19 July 2015

Edge Chronicles

Helvellyn. Striding Edge. Swirral Edge.

Saturday the 11th of July 2015, Tom and I collected Helen from her place, then made for Bryn's. We hopped to his car, and made for the Lakes. The wrong lake, at first, but soon back on track, the track (road) being the epic Kirkstone Pass to Glenridding. Epic by road, but we'd soon learn that on foot was... even more epic. Parked up, on out of the car park, and Helen's navigation skills were soon getting warmed up, taking us by pleasant stream and campsite to Mire's Beck, which would form the first part of our ascent. Steady, not too troublesome, and levelling out onto the common below Helvellyn in good time. We took lunch at the hole in the wall (it's a hole in a wall, not a pub, or a cashpoint) to ready ourselves for Striding Edge.

The edge had loomed long in our vision, zig-zagging across the landscape to meld with the bulk of Helvellyn itself. 'Stay high', I'd heard someone advise - there are a couple of paths along the ridge, and the top was rocky while the lower path was a little more soil based - I'll stick with the rock, thanks. Well, I say 'stick', but there were occasional jumps to make... Overall, it felt like a bridge over the world, and soon led into a more vertical... well, steeper scramble that saw us up to the peak, where trig point antics abounded, obviously.

Helen is on a trig point. I forgot you couldn't see it when I decided this would be the perfect picture.
Onwards and downwards, to Swirral Edge. They say that's where you should watch your footing, but it was no bother for us. Perhaps you should watch your feet when it's wet or icy, but I felt like this advice wasn't written with boulderers in mind. Would have liked my climbing shoes now and then, just to feel more nimble.

Catstye Cam was ahead of us, so it would have been rude not to... Great views from thence. We traversed a sheep trail down to the main path, and took up the descent in earnest. I couldn't help plotting the various routes a unicycle wheel might have taken, and I wouldn't be surprised if Bryn was thinking the two-wheeled equivalent. We levelled out by the stream that would take us to Glenridding, past an old mine and along videogame style paths back to complete the loop near the campsite. To our distress, it turned out there was no chippy in the clearly rather small town, so we hit the road. The journey back was quiet conversation-wise, as everyone breathed deeply to recover, something we had well earned.

A big day out bouldering is on the menu next, but more mountainous scrambles will surely follow before too long...
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