Helvellyn was a peak I’d wanted to do for a while, the moment we had booked a holiday around Ullswater I pencilled in this hike as one to do so when we saw the weather was going to be dry over a few days we decided on a route and headed out.
We parked in Glenridding due to the rather large public car park, from which Helvellyn is actually sign posted from and made getting our baring much easier. The start of the path up is a tarmacked route which runs past a few houses and farms and upon nearing a campsite you head past it and then turn to the right at the top of the road, this is where it now turns into a path and following the signs and the route up you start along a stepped path which you follow up for quite a way. The obvious advantage to this is that you gain height fast, the downside being your knee’s start to feel it! The first peak you reach is Little Cove, which is easy to pass by before heading up towards a fork in the path, at this point going left up the dirt track takes you a quicker route to Helvellyn, however going right not only takes you to the Birkhouse Moor peak, but also along a better path.
We chose the latter as not only did we want to get some more peaks in, but the cloud cover had started to descend and the visibility limited to a point where the more obvious path was a better option for us. Once at the peak of Birkhouse Moor we turned left and headed over to Low Spying How, this is surprisingly easy going and the route is very clear even in the thick cloud cover, unfortunately due to this, we struggled to get any sort of view (which is a main reason for approaching this hike as we had been advised the views were wonderful) which did spoil the spectacle a bit.
As we approached Low Spying How the wind really started to pick up and a couple of times we had to stand still to stable ourselves, we reached the top of the peak and could still see an obvious route even with the cloud cover getting even thicker. Upon heading towards High Spying How the wind got stronger and stronger every step to the point where this combined with the poor visibility made the two of us talk through if we wanted to continue. We decided that for safety sake amongst everything else we would turn back, the map showed that at the foot of Helvellyn there was a lot of height to cover is a small distance which would make for scrambling and combining that with the strength of the wind made us air on the side of caution and turn back.
We followed the same route back as we knew it was safe and realised that the cloud had dropped a huge amount and most of the return leg was under these clouds. Even in these conditions this hike was much easier than we anticipated and we will definitely be heading back up with better weather. All the route information has been added as usual, but we have marked this as a failed attempt as we didn’t make it to the peak of Helvellyn and therefore cannot tick it off our Wainright list!