The Helvellyn Range

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Blog post 18

Wainwright count:                 3

Wainwrights:                          Nethermost Pike, Dollywagon Pike & Seat Sandal

Who with:                               Susie, my Patterdale Terrier & Sally, my father’s Boarder Terrier

Date:                                       16th August 2015

So, I had dropped my father off at the airport yesterday and then spent the night at home, before coming back up to the Lakes early on the Sunday morning. I nipped back to the caravan to get my gear and then I was ready to walk. I decided that I wanted to do a walk that was near(ish) to Skelwith Fold, where we have our caravan, so decided that this was just the walk for a late morning start.

I parked at the Church, at the South of Thirlmere Resevoir on the A591, and luckily for me and the others that parked here on this day, the ticket machine was out of use, so we saved the £7 parking costs that we would have incurred…very expensive in my eyes, but don’t want to open that debate up!

Anyway, we made our way up the path signposted for Helvellyn, which led us through a thick wood adjacent to the stream. We couldn’t have been walking more than 300 metres when we entered the site where large scale deforestation was taking place and no doubt new trees planted in time. There was still machinery present and piles of logs, so it looks like this is a part-finished project. We crossed the forest track, to proceed on a good stone path, which wound its way up the hill side and opened out to present fantastic views over Thirlmere. The weather was overcast, but had reasonable visibility at present, so offered the chance to take a few photos, while the dogs replenished their water supplies in a small stream.

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The path then headed directly up the hill side and opened out to present views up to Whelp Side, below Helvellyn, if it wasn’t for the relatively low mist. The path ran adjacent to Comb Gill and the climbed, skirting Comb Crags, before heading up Birk Side, where the path’s gradient eased a little. The path is very clear, as you would expect of one leading to one of the Lake District’s most popular mountains. I made my way up to Swallow Scarth, where you can either continue the short distance north to the top of Helvellyn, although I was instead heading South up to the now misty summit of Nethermost Pike.

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This ridge is relatively flat for the kilometre in between Nethermost and Dollywagon Pikes, and with little in the way of views, there was nothing left but to ‘crack on’ walking. Upon reaching the summit of Dollywagon Pike, I dropped down slightly to the post a few hundred metres from the cairn, where I followed the path due South, heading steeply down a path at the bottom of Grisedale Tarn. It was here that we took in some trusty oatcakes, before heading up the steep path directly up Seat Sandal.

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After enjoying the views for a few moments, we retraced our steps back down to near the Tarn, before taking the path down towards the A591, which runs parallel to Raise Beck. It was on the way down that Keswick Mountain Rescue team passed me, on their way up….hopefully just on a training exercise!

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Once I had reached the road, I followed the footpath that runs parallel to it, in a Northerly direction, until I joined the forestry track that I had crossed at the start of the walk. Once I reached this point, I head back down the path that I had ascended earlier towards the church car park. By this time the weather had brightened up a little, but the mist still hung over the high fells. Another good days walk in Lakeland!

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