellyn the trails were pretty deserted and it was great to enjoy the scenery. It was also good to be heading down hill, but after 10 minutes you’re reminded that steep descent is as difficult as steep ascent!
We arrived back at the car park at about 4pm and headed in to Keswick to try and find somewhere to stay. We had no luck in Keswick so headed to a campsite near Threlkeld, which had great views. We got changed, had a nice relaxing beer (from the inbuilt fridge) and then walked to the Horse and Farrier for some great food and few well earned pints. Then it was head down for a comfy nights’ sleep listening to the rain start to fall.
The next day we were up and on the road again for 8am, sorry to see be leaving the lakes and very disappointed to have to hand the keys back over – it was a great trip and the van was excellent.
This is my kit list for Helvellyn. We did it on the hottest October day on record so be sure the adapt your kit to suit the weather.
Thermal mid layer for when we stopped
Velum jacket in case it rained.
It may have been overkill but I also stuck a Primaloft jacket in my bag in case it really got cold