Read Time : 7 mins

Helvellyn, England & The Lake District’s third-highest peak, is a lot easier to access than the first & second-highest, Scafell Pike & Sca Fell, making walking Helvellyn a pretty popular option. Voted No.1 in ITV series Britain’s Favourite Walks: The Top 100 majestical Helvellyn is certainly a worthy holder of its position. 

The incredible views from the summit of this giant tabletop of a mountain paired with a rather technical scramble along its hair-raising Striding Edge route, make this an adventure-packed hike in the picturesque Lake District National Park. In this post, you’ll learn more about the route we took as well as our tips for taking Striding Edge on.

Walking Helvellyn via the Striding Edge makes for an adventure-packed hike - The Wilder Route. Image shows Adam standing atop a mountain looking down a steep edge.
  • Save
Walking Helvellyn via Striding Edge makes for an adventure-packed hike.

Walking Helvellyn

Although one of the most well liked hikes in the UK, walking Helvellyn is a challenge that should not be taken too lightly. This mountain stands tall at 950 m (3,117 ft) above sea leve & in this post we will be covering the Striding Edge route but whichever route you choose you’ll need a pretty good level of fitness to tackle it.

Due to the sharp ridges of the mountain, which were carved by glaciers during the last ice age, there will be at least some climbing involved, from whichever angle you decide to take Helvellyn on. Via the Striding Edge route, however, you are looking at the most popular Grade 1 scramble in the Lakes.

Walking Helvellyn - looking out over the mighty Striding Edge - The Wilder Route. Image shows Adam looking out over a narrow rocky ridge, leading to the top of a mountain.
  • Save
Walking Helvellyn – looking out towards the mighty Striding Edge.

How Long To Climb Helvellyn?

For most Helvellyn routes it takes around 3-hours to get to the summit.

The route that we took, along Striding Edge & back down Swirral Edge, was 14.1 km (8.7 miles) & took us around 5 1/2 hours in total with stops. On the way up gaining 790 m (2,592 ft) of elevation in 7km paired with the climbing made for a moderately strenuous hike. Coming back down, however, is a lot easier, although climbing down Swirral Edge still requires concentration & control underfoot.

How long does it take to climb Helvellyn? For most routes the climb to the summit is around 3-hours, including via Striding Edge - The Wilder Route. Image shows Adam standing atop a mountain in the Lake District, England.
  • Save
How long does it take to climb Helvellyn? For most routes the climb to the summit is around 3-hours, including via Striding Edge.

Starting In Glenridding

Villages don’t get much more quintessentially Lake District than Glenridding, nestled right at the southern end of Ullswater, it certainly boasts spectacular views. 

In Glenridding itself, there is a selection of holiday cottages, a campsite, a pub called the Travellers Rest Inn, a small shop & a tourist information centre. The surrounding mountains make it a great base & starting point for tons of hikes in the area, the most popular being Helvellyn.

We chose to park up about 1/2 mile out-of-town – taking the road towards Penrith we found a lakeside parking spot & walked back towards Glenridding to pick up the trail to Helvellyn. There is also a large Lake District National Park Authority pay & display car park in Glenridding itself.

The starting point for Helvellyn, Glenridding right at the southern edge of Ullswater is very picturesque - The Wilder Route. Image shows a stone wall with a postbox in, there are mountains in the background & a house that can just be seen over the wall.
  • Save
The starting point for Helvellyn, Glenridding right at the southern edge of Ullswater is very picturesque.

Helvellyn Striding Edge Route

From Glenridding, we headed past the Travellers Rest Inn & took a left towards Gillside Farm campsite. From there we followed the path upstream & carried on turning left until we reached the stone path which led us steeply up, stopping occasionally to take in the stunning views of Ullswater which got better & better the higher we climbed.

From here we followed the stone wall until we reached the stile known as ‘ The Hole In The Wall’ (literally naming it for what it is!), which we passed through to reach the start of Striding Edge. Staring up at the very narrow edge that leads to Helvellyn’s peak, I (Kelly) have to admit, my fear of heights did start to kick in.

After following Striding Edge to the top of Helvellyn we then looped back down the other side & scrambling down Swirral Edge, taking the path that follows Red Tarn Beck, onto Greenside Road, all the way back to Glenridding.

The whole route is very easy to follow with the trails being very well maintained. For maps, we used Maps.Me with this post detailing exactly how to use the app for hiking. The route that we mapped out beforehand is shown just below. Ordnance Survey, however, does offer maps that are much more accurate for walking & hiking, having an app with an offline maps feature & of course paper maps if you’d prefer not to rely on your phone.

