Where is this walk?

Helvellyn via Striding Edge

October 14, 2021

Helvellyn via Striding Edge is one of the must do walks in England. It is popular but not at all easy. Some find the crossing stressful and daunting, most enjoy it and all have a feeling of great satisfaction when they complete it. A return via Raise avoids the awkward descent of Swirral Edge.

The Walk

Helvellyn ‘by the Edges’ is probably the most recognized high mountain walk in the Lake District. Approaching Helvellyn via Striding Edge would be a classic in any country. For the Helvellyn virgin the crossing of Striding Edge will live long in the memory. The ridge is easier in dry conditions and less daunting when not in cloud but that does not mean avoid it then. Only when snow and ice are on the ridge do I avoid it. Near the summit of Helvellyn there is a plaque dedicated to a dog (Foxie) who stayed with its deceased owner for three months in 1805 which always brings a sigh as I pass.

Erosion is a massive challenge on Helvellyn. The steep climb between Striding Edge and the main mountain is a mess, the down climb of Swirral Edge awkward in places. The excellent ‘Fix the Fells’ team do what they can but it is an awkward place to work on.  

On reaching the summit I am always struck by the many directions from where people emerge. It is rarely a lonely place. I sympathise with those who have toiled up the relentless slopes from Thirlmere and for those wishing to avoid Striding Edge suggest a climb of Raise and descent from Grisedale Tarn, an excellent walk. The full Helvellyn ridge from Fairfield to Clough Head is also a great but long ridge route without danger, worth considering for the fit.


As a general rule on Striding Edge stick to the crest. In places it is exhilaratingly exposed, in other places it demands decent scrambling skills. This is particularly so on the down climb at the end of the ridge which is classed as a Grade 1 Scramble. There some paths below the ridge on both sides but they are still exposed and not straightforward. It is difficult even then to avoid the final down scramble.

Navigation Tips on Striding Edge walk

There are two key points on the walk where you need to be careful. The Hole in the Wall and the summit, both require a compass in cloudy conditions.

  • Richard Green says:

    Fri 27 May forecast wasn’t great so we decided to delay until Saturday 28th for our first go at striding edge. We weren’t disappointed. It is indeed a magnificent walk, my wife and I (in our 60’s) thoroughly enjoyed it. We’ve lived in Ireland for 40 years & this was our first time in the lake district since our honeymoon in 1977. The top was slightly spoiled by someone with a drone buzzing around, I resisted throwing a stone at it. I’d probably have missed anyway. It didn’t last long but the beautiful memories of the walk will last a long while.

  • Mountain Mike Wilson says:

    Hi today Im heading for Raise above the Greenside Mine area,its a great day very warm and clear in the sky,Wainwright reckons two and a half hours to the top.This is a trek to check the route so no rush here plenty of pictures to be taken and any alternative routes to look for if possible.I head for the old mine buildings which are now The YHA and others Im heading up towards the old mine workings and as I approach the base of the ols flue I bear left and head up the path which is part of the flue.This is a good bit easier and Im passing Stang and can now see the old chimney where the flue stops from here Im travelling to the top in between rock crops and the ski slope soon Im on the top and what a view,Thirlmere is off to the side water levels lower than the last time I was up here after a bit of lunch lm off down to Sticks Pass where I meet a supervisor for The Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme who is watch his teams pass by I move on and shortly pass a large group who are trying for their awards.Soon Im down in the mine old pits which gives a great view of the ski slope and huts three mountain bikers pass me they must be crazy the track from Sticks Pass is trcky even on foot.I cross the new footbridge and make down to the mine and back into the walley this is a great walk interesting not to hard I made the top in less than two hours and back from the top in a hour and a half one more Wainwright bagged and a great day on the fells MM

  • Mountain Mike Wilson says:

    Todays target is Raise weather is superb conditions very warm, I speak to a couple of gents from Buckinghamshire lots of people around. Helvellyn its a hard trek from Greensdes up the hill.At th top of the disused quarry past Lucys Tongue I bear left which leads me to Raise which is a fine looking mountain but no scramble just a steep walk.I have a bit of lunch and a chat with a guy from Peterlee Co DURHAM and return the way I came.As I approach the steep return I meet up with a lady on a horse,I had noticed from a distance that the horse was stopping every 10 metres and had to be kicked on(horse riding term not a cruel kick).I thought it was to warm for a horse to be up at nearly 2,000 ft in weather as hot as 24 degrees,I act pleasant and move off,noticing that they turn around in 300 metres as the horse keeps stopping.As I drop down to Greensides again I had noticed that the old dam in this valley below Catsy Cam had been repaired,a great day on the fells and another Wainwright in the bag 61 done lol MM.

  • Mountain Mike from Stockton On Tees says:

    Weather conditions fine,dry under foot Gav and I set off from Glennridding at 11.30 hrs,and went up the track from the café,eventually passing the dried up lake and heading up the track towards The Hole in the Wall.
    Weather is still fine we have a break on the other side of The Wall and the set off for some great scrambling,plenty of people around and its a bit crowded,on reacing the bottom of the Helvellyn Summit we are queing to get up the steep scramble,once at the top again loads of people sat chilling and its a bit cool on there,after a break we head down Swirrel Edge,another good scramble ensues,eventually back into the valley below next stop Glennridding ,surprisingly along the track people are asking me the way back to town,as we get back to town its 17hrs and coffee time at the café yippee what a great day on the mountains.
    Tomorrow we are taking on High Crag High Stile and Red Pike.

  • Claire says:

    Great – if only i could get into that zipped GPX file!

  • Morgan Tharme says:

    Amazing, thanks for the info mate! 🙂

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