a mountain in the English Lake District, the apex of the Eastern Fells.
At 950 metres (3,117 ft) above sea level, it is the third highest peak
in both the Lake District and England.
The peak of Helvellyn is the highest on the north-south ridge situated between the
Thirlmere valley to the west, and Patterdale to the east. This ridge
continues north over Helvellyn Lower Man, White Side, Raise, Stybarrow
Dodd, Great Dodd and Clough Head, and south leads to Nethermost Pike and
side of the fell is geographically the most dramatic. Two sharp arÍtes
lead off the summit, Striding Edge and Swirral Edge, either side of Red
Tarn. The knife-edged Striding Edge provides one of the best-known
scrambles in Lakeland, while the Swirral Edge ridge leads to the conical
summit of Catstye Cam.
Nestling between the encircling arms of Helvellyn's
two edges, is Red Tarn. This pool is named for the colour of the
surrounding screes rather than its water, and contains brown trout and
schelly, a fresh-water herring. The depth of Red Tarn is now about 80
feet (25m), although in the mid 1800s it was dammed with boulders to
increase capacity. This was carried out to provide additional water to
the Greenside lead mine in Glenridding, the water race still visible as
it crosses the slope of Birkhouse Moor.
tarn once existed in Brown Cove between Swirral Edge and Lower Man, but
this is now reduced to a couple of small pools widening the stream.
Brown Cove Tarn was another creation of the Greenside mine, a stone
faced dam being built in about 1860. The dam is still in place but water
now leaks through the base, the extended tarn-bed a smooth patch of
luxuriant turf. A water leat passing beneath the north face of Catstye
Cam to Red Tarn Beck can still be traced although it is now in
ruins.Water from Brown Cove and Red Tarn unites at the beyond Catstye
Cam to form Glenridding Beck, flowing on through the village to
slopes are relatively shallow, and partially forested, with many gills
leading down to the Thirlmere valley
of Helvellyn takes the form of a broad plateau about 500 metres
(1,640 ft) long. The highest point is marked by a cairn and a
cross-shaped dry stone shelter; to the north is an Ordnance Survey trig
point, a little lower than the summit at 949 m (3,114 ft).
There is a
subsidiary top, Helvellyn Lower Man, about a third of a mile to the
north-west. Its summit is small compared to the plateau of Helvellyn and
offers better views north-westwards, as the ground falls steeply away
from it on this side.
Ordnance Survey maps there is a bridleway along the full length of the
Helvellyn range taking in a number of Wainwrights. This can be traversed
by mountain bike and the usual route is South to North starting from
Mill Bridge. This challenging six hour circular route is 16 miles off
road and 10 on road.
Edge is a classic scrambling route on Helvellyn, linking the summit
ridge of Birkhouse Moor to Helvellyn's summit by what becomes a sharp
Edge begins at Hole-in-the-Wall and then stretches for over a mile to
the Helvellyn summit plateau. The initial part of the ridge is
relatively rounded and has a good path running along the right hand
side. This all changes upon reaching High Spying How which at 863 m
(2,831 ft) is the highest point on the ridge. At this point a narrow
path continues closely to the top of the ridge which becomes
increasingly narrow. Scramblers however will move to the top of the
ridge and walk at the very top of the arÍte.
path continues until near the end of the ridge where it switches over to
the left hand side. Scramblers are forced to descend a short gully down
the last tower on the ridge. At this point the ridge joins to the main
Helvellyn massif. All that remains is a walk/scramble up loose rocky
terrain to reach the summit plateau around two hundred metres from the
summit. Typically a cornice will form here in the winter and can
represent the most dangerous part of the hike.
Edge is a notorious accident spot among hikers and scramblers.
Conditions on the ridge in early 2008 were described as the worst in 30
years by fell top assessor Craig Palmer. In winter conditions the climb
from Striding Edge up to the summit plateau can involve an icy traverse
of a dangerous cornice. Without an ice axe or crampons this presents a
serious obstacle. Two walkers died after falling from the ridge in
separate incidents in the following weeks.Another walker died after
falling from Striding Edge in May 2008.