Map show Helvellyn Striding Edge route, descening down Swiral Edge & following Red Tarn Beck all the way back to Glenridding which is where the route starts - The Wilder Route.
  • Save
Map.Me Map showing Helvellyn Striding Edge route, descening down Swiral Edge & following Red Tarn Beck all the way back to Glenridding which is where the route starts.

The Ascent

The ascent itself requires a bit of stamina but is not what we’d call super hard. The paths on this route are in very good condition which always makes for an easier walk. To be honest, with a big chunk of the ascent to Helvellyn being along Striding Edge it requires more mental concentration than physical steam, with the last few hundred metres being a steep climb to reach Helvellyn’s peak.

The rocky ridge on the left shows Striding Edge close up, the edge stays this narrow all the way along, meaning a lot of concentration is needed - The Wilder Route.
  • Save
The rocky ridge on the left shows Striding Edge close up, the edge stays this narrow all the way along, meaning a lot of concentration is needed.

Is Striding Edge Dangerous?

Striding Edge is a technical scramble that requires you to pay attention throughout – there’s a plaque en route that commemorates where artist Charles Gough fell to his death in 1805 & there have been more people who have suffered the same fate since. No scare tactics are meant here though, we survived to tell the tale & just want to point out the risks involved & share a few safety tips for anyone thinking of taking Striding Edge on.

To keep yourself safe, we would recommend going at your own pace. I (Kelly) for example am quite fearful of heights so took Striding Edge a lot slower than Adam. I stopped to let others on the trail pass me by, which gave me more confidence to move at my own speed & enjoy it.

We would definitely not recommend attempting this route in bad weather, especially if it’s windy. Be sure to check mountain forecast for updates on the weather atop Helvellyn.

We’d also say that attempting to walk along Striding Edge without proper footwear, would be quite silly, proper hiking boots or runners are needed if you are going to take this on. Check out our post on hiking safety for more tips.

is Striding Edge dangerous? It can be, so we'd recommend taking it at your own pace, as Kelly is here, atop 'the chimney' - The Wilder Route. Image shows Kelly stood atop a rocky mountain edge.
  • Save
is Striding Edge dangerous? It can be, so we’d recommend taking it at your own pace, as Kelly is here, atop ‘the chimney’.

At The Summit Of Helvellyn

What makes Helvellyn so magnificent is the amount of flat open space at the top, in fact, in 1926 an aeroplane attempted to land on this fell, succeeded & even managed to take off again… so if you fancy running around in giant loops to celebrate your ascent, rest assured, there’s plenty of space.

After tackling Striding Edge we took a while at the top of Helvellyn to just take it all in. The views from the summit are incredible, 360 degrees of mountains & lakes with three deep glacial coves & the two sharp-topped ridges of Striding Edge & Swirral Edge all clearly in view. On a clear day, it is believed that you can even see across to the hills of south-west Scotland, the Pennines & even the Blackpool Tower.

Taking in the stunning views at the summit of Helvellyn - The Wilder Route.
  • Save
Taking in the stunning views at the summit of Helvellyn.

The Descent

Although Swirral Edge is nowhere near as tricky or challenging as Striding Edge, it still requires some concentration. You can choose to take a detour to CatsyCam although we didn’t go for this option & took the long winding path that follows Red Tarn Beck which made for a lovely loop back into Glenridding.

A Summary Of Walking Helvellyn Via Striding Edge

Coming from someone who is afraid of heights, taking the Striding Edge route to Helvellyn, is most definitely worth it. Scrambling adds new depths to a hike, making it mentally as well as physically demanding & for Hellvellyn, this was certainly the case.

For quick reference we’ve summarised the route we took below…

  • Our route (via Striding Edge, Swirral Edge & following the path that follows Red Tarn Beck) : 14.1 km (8.7 miles)
  • Time to hike : 5 1/2 hours (full loop with stops)
  • Helvellyn elevation : 950 m (3,117 ft)
  • Elevation gain : 790 m (2,592 ft)
  • Top tips : take your time on Striding Edge & wear proper footwear
Walking Helvellyn via Striding Edge is most definitely worth the challenge - The Wilder Route. Image shows Adam stood atop a mountain looking out at the view.
  • Save
Walking Helvellyn via Striding Edge is most definitely worth the challenge.

If you’re looking for more hiking guides & inspiration, be sure to check out our nature & adventure page.

You can also follow all of our hiking adventures over on Instagram.

Thanks for reading, if you do hike Helvellyn via Striding Edge we hope you have a really awesome time,

Kelly & Adam x

Pin me for later

about the wilder route...

