This weak aurora was photographed at 2315hrs this evening looking out over the Solway. It was not visible at all to the naked eye – this was a 25 second long exposure.
‘The finest ridge there is in Lakeland’ – A. Wainwright
I had been planning to tackle Striding Edge for a few years now but the weather, work and other commitments had always got in the way – until now! The walk today would also include the descent of Helvellyn over another classic ridge – Swirral Edge.
With the weather supposed to be dry and bright for the whole day we set off from Glenridding in an optimistic and expectant mood, and made our way up towards our first Wainwright of the day – Birkhouse Moor…
Looking back down to Glenridding and Ullswater
Place Fell and Glenridding
The impressive cairn on the northeast side of Birkhouse Moor with Striding Edge, Helvellyn and Catstycam behind
A rather messy and disappointing pile of rocks marks the summit of Birkhouse Moor. From here we head towards the ‘hole-in-the-wall’. This is where the path up from Patterdale joins our path and crosses towards Red Tarn.
Striding Edge, Helvellyn and Swirral Edge
As we continue to gain height I get my first view of Red Tarn
And Striding Edge begins to look a little more menacing the closer we get to it!
The start of ‘the Edge’ begins with a scramble up onto Low Spying How where the view to our left suddenly opens out with incredible views looking towards Fairfield and Dollywaggon Pike and down into the valley below.
St. Sunday Crag
I spend some time here just breathing in the view. Striding Edge photos have been etched in my memory for years and I’d always wondered whether I would actually get to see it for myself. It is an incredible feeling (with just a touch of nerves!) knowing that I’m about to walk over this classic ridge, I could feel the adrenalin running through my veins and my heart was thumping in my chest. It was time to focus the mind, but also to enjoy and savour every step.
Looking back up to Low Spying How
Of course Striding Edge has unfortunately been the scene of many deaths over the years and as we cross the ridge we come across this memorial which is known as the Dixon memorial. The plaque reads: “In memory of Robert Dixon of Rooking, Patterdale who was killed on this spot on the 27th day of November 1858 following the Patterdale Foxhounds”.
Colin going for it along the spine of the ridge
As we steadily make our way along the ridge I was pleasantly surprised at just how comfortable I felt, but this feeling was about to abruptly come to an end! For at the end of the ridge is a huge rock-chimney called High Spying How, and the only way down it is a 7m scramble down almost sheer rock face. At this point many of the walkers who, like us, had never crossed ‘the Edge’ wonder whether there really is no other way down. It becomes a bit of a bottleneck as walkers summon up the courage to continue and many decide to watch others try it first before proceeding!
Looking down to Red Tarn below with Catstycam (left) and Birkhouse Moor (right)
Striding Edge and St. Sunday Crag
Morecambe Bay over Great Rigg
St. Sunday Crag, Fairfield and Great Rigg
After safely making it off High Spying How we are now faced with the final steep pull up onto the summit. The final part of the ascent is tough-going as the path is mainly loose rock and scree and particularly steep. Thankfully it begins to level out and I can see that we have made it onto the summit plateau.
Almost straight away we come to the Gough Memorial. The inscription reads: “Beneath this spot were found in 1805, the remains of Charles Gough, killed by a fall from the rocks, his dog was still guarding the skeleton. Water Scott describes the event in the poem “I climbed the dark brow of the mighty Helvellyn”. Wordsworth records it in his lines on fidelity which conclude as follows: “The dog, which still was hovering nigh, the same timid cry, this dog had been through three months space, a dweller in that savage place. How nourished here through such long time he knows, who gave that love sublime and gave that strength of feeling great above all human estimate”. In memory of that love & strength of feeling this stone is erected. 1890.
The summit of Helvellyn looking towards Catstycam and Ullswater
Striding Edge (left) and the summit shelter
The Coniston Fells
Grey Friar, Crinkle Crags and Bowfell
The Ordnance Survey column
Catstycam in full sunshine and Red Tarn
Our descent is over another classic ridge – Swirral Edge
At the point where Swirral Edge steeply drops down to our right there is another cairn. In this view behind it is Helvellyn Lower Man and White Side.
Looking along Swirral Edge. The first part of the descent is down a steep rock staircase.
White Side with the Solway and Criffel in the far distance
Catstycam from halfway along Swirral Edge
White Side and Raise above Brown Cove and Kepple Cove
Red Tarn and Striding Edge
The summit of Catstycam looking across Striding Edge to Fairfield, Dollywaggon Pike, Nethermost Pike and Helvellyn
Col looking towards our route back to Glenridding – this is the path on the lower right of the image which then follows Glenridding Beck.
