Helvellyn,but not on my own!

Alfred Wainwright once said “I do prefer my own company to that of others. The tinkling of a mountain stream, the twittering of birds. The sound of wind scything across the mountain tops. That’s music to me.”
In that respect I totally agree with AW, I prefer to walk alone. The peace and solitude is the big draw for me. The scenery helps too. I’ll come on to that shortly!
After my little ‘misadventure’ on Fleetwith Pike two weeks ago, I began to think of the consequences and risks involved in walking alone. For all it’s benefits to me personally, it also smacks of selfishness and foolishness.
Two weeks ago for the first time ever there was a possibility that I wasn’t getting down off that mountain?
Thankfully I lived to tell the tale.
So with the resounding echoes of work colleagues and friends(and my mother) telling me how foolish I was, I decided to look for a walking partner.
As it happened a few people from work were planning to climb Helvellyn today, so I tagged along…..as you do!!
So at 6am this morning I met up with 6 other people in a cold and misty car park. 3 I knew, 3 I didn’t. After a brief meet and greet, it was time to hit the road.
We were in Glenridding and lacing up our boots by 8am. The weather gods were not going to do us any favours today though. It was a bit grim!!
Our aim was to tackle Striding Edge and summit Helvellyn via Birkhouse Moor.
The fun begins at the hole in the wall before you hit SE

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After a quick check of the map by ‘expert’ navigators we were on our way up SE

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I’ve only crossed SE once before, almost 4 years to the day. Coincidence? Probably?
Anyway, I was like a dog with a bone as we approached. It was a real shame about the weather as 3 of the team today had not crossed it previously, therefore were not going to experience the sheer drops and amazing views.
Below is an image of what they could have seen…..

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here’s what they did see…..

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There was no turning back now. Onwards and upwards as they say.
If you have a fear of heights, then today’s conditions would be perfect for you. There is no hint of the massive drops either side in such thick fog. Personally I like to see those, to add some excitement.
Here’s a few pics from the crossing…..

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I’m flagging now and in need of an energy break πŸ™‚

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If a reminder was needed of the perils of SE then this plaque to a perished walker is fit for purpose!!!

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Thankfully there’d be no plaque for us today!!
Striding Edge is a long exposed ridge and it’s best to keep going forward to get over it as soon as possible. The winds are bitingly cold, which is a bit unpleasant to be honest. With that in mind it was difficult to get decent pics today.
Here are a few more that I did manage to stop long enough for……

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As we came to the end of SE there is a fantastic scramble up on the summit plateau of Helvellyn. Hands and feet required, so no pics obviously!!!
Approaching the cross shelter on the summit…..

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It was time for a lunch break now, and a perfect opportunity for a group photo……

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After lunch it was a quick scramble down Swirral edge(a baby version of Striding) and the long walk back to Glenridding for a well earned post walk beer. πŸ˜„
All in all, a good walk with good people, and new friendships made.
Will I walk with them again? Most definitely.
Will I walk alone again? Most definitely!!
I think there is room for both in the mountains, but as they say…..safety in numbers, so I guess it will be mostly the former from now on….if for no other reason than to please my mother!
Until next time, Scotty out πŸ‘

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