3rd December 2016

Helvellyn to Stone Arthur

Time 8am to 2:05pm
Duration 6 hr 5 min
Distance 8.5 mile
Ascent somewhere around 3800 ft
Walking with Paul Sharkey
Swirls - Browncove Crags - Helvellyn - Swallow Scarth - Nethermost Pike - Dollywaggon Pike - Grisedale Tarn - Fairfield - Great Rigg - Stone Arthur - A591
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 !!

Weather Readings

The Gadget
All readings were taken using a Kestrel 2000 Weather Meter
Live temperature recorded at the time I press the hold key
Maximum Wind Speed Maximum wind speed since the weather meter was turned on at each location Average Wind Speed
Average wind speed since the weather meter was turned on at each location
Wind Chill
Combination of wind speed and temperature. The gadget does the calculations not me.

Route Map


Today's route was thought up on the spur of the moment a couple of days ago. Although, what I needed to make the plan work was two cars, so, after a quick email to Paul, it was agreed that we'd do this walk today. Times and places were suggested and after leaving my car down there at Swirls we set off on what will more than likely be the last 2 car walk of the year.

A close up of the valley mist still lingering in Dalebottom.

and not so close up.

Looking up to Browncove Crags. By this point we'd reached freezing level and those innocent looking stones were to say the least, 'lethal'. All of them had an ice glaze and were best avoided by walking up the grass on each side of the path.

On Browncove Crags and looking ahead to Helvellyn Lower Man and Helvellyn.

Ah well, it's into the cloud we go - - or so we thought.

Not far from the top now and we look down to Brown Cove and Catstye Cam.

Red Tarn seen from the top of Helvellyn.

A deserted Helvellyn. It's always nice to come somewhere like this and have the place to ourselves although I'm sure it would have been much busier once the day got going properly.

The trig point and, , ,

the shelter.

Striding Edge.

On route across Nethermost Pike and Dollywaggon Pike we look down for a view of Grisedale and, more to the point Hard Tarn.

Looking ahead

and now looking back.

A close up of Hard Tarn.

and as if by magic, we find ourselves at the side of Grisedale Tarn. Actually, it had nothing to do with magic at all. It was a really steep walk down from Dollywaggon Pike where we had to avoid some large areas of compacted snow and employ a good deal of concentration.

Here we look up the scree path to Fairfield.

It was quite busy on Fairfield while we were here; only to be expected I suppose.

On route to Great Rigg we look behind to see Fairfield clearing as the wall of cloud drifts across the side of the fell.

As we leave Great Rigg it seems a little brighter than it did earlier.

Looking down to Stone Arthur and Grasmere. In the distance the Coniston fells and Coniston Water can be seen.

Near the top of Stone Arthur we find this nice sheltered spot for a dinner with a view.

, , , , , here's the view the front half of which is showing the fells surrounding Greenburn Bottom. Helm Crag, Gibson Knott, Calf Crag and Steel Fell.

Below us is Grasmere; village & lake, but we're not heading there. Our route would take us down to the grassy area you see here and then after a sharp right turn we end up on the main A591 without entering the village.

A close up of Alcock Tarn. Notice the person standing next to the tarn - adding scale to the photo.



Not far now, in fact, you can see the car over there below Helm Crag.

And to finish, we stand looking up at Seat Sandal for a few moments before crossing to road to Paul's car.

David Hall -
Lake District Walks