Despite many hiking holidays in the Lake District, and at least two previous walks up Helvellyn via less challenging routes, I had never crossed Striding Edge before. The weather was perfect during this holiday, so I took the opportunity to tick this item off my bucket list.
I followed the route from the Pathfinder Guide, which starts at “Helvellyn Base Camp” in Glenridding, climbs up the side of Grisedale then circles around the beautiful Red Tarn. Striding Edge is accurately described in the book as “positively hair-raising”, particularly because you have to scramble over fairly severe crags at the beginning and end of the ridge. Whilst there is a narrow path just below the ridge, that has a vertical drop to the side and still requires some scrambling – so this isn’t a walk for novices.
After the exhilaration of crossing Swirral Edge, I didn’t want to drop below the peak of Catstye Cam without climbing that too. The path down from the end of that descent, though, does not coincide with the path back to the “Hole-in-the-Wall”, so it was necessary to improvise a route across rocks in Red Tarn Beck and climb back up to the official path.
This walk was booked as 8.5 miles and my phone recorded 25000 steps and 267 floors climbed that day.