Helvellyn and Striding Edge is one of the must do walks in the Lake District but a return by the more rounded Raise adds much to the day and is a relaxed way to descend.
There are some excellent choices of walks up Helvellyn, the most popular mountain in the Lake District. However none should discount the scrambling options of Striding Edge. Keep to the crest and it is challenging, take to the path on the south side and it is more straightforward. Despite this there are some interesting sections particularly on the summit climb to the summit. There are other options to the summit but if you are prepared to climb the 3,000 feet you should be capable of negotiating Striding Edge. The only exception to this is when the ridge has snow or ice on it.
However a descent down Striding Edge is miserable. Swirral Edge is not much better. There is a choice to make the climb of Helvellyn much more enjoyable. Either head off south to Grisedale Tarn and return along Grisedale Beck. Alternatively take the best option which starts with a pleasant walk north along the ridge to the round summit of Raise. The views are superb, the walking easy and in addition there are some Wainwrights that can be easily ticked off. Descend by the excellent bridleway to Greenside Mine, a profitable lead mine of the 19th century which still has much of interest to look around.
It may sound obvious but it is easier and more enjoyable to climb Helvellyn and Striding Edge when the rock is dry. However do not be scared off in the wet, the lower path is reasonably safe if taken with care.
In the mist be careful at two points on the descent. The first is on the summit of Helvellyn Little Man. The path splits at NY 337154, make sure you take the right fork. Similarly on White Side take the right hand fork at NY 337166. From there the bridleway heads off down between White Side and Raise. Raise is worth though the short detour.
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