Conquering Helvellyn: England’s 3rd Highest Peak

Helvellyn | www.olivialeaves.comFor the Easter long weekend in April this year, I took a drive around the Southeastern part of Ireland. On that trip I sprained my ankle while climbing Lugnaquilla in Wicklow. It took me at least three months to be able to walk in heels after that, and I had hoped with that incident my fledgling hiking career would be over.

Fast forward to August.

I found myself in Ambleside, an amazing little town that sits on the edge of Lake Windermere in the north of England, commonly known as the Lake District. I had a great four day break, complete with sun and relaxation. Except Sunday. On Sunday we hiked Helvellyn.

Helvellyn

Helvellyn is England’s third highest peak at 3,120 feet above sea level. People tried to calm me down by saying the peak was so flat that they’ve landed a plane on it. That doesn’t help when you’re facing what are called the “scrambling” bits. Luckily, I didn’t do a Google search beforehand (go on, have a look now…).

We began our ascent in Glenridding, went across Striding Edge to the summit, and came down via Swirral Edge. I’m very proud to have completed this hike, despite sobbing tears of terror the entire way across Striding Edge, but I will never, ever do it again.

On the plus side, there were some beautiful views!

helvellyn01 helvellyn02 helvellyn03 helvellyn04Found the hole in the wall! (Is that Stormhold?)

Ambleside01

Getting closer to the top…

helvellyn06 It didn’t look that bad from here…

Helvellynhelvellyn07 This is the infamous Striding Edge. I was disappointed that the photos didn’t quite reflect the level fear I experienced, so I’ve pointed out a hiker in red in the photo below. I’ve zoomed in on that hiker in the following photo. Are you getting a sense of the epic scale of things?

helvellyn08.2Zoomed…

helvellyn08.1This is the last photo that was taken before I realised exactly what I’d gotten myself into.

helvellyn09 At the beginning… See the tiny hikers further along?

helvellyn010 helvellyn011Finally on top of the world!

Helvellyn

And just when I thought I’d made it, we had to go down! That bit there on the left…

helvellyn013Thankfully, I did make it down (from that peak!) Yes, down all those rocks.

HelvellynYep, so that happened.

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