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Helvellyn, Lake District
Helvellyn is so much more than England’s third highest mountain, and it was no surprise when this route was voted Britain’s Favourite Walk in a 2017 ITV poll.
An ascent of this 950m peak via the narrow ridge of Striding Edge is one of Britain’s most iconic mountain challenges, mixing hill walking with scrambling on a spectacular route that requires the use of hands in a few places – and a good head for heights!
The classic way to walk Helvellyn is from the village of Glenridding, first climbing steeply over Birkhouse Moor with wonderful views down the Ullswater valley, then tackling the Grade 1 scramble of Striding Edge all the way to Helvellyn’s vast summit plateau.
After tucking into celebratory sandwiches and enjoying views across what feels like the entire Lake District National Park, descend from the summit via Swirral Edge – another steep rocky scramble that feels intimidating when you first tiptoe towards it.
At the low point of the Swirral Edge ridge, follow the path that leads down towards the impressive glacial bowl containing Red Tarn then follow the obvious path down the valley to Glenridding.
IMPORTANT: If you aren’t comfortable with heights or exposed mountain terrain, this route may not be suitable for you. There are less technical routes up Helvellyn on footpaths suitable for walkers of all ages and abilities.
TOG VERDICT: A thrilling mountain route for walkers who like living life on the edge. Helvellyn’s ridges are exciting, and a little bit scary, but great fun too.