Criffel on the Solway and Skiddaw
White Side, Raise and Great Dodd
Helvellyn Lower Man and Brown Cove with the North Western Fells in the distance
Looking back along Swirral Edge to Helvellyn
Catstycam and waterfalls along Glenridding Beck
Glenridding Dodd and Place Fell as we near the end of the walk. A walk that I will truly never forget.
The walk begins in picturesque Patterdale and after parking the car (£4.50 for the day) we begin the steady ascent up to Boredale Hause. I can see that the conditions today are going to be superb for photography, the light is incredible with moody dark clouds contrasting with patches of bright sunshine.
Looking south towards Brothers Water and Kirkstone Pass
St. Sunday Crag and Birks
The light and mood of the fells was changing by the minute as we made our way to the summit. In this view Caudale Moor can be seen (in cloud on the left) with Hartsop Dodd in front in the sunshine. Behind Brothers Water is Middle Dodd and Red Screes (in cloud).
The view from the summit looking over The Nab and Rest Dodd to High Raise
Red Screes, Little Hart Crag, Dove Crag, Hart Crag, Fairfield and St. Sunday Crag
Ullswater, Hallin Fell, Arthur’s Pike, Bonscale Pike, Steel Knotts, Loadpot Hill and Wether Hill
The Pennines in the distance over Hallin Fell and Ullswater. Arthur’s Pike and Bonscale Pike are on the right.
Gray Crag and Angletarn Pikes on the left with Caudale Moor and Hartsop Dodd on the right
Striding Edge in the centre with Nethermost Pike and Helvellyn in cloud behind and Catstycam on the right
Looking over Round How to High Raise (left), Rampsgill Head (centre in cloud) and High Street (right in cloud). Rest Dodd is the main fell in this image.
Striding Edge, Helvellyn, Catstycam and Birkhouse Moor behind Patterdale
Glenridding and Sheffield Pike
This fantastic walk today included no fewer than 7 Wainwrights:
From the car park at Mardale Head I begin the walk by making my way up beside Gatesgarth Beck towards Gatesgarth Pass. Harter Fell will be my first target today and its impressive crags loom large on my right as I ascend…
At Gatesgarth Pass I turn right towards Harter Fell summit, the early morning clouds are clearing now and it promises to be a lovely day with excellent visibility…
The view over Haweswater shortly before the summit
Blea Water and High Street with Rampsgill Head and Kidsty Pike on the right
The summit of Harter Fell looking towards the Coniston Fells in the far distance
I leave the summit of Harter Fell behind and begin the stunning ridge walk over the Nan Bield Pass towards Mardale Ill Bell…
Yoke and Ill Bell above Kentmere Reservoir
The Coniston Fells over the ridge between Ill Bell and Froswick
All the time to my right the views are just incredible – this is Small Water backed by High Street (left), Rampsgill Head (centre), Kidsty Pike (just right of centre) and High Raise
And the view to my left is equally impressive! Yoke, Ill Bell and Froswick dominate the view
Small Water and Haweswater
Looking back towards Harter Fell
The summit of Mardale Ill Bell
From Mardale Ill Bell it is an easy and short walk to High Street…
Looking back to Mardale Ill Bell and Harter Fell
As would be expected the views from the summit of High Street are extensive, Great Gable can be seen in the distance here on the far left, with Fairfield (just left of centre), Dollywaggon Pike (right of centre), and Nethermost Pike (right).
St. Sunday Crag (centre), Helvellyn (right of centre) and Catstycam (far right)
I follow the stone wall off the summit towards the Straits of Riggindale towards my next target – The Knott, which can be seen on the left of this photograph. In fact the next four Wainwrights on my walk are all quite close to each other and are easily bagged in a relatively short time. Rampsgill Head can be seen in the centre, High Raise (right of centre), and Kidsty Pike (right).
Looking down into Riggindale and Haweswater towards Selside Pike and Branstree
Branstree and Harter Fell over the ridge of Rough Crag and Long Stile
Kidsty Pike and Riggindale
Looking towards Fairfield and Helvellyn from the summit of The Knott
My next targets – Rampsgill Head (right), and High Raise (left)
Hayeswater and Hayeswater Gill backed by Thornthwaite Crag and Gray Crag with Caudale Moor beyond
High Street and Thornthwaite Crag
From The Knott it is only a short distance to Rampsgill Head…
Looking back to the summit of The Knott. In the distance is Dove Crag (far left), Hart Crag (left of centre), Fairfield (centre) and Dollywaggon Pike (right)
Looking down to The Nab and Rampsgill Beck from Rampsgill Head
Harter Fell, Mardale Ill Bell and High Street from the summit of Rampsgill Head
My next target – High Raise (right)
The summit of High Raise. Its top is a bit of a surprise – for it is covered in rocks of all shapes and sizes.