The Wilder Route - Author Bio. Image shows Kelly & Adam sat on a rock with a cloud encompassed mountain behind them, they are facing the camera & smiling. Kelly is wearing a bright yellow coat, a brown hat, jeans & yellow leg warmers. Adam is wearing a navy blue coast & jeans.

In 2017 Kelly & Adam Peck embarked on a journey that would change their lives forever... 

Equipped with a couple of second-hand bikes, they took a one-way flight to Havana, Cuba &, after a cycling escapade that took them over four hundred kilometres - through remote villages & untouched landscapes, the roots of The Wilder Route were firmly planted. 

From there the adventure was destined to continue... this intrepid couple spent the next 10 months soaking up the vibrance of Mexico, hiking up volcanoes in Guatemala, taking in the wild scenery of Canada & experiencing the beauty & diversity of Colombia, before eventually returning to the UK. 

With the feeling of exploration in their souls, Kelly & Adam knew that they wanted to build a life that brought them closer to nature, a life that made adventure part of their every day. Selling most of their belongings & packing the rest of what they owned into their tiny home on wheels, van life became the next step of their journey.

Since moving into their motorhome in 2018 (a Bessacar E560 named Barnaby) they have experienced many more magical moments, built their online business on the road & have even planned a wedding & said "I do" along the way.

Featured in publications such as Wanderlust Magazine & Housesitting Magazine & speaking at events such as Destinations ShowsBorderless Live & The Caravan & Motorhome Show about living a location-independent lifestyle - they are passionate about helping & inspiring others to explore, to connect with nature &, to live alternatively.

New to the wilder route?

start here

   follow the wilder route

 

 

any questions or comments? drop them below...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

as seen

as seen

The Wilder Route seen at Destinations - The Holiday & Travel Show in association with The Sunday Times
The Wilder Route seen at The Caravan & Motorhome Show, Event City, Manchester
The Wilder Route seen at Borderless Live
The Wilder Route seen in Wanderlust Magazine

as seen

The Wilder Route seen at Destinations - The Holiday & Travel Show in association with The Sunday Times
The Wilder Route seen in Wanderlust Magazine
The Wilder Route seen at The Caravan & Motorhome Show, Event City, Manchester
The Wilder Route seen at Borderless Live
How We Operate

The Wilder Route was born from our love of adventure & continues to be driven by our desire to help & inspire others to explore, connect with nature &, live alternatively.

When browsing through this site you may come across links to products or services that we recommend (known as affiliates link) – if you click from this site through an affiliate link & proceed to purchase the product or service that we recommend we may make a small commission (at no extra cost to you).

You will also come across advertisements on this site provided via third-party providers. Whilst we endeavor to keep advertisements & their placement in positions that will not hinder your experience on our site, we appreciate that advertisement for some can cause minor annoyance.

Please be aware serving advertisements to you & including affiliate links throughout this site provides us with an income that allows us to continue to bring you van life, travel, adventure & nature-filled content.

Everything you read on www.thewilderroute.com comes from our own experience. We only work with & recommend brands that we are passionate about & services that we have tried & love.

If you have any questions at any time about what we recommend, please email us at [email protected] as we'll be happy to help.

With love & peace,

Kelly & Adam x

Website Content

Unless credit has otherwise been given all materials & views contained within this website are our own – including all video, audio, photography & written content which remain the copyright of The Wilder Route - Copyright © 2016 –  2021 The Wilder Route. All Rights Reserved.

All copying , of any kind, is strictly prohibited.

Should you wish to use or enquire about using any of our content including photographs please contact us at [email protected]

Privacy & Cookies

At The Wilder Route we are committed to protecting & respecting your privacy. Please read through our privacy & cookie policy carefully to understand our views & practices regarding your personal data & how we will treat it.

As a blog & interactive van life, travel, adventure & nature site we love to connect with you & by visiting this website, you are accepting & consenting to the practices described in this policy.

This Data Protection & Privacy Policy refers to www.thewilderroute.com which is part of our registered business The Green Club Ltd (Company number: 11483353) registered at 27 Old Gloucester Street, London, WC1N 3AX, UK.

The Wilder Route

a life amidst nature

The Wilder Route

a life amidst nature

website design by The Green Thread

Copyright © 2016 –  2021 The Wilder Route. All Rights Reserved.

It is strictly prohibited to use any of the content on this website, including photographs, without our permission. Should you wish to use or enquire about using anything on www.thewilderroute.com please contact us at [email protected]

Copy link