The forecast was good, so I got up early and was in Glenridding before 9 am. Parking wasn’t a problem as it’s not high season!
There are many paths that lead towards Helvellyn, I opted for the one that follows Mires Beck up Little Cove and up onto Birkhouse Moor (my first Wainwright of the day). Fine views back to Glenridding and Ullswater made up for the steep (and warm) climb up.
I got to Hole in the Wall within an hour, before taking the path to Red Tarn. I was disappointed that I saw two people ahead of me, heading up the path to Swirral Edge. As I approached Red Tarn, they were going very slowly. I assumed the path was icy. When the path joined Swirral Edge, I turned around and visited Catstye Cam. After a few minutes to catch my breath and take in the fine views, I re-traced my steps. Swirral Edge wasn’t too bad and I caught up the two that were ahead of me, only to find them fitting crampons for the final steep and icy section to the summit of Helvellyn. one of them was Tim from Patterdale Mountain Rescue Team, so we chatted a while, and soon they headed off. Putting on my crampons gave so much more security (these stayed on for the summits of Helvellyn and Nethermost Pike as there was still icy snow on the ground). Pippa was so agile on the icy rock and she made it look so easy.
Topping out into glorious sunshine was fantastic. I have never been to the summit before. The views to the surrounding fells were fantastic and it was great to be able to name many of them (even the obscure ones).
A quick dash down to Nethermost Pike saw the fourth Wainwright of the day completed. Re-tracing my steps again over the summit and down to White Side (bumping into some friends from the Sedbergh & District Canoeing Club), along to Raise, Stybarrow Dodd, Watson’s Dodd and Great Dodd. These were really nice as it is much quieter there, the sun was out and the ground much easier. Pippa was parched, all the water was frozen and she ate a little snow that I broke up for her. On Great Dodd, I knew she was struggling so reluctantly gave her some of my cocoa. She did enjoy it.
Heading back from Great Dodd, I was getting tired, my feet were hurting and I knew I’d still got a few miles still to go.
I descended Sticks Pass and took in Sheffield Pike and Glenridding Dodd before landing back at the car.
I headed off to meet with Pete, he wasn’t in. I had a fab cup of tea and a toasted teacake in Wilf’s, only to find out that Pete & I had got our wires crossed and he was still at work.
So, after 11 Wainwright’s, 22.3 km (14.3 miles) and 1650 m of ascent in 6½ hours it is time for a day off tomorrow.