~Catstycam & Helvellyn~
8th September 2007
I was camping at Gillside, Glenridding with my friend, Simon Baldwin. We first came here together as teenagers in 1981. Not a lot has changed from those days to this, the shower block is much the same and the proprietors remain the Lightfoots. It's a great place to pitch a tent, but it does get busy at the obvious times of the year. This is Day 2, we did Place Fell the day before and our legs were fresh enough for the red-bloodied challenge of the NW ridge of Catstycam....
Ring, ring it's 7am, move yourself to go again ....*
Scroll down for photos and a description of the walk
Sheep on the Edge
We made our way past Greenside Mines and up to Keppel Cove. These sheep are ablivious to the risks and happily munch at the vegetation. Catstycam was shrouded in mist and pshycologically that makes it an easier task, in my opinion. If you can't see what lies ahead, why be concerned? We reached the top of the NW ridge in due course at our only site of anything summity was the summit itself, in the cloud.
The Climbers on the Summit of Catstycam
The mist was coming and going - as you can see we were not cold after the ascent.
A View from Swirral Edge
A low sun, whispy clouds on the opposite side of a ridge to the sun and a camera at the ready.
Catstycam from Swirral Edge
We will surely never know who that character is, stood on the top of Catstycam, but he or she is surely enjoying the good views from the summit.
Swirral Edge from Helvellyn
Certainly one of the classic views in the Lake District. These swirls of cloud provided great photo opportunities. The path is clearly visible and for all of Striding Edge's dramatic appeal, give me our ascent route any day - very low numbers, scrambles, views, no excuse-me's and long waits for others.
This was our chosen descent route, only because the day was, as yet, quite young. Crowds would make it difficult later on a day like this. We hugged the Edge and ignored those get-out routes along the flanks.
Nethermost Pike from Helvellyn
A great high level route, not for us today.
Being adventurers, we visited the summit of Birkhouse Moor and then continued off the front edge, more or less. The scramble took us in a fairly direct line towards Ullswater. Not recommended for softies or families with small children.
The day has developed into a lovely late summer's day. Further down, we passed lots of folk just setting out and they had perspiring brows as they fought the warmer temperature that we avioded with our early start.
You can see a yellow van in the left corner, my green Astra estate is to the right, just across the track. Back in the early 1980's we were warned more than once about being rowdy. Now the boot is on the other foot as noise after 11pm rather irritates us.
Walkers: Simon Baldwin and Me
Time taken: 6hrs
Route: Gillside, Greenside, Keppel Cove, Catstycam, Swirral Edge, Helvellyn, Striding Edge, Birkhouse Moor, Gillside
Weather and conditions: cool start, early mist, developing into a fine late summer day.
Greetings Count: Very low for the first 2/3rds of the walk. Hectic helloing for the last 40 minutes.
Richard's Refreshment Review: Sandwiches and a drink at the tent. Bon appetit!
* The Magnificent Seven by The Clash, available on the album Sandinista
All photos copyright Richard Ratcliffe 2007 ©