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About Summiteer

~Catstycam & Helvellyn~

27th October 2018

Molly Helvellyn

Molly ~ Helvellyn


Saturday 27th October and an early start sees Molly n' me head for the Lakeland Fells for the first time for quite a while. It's forecast to be very windy on the tops with cool air direct from the Arctic, but enough weekend trips have been put off for one reason or another and it's time to take on the elements. I parked in Patterdale and the walk started at 0815hrs. I find it rather difficult to park in Glenridding for a reasonable fee, so the lay-by near the White Lion was a good choice and an ideal place to end the walk.

Glenridding Beck

All Change

I don't think I've ever taken a photograph from this position previously, but Storm Desmond (Dec.2015) had a dramatic effect on the landscape around here and what no more and the repaired river bank is now devoid of trees and bushes. Gillside campsite is to the left of this view.

Greenside Mines

We are aiming for the steep ascent of Catstycam; rather than follow the miners track, there is a pleasant walk on the hillside above the wall on the southern side of the beck.

To Catstycam

To Catstycam

The beck is crossed and a miners track leads up the valley to Keppel Cove.


The steep north-western ridge of Catstycam is highlighted here and it's not for the feinthearted. 1,100ft of ascent at roughly 45 degrees.

Keppel Cove Dam

Keppel Cove Dam

The broken dam has now attracted more-determined "Keep Off" signs than I saw last time. Ah Well, Molly, we'd better do as we are told and find another way across to the other side.....

Sheffield Pike

Sheffield Pike

The conditions on the climb were extremely testing with gale force northerlies making progress difficult. Hat and gloves remained on throughout.

Molly Catstycam

Molly on top of Catstycam 2,917ft asl


Ullswater from Catstycam

If you reach the summit of Catstycam and stand proud, you are clearly visible from Helvelly and Striding Edge and those on the edge might just look enviably at your splendid isolation as they wait their turn in the queue for progress along the popular route.

Swirral Edge

Swirral Edge

I took a refreshment break in the sunshine and out of the wind on this side of the first peak on the ridge.



Molly on top of Helvellyn

Molly on top of Helvellyn 3,118ft asl

The highest point is just a little further along, but this feels like the top...but it isn't - make sure you don't fail to climb Helvellyn by missing the rocky raise just a few yards away from here.

Cyclists on Helvellyn

Cyclists on Helvellyn

Taken from the summit rocks, I'd rather not see cyclists up here, but rather a few two-wheeled enthusiasts than any drones, giddy parties of fellbaggers (more than 10 together defeats the main reason for being up here) or scatterings of litter.

Hard Tarn

Nethermost Pike

Can you see the little tarn? It's not hard is it? Actualy it is! Hard Tarn is home to newts and other small things. Visit, relax, contemplate stuff, take selfies. The climb Nethermost Pike from the tarn is epic, almost as epic as climbing Catstycam from Keppel Cove.

Dollywaggon Pike

Molly on top of Dollywagon Pike

The walk along the felltops from Helvellyn to Dollywagon Pike is great, and not anywhere near as windy as it had been.

Grisedale Tarn

Grisedale Tarn



It's just over three miles of generally downhill walking back to Patterdale, splendid! I briefly considered going up and over St.Sunday Crag, but didn't.



Down the field and back along the road to Patterdale village.

White Lion Pub

The White Lion

I had intended to have tea here, but the timings were out and indeed the pub was rather busy. So, I opened the back of the car, put my things down, made a brew, fed the dog and relaxed for a few minutes before driving home. It's a pity I left camera on the wall on the side of the lay-by. However, all was not lost and a lady from the pub went out and retrieved it when I rang for help. So one week later (Nov 3rd) I went back and we climbed Birkhouse Moor in the pouring rain before having lunch at the pub and collecting the camera.

Walkers: Molly and Me.

Time taken: 6hrs over a distance of about 12 miles.

Route: Patterdale, Glenridding, Glenridding Beck, Keppel Cove, Catstycam, Swirral Edge, Helvellyn, Nethermost Pike, Dollywagon Pike, Grisedale Tarn, Grisedale and back to Patterdale.

Weather and conditions: Mighty cold and very windy on the way up, less windy on the tops.

All photos copyright Richard Ratcliffe 2018 ©

Take me back to the start ....

Take me home....