Snow on Helvellyn

A cloudier day than recently as we set out from Glenridding to walk up to Red Tarn, taking the path up to Miresbeck and then the contouring track across the valley from the old Greenside lead mine.


Helvellyn (c) John Bainbridge 2016


Then up to the Red Tarn Beck. As with previous walks in this area, the valley track was clear even if the summits were covered in very picturesque snow. We were perhaps half way up the beck before we hit the snowline.

A pair of walkers in front of us at this point put on their skis.


Helvellyn and Swirral Edge (c) John Bainbridge 2016


The snow was so beautiful and clean and fluffy, just like snow ought to be, the beck was covered in icicles.

The clouds were lying just a couple of hundred feet and it looked as though we might see very little of Red Tarn.


A Frozen Red Tarn(c) John Bainbridge 2016


Sure enough, when we reached the tarn it was covered it was clear, though frozen over, but we could see nothing of Striding and Swirral Edges, and not very much of Helvellyn.

A very white world.

But then, as we watched, the cloud began to rise. It was all rather theatrical, as though spotlights were very slowly illumining some vast stage set.


Helvellyn (c) John Bainbridge 2016


First Striding Edge came into view, and then Swirral Edge. Then, very very slowly, the great cliff and then the summit of Helvellyn, against a broad patch of blue sky – the only colour in a landscape of black and white, like a sketch by Wainwright.

The cliffs of Helvellyn looking like a miniature Eiger Nordwand.


Swirral Edge (c) John Bainbridge 2016


Quite magnificent, and we had the place to ourselves for quite a while until a rambling party arrived.

A memorable day in a wonderful landscape.


3 thoughts on “Snow on Helvellyn

  1. I’ve just come back from the Lakes but we couldn’t do much as we’re both down with this chest-infection lurgy which is going around. We at least managed 3 Wainwrights for Richard above Loweswater on the warmest day 🙂


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