With the promise of a dry and sunny day I set off for the lakes in an optimistic mood that I’d have a good days walking up on the high fells. I made my way down to Thirlmere and parked up at Wythburn Church beside the A591, where I was pleasantly surprised to find that for the time being at least the car parking was free, rather than the extortionate £7 it would normally have been. Happy days!
Leaving the car park behind I made my way up through the forest alongside tumbling waterfalls on Comb Gill. It is a good path, pitched in many places and there is no danger of going wrong, or of getting wet feet like on my last walk. However the path is also steep, and I find myself stopping regularly to get my breath back, and also to take in the view behind me.
Looking back to Wyth Burn
Harrop Tarn amidst stunning autumn colours
Looking over Steel Fell to Pike O’Blisco (left), Crinkle Crags (centre), and Bowfell (right)
The Coniston Fells
With the toughest part of the climbing now behind me I can enjoy the incredible vista to the west. This is looking over Steel Fell, High Raise and Ullscarf to the Coniston Fells, Crinkle Crags, Bowfell, Esk Pike, Scafell Pike, Great End and Great Gable. That’s some view I reckon.
The path almost levels out as I head towards the col between Helvellyn and Nethermost Pike. Up until this point I had had no view to the east, so as I approached the col I was ‘wowed’ by the view that greeted me….
Looking down into Nethermost Cove and over Eagle Crag to St. Sunday Crag
Walkers on High Spying How on the western end of Striding Edge
Low Spying How at the eastern end of Striding Edge
At the col instead of continuing up on to Helvellyn I take a sharp right and make the short final ascent onto the summit plateau of Nethermost Pike. The top is an extensive flat area and there are two cairns which to me appeared to be pretty much equal in height. I wasn’t sure which of them was the actual ‘highest’ point so I visited both to be sure!
This is the view I had whilst eating my packed lunch. Nice eh!
Helvellyn from Nethermost Pike
Looking down into Grisedale towards Place Fell (left), and Birks (foreground right). In the far distance is Loadpot Hill and Wether Hill, with The Nab and Angletarn Pikes mid-distance on the right.
Ill Bell, Yoke, Middle Dodd and Red Screes
Climbers (top left) nearing the summit of Helvellyn after traversing Striding Edge. Catstycam looms large behind.
Fairfield, Dollywagon Pike and High Crag
St. Sunday Crag
Looking down over Hard Tarn to Grisedale and Place Fell, Birks and St. Sunday Crag
Midway between Nethermost Pike and Dollywagon Pike is the summit of High Crag, and this is it’s cairn. It has fantastic views but it isn’t a ‘Wainwright’.
Dollywagon Pike (left) from High Crag, with Morecambe Bay glistening in the distance
Looking over High Raise and Ullscarf to Bowfell, Esk Pike, Scafell Pike, Great End and Great Gable
In no time at all I’m on the summit of Dollywagon Pike, this is looking back to High Crag on the right
The highest point is marked by a small cairn
Fairfield from the summit cairn
A bigger cairn lies about 30 yards to the west of the highest point, this is looking over Seat Sandal to Coniston Water and the Coniston Fells
Nethermost Crag with Helvellyn and Catstycam behind
St. Sunday Crag
Great Rigg and Morecambe Bay
Fairfield over Falcon Crag
This is my favourite image of the day. Just an incredible view with huge drops directly below. Stunning scenery.
So at this point in the day I’m undecided on what to do next, I’m not sure whether to continue in a southerly direction and head for Grisedale Tarn and Seat Sandal, or retrace my steps but make a small diversion to include Helvellyn. After pondering for a few minutes I decide to leave Seat Sandal for another expedition, I figure that whilst I’m so close to Helvellyn I may as well have a look up there. It’d be rude not too!
The summit of Helvellyn – as expected it was a busy place, it seemed odd to me that I’d hardly seen a soul all day just a short distance away
Red Tarn and the summit cairn
The Ordnance Survey Column, Catstycam, Ullswater and Birkhouse Moor
The cairn at the top of Swirral Edge, with Helvellyn Lower Man (far left), Skiddaw (centre), Blencathra (distant right), and White Side (close right).
Swirral Edge and Red Tarn
Red Tarn and Striding Edge
Looking down onto Striding Edge. It’s superb to be watching the climbers crossing this awesome ridge and to remember my traverse of ‘The Edge’. The impressive backdrop is dominated by St. Sunday Crag, behind that is High Street, Gray Crag, Thornthwaite Crag and Caudale Moor.
Dollywagon Pike, High Crag and Nethermost Pike from the top of Helvellyn. So that’s it, what a superb few hours I’d had, savouring some of the finest views that the country has to offer. Now it’s time to descend back down to the car via the same path I used to come up (pictured here on the right). I was surprised to be back at the car just an hour after leaving the summit.