2nd June 2007

Helvellyn without the crowds


Walk Overview
Time 07.05 to 13.05
Duration 6 hr
Distance 7.1
Ascent 3272 ft
Walking with On my own
Swirls - Helvellyn Gill - Browncove Crags - Helvellyn Lower Man - Helvellyn - Nethermost Pike - Birk Side - Forest Path back to Swirls
Fells visited
Directory places visited

Starting Point Information Centre
Car park, Swirls, Thirlmere

Swirls and Helvellyn fit perfectly into the same sentence. The chances are that 9 out of every 10 people who walk from here are heading up Browncove Crags onto Helvellyn summit.

The car park is in effect split into two by the A591. One has splendid views over Thirlmere and pays host to an ice cream van, whilst on the opposite side of the road you have the toilet block and the beginning of the path to Helvellyn.

Unfortunately the water company who own the land have installed a 'pay and display' machine in the car park above Thirlmere, so, the only free option here is to park in the long lay-by a little further down the road. Late comers will find it full !!


Route Map

Crossing Helvellyn Gill for an an early start to this mornings walk up Helvellyn.

The long flat (ish) top of Ullscarf.

Much higher up the fellside now and following the ruined wall below Browncove Crags.

Looking back along the short ridge between Browncove Crags and Helvellyn Lower Man.

Helvellyn Lower Man.

And again, this time showing the path to Browncove Crags leading straight ahead.

A deserted and rather windy Helvellyn.

Well, not quite deserted. Another walker is seen coming from the opposite direction the cross shelter found a couple of yards from the summit cairn.

Catstye Cam and the lower section of Swirral Edge.

And to complete the duo, a photo of Striding Edge; which was already occupied by a couple of groups of walkers.

The view back up to Helvellyn's summit.

Striding Edge seen from Swallow Scarth; the col between Helvellyn and Nethermost Pike.

As seen as though we were so close anyway, we decided to walk onto Nethermost Pike where you get this dramatic view across to Helvellyn, Striding Edge and the easily recognisable "pointed" top of Catstye Cam.

As we started to loose height it was really warming up, we were out of the wind and it was starting to feel more like it should at the beginning of June.

The most surprising thing was that from this point until we got back to the car park we only passed another four groups of people. These ranged from a guy on his own to a group of five or six young lads all walking together and obviously offering encouragement to the one who was carrying all their gear.

I should point out that I'm not having another go at the totally unprepared people I see on the fells. In this case the person carrying all the gear was in full combat clothing and was carrying the biggest bag I've ever seen; which incidentally he assured me was full. From what I could gather he was actually a member of the Marines on some self inflicted training day with his mates.

Thirlmere seen below the wooded fellside of the Central ridge. The bigger fells in the far distance are the Skiddaw fells.

Walking through the woods between Wythburn and Swirls. Now this is what a summers day should feel like.

A glimpse of thirlmere.

Just short of the midway point through the woods the trees temporarily give way to a section of open fellside showing the remains of lead mine workings.

David Hall -
Lake District Walks