The Scafells can be seen over Hart Crag, but it is Fairfield that dominates the view in this photograph
From High Raise I retrace my steps for a short distance before heading towards my final Wainwright of the walk – Kidsty Pike…
The summit of Kidsty Pike with Harter Fell, Mardale Ill Bell and High Street beyond
Looking over the Straits of Riggindale to Caudale Moor
Haweswater and Riggindale
Rough Crag, Long Stile and High Street from Kidsty Howes
Haweswater, Selside Pike and Branstree from Kidsty Howes
Looking back up to Kidsty Howes (far right), Kidsty Pike (just right of centre) and High Street (left)
Heading alongside Haweswater back to the car park at Mardale Head with Harter Fell behind
What a fantastic walk it had been with outstanding views in all directions – and still back at the car for 3pm!…
Brae Fell (just left of centre)
Todays walk begins in Longlands. We go through the gate and follow the track before turning right to follow Charleton Gill up towards Great Sca Fell. Instead of heading to Little Sca Fell we veer left towards Brae Fell. This photograph is taken looking back over Charleton Gill to Longlands Fell.
Threatening looking clouds over Skiddaw from the summit of Brae Fell
We descend over rough grass before rejoining the track back to Longlands. This is Longlands Fell from the lower slopes of Brae Fell.
My brother was up from the midlands visiting for a few days and today we teamed up to tackle the five fells of Maiden Moor (1890ft, 576m), High Spy (2142ft, 653m), Dale Head (2470ft, 753m), Hindscarth (2385ft, 727m) and Robinson (2418ft, 737m). With a beautiful sunny day ahead and excellent visibility we were really looking forward to a full day out in the fells.
Unfortunately I had a bit of trouble with the GPS on my phone for a little while which meant the full track wasn’t recorded, it missed out the bit from the start of the walk near Little Town up onto the saddle between Catbells and Maiden Moor.
Looking back from half way up the climb to Hause Gate
Once the col is reached there is a magnificent view down to Derwent Water
Catbells with Skiddaw beyond
Sitting on the edge of Bull Crag on Maiden Moor looking over to Robinson on the left and the North Western Fells on the right
Looking over the Newlands Valley to Scar Crags, Causey Pike and Grisedale Pike
The summit of Maiden Moor looking towards our next targets – High Spy (left) and Dale Head (right)
To be honest it is hard to tear ourselves away from this spot – the view is just breathtaking. Here my brother can be seen admiring the view from Bull Crag looking towards Hindscarth (centre) and Robinson (right)
High Spy, Dale Head and Hindscarth
Dale Head, Hindscarth and Robinson
Looking back over Catbells to Skiddaw
The view from Blea Crag looking back over Maiden Moor
Approaching the summit cairn on High Spy with Dale Head on the right
The North Western Fells
The summit of High Spy
Leaving High Spy behind we begin to drop down towards Dalehead Tarn. In front of us now are the Scaffels and Great Gable (right)
We lose considerable height as we descend to Dalehead Tarn (left of centre). This can only mean one thing! Once we’re down there a tough and steep climb awaits us up on to Dale Head (right)
With the tough part of the walk now over we can admire the terrific views from Dale Head – this is the impressive Eel Crags on the west side of High Spy
The summit cairn on Dale Head
Our next target – Hindscarth, on the left
Once we leave Dale Head there are tremendous views over Honister Pass and Fleetwith Pike to Great Gable, Kirk Fell and Pillar beyond
Admiring the view to High Crag, High Stile, Red Pike and Buttermere – just incredible!
Maiden Moor and High Spy with the Helvellyn range in the distance
Looking back to the crags of Great Gable on the north side Dale Head
The summit of Hindscarth
Another cairn just north of the summit gives a superb view down towards Scope End and Little Town (centre). We then double back on ourselves and descend towards Littledale Edge midway between Hindscarth and Robinson.
In only 40 minutes we have reached our fifth, and final summit of the day – Robinson
Mellbreak and Rannerdale Knotts on the left with Whiteless Pike, Grasmoor and Wandope on the right
We now begin the breathtaking ridge walk down the spine to the northeast of Robinson towards High Snab Bank, there are some impressive drops to our left as we descend, and some scrambling is necessary
Looking back up to Robinson and Robinson Crags from the descent
The descent of Robinson is very steep and our legs are getting tired after 8 hours of walking! This is looking back up towards Hindscarth.
Eventually we reach more level ground and pass the pretty Newlands Church near the end of the walk. We hadn’t rushed and we’d both stopped whenever necessary to regain our breaths and enjoy the views – I don’t see the point in rushing, I try to savour every step. The walk was just under 10 miles in distance and we’d spent just over 9hrs in beautiful sunshine. Perfect.