Place Fell.

The children were, somewhat to my surprise, remarkably tolerant of my plan to have another ‘birthday hill-walk’ the day after our ascent of Pen-y-ghent. They were quite keen to tackle Whernside, but having looked at the forecast, it seemed that heading north to the Lakes would be a better bet for us. They were also adamant that the best part of our day on Pen-y-ghent, was the rocky south ridge, where they had strayed from the path looking for scrambling challenges. (They’d humoured my obsession with Purple Saxifrage without completely sharing it!)

So, where to take them next?

Helvellyn and Striding Edge seemed like the obvious choice. It had been lurking at the back of mind as one possibility for this Easter break, I think.

We were parked in Glenridding quite early, although we’d stopped en route to do a bit of shopping – the most urgent need being new boots for B, who it transpired had been wearing size 3 boots on his size 6 feet the day before.

I first took them up to Lanty’s Tarn, because one Easter, long ago, I saw it swarming with frogs. None in evidence on this occasion, but not to worry, from Lanty’s Tarn there’s a very quiet path up onto Birkhouse Moor which is less of a slog than the path from Grizedale or the Little Cove path, in my opinion at least.


Just after meeting the Little Cove path we found a good, sheltered spot out of the cold wind for a bite to eat. The boys had learned from the previous days experience and had brought more food with them.





Apparently, Lancashire is not the only county to have gone for an odd Easter holiday of the fortnight running up to the Easter weekend. However, whilst there were quite a few people about, Striding Edge was still a good deal quieter than I had anticipated…



The children really relished the experience, taking the ‘ethical line’ as close to the crest as they could. As for me, doing this with my kids gave me a whole new perspective on Striding Edge – I’m sure it was never this narrow or exposed in the past!


I’d warned them about the little down-climb at the end of the ridge before we got there. After we’d done it they asked if my prior knowledge was because I’d read up on the ridge in advance of our walk. So I explained that I’d been this way many times before, and was surprised at the resulting indignance: “Well, you’ve never brought us before!”



I found the last little steep haul up to the top a bit wearisome. For the first time that day, the kids were leaving me behind and Little S, bless him, had to keep telling the other two to pause to wait for me.

It was a bit blowy on the summit…



Near the coll between Swirral Edge and Catstye Cam we stopped again to guzzle tea and eat more lunch. I’d originally intended to Include Catstye Cam on the walk, but decided now that we would leave that for another time. I have a strong feeling that this is one walk the kids will want to repeat.


We descended by Red Tarn Beck.

“Which one is your Birthday walk then Dad? Pen-y-ghent or Helvellyn?”

“Which would you choose?”


They were unanimous, all plumping for Helvellyn. I can’t decide – can I have them both? It would set an excellent precedent.


7 thoughts on “Helvellyn

  1. Been a long while since I went up Helvellyn, even longer since I did Striding Edge. What an excellent Birthday Hill, S has one and now you do. I need to think what mine would be.
    Great to see a man of your years making it to the top. Hope I can do the same when I get to your age

    1. beatingthebounds says:

      I can see that this is not going to get tired for you. I seem to remember I read on your facebook account: “51 and proud.” As I keep telling the kids, I’m only 25, so it’s me that has the catching-up to do.
      It is a cracking hill, and the best part was that they all managed it fine, no moaning, in fact they are all relishing getting out and making plans to do more of the same. Long may it continue!

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