Walking in the hills in the evening when everyone has gone home is just the best. Gorgeous weather and needed to be taken advantage of. Helvellyn was the plan and a quick message to Gary and Stu and they were coming to join us meeting at the Church in Wythburn on the shores of Thirlmere.
Thirlmere was looking low after the recent spell of good weather and seems ironic after the recent floods in December. Helvellyn was the first mountain I climbed in the Lake District up this route. That was back in 1996, before I even knew who Wainwright was. I do love Helvellyn as there are so many different ways up this 3rd highest mountain, I think over the years I have probably done most of them.
It was so warm, so was short sleeves but didn’t brave shorts. It had been so long since I had seen Gary so it was lovely to catch up and get walking with him again. It was another steep start and my calves were burning, feeling the weekends walk up Coledale. The path zig zags its way up and as my body warmed up, it didn’t feel as bad. Wonderful views down to Thirlmere keeping us company. This is probably one of the easier and quickest ascents up as it’s shorter but by that it does make it steep.
On mountains, the weather can change so quickly, luckily we are always prepared for this with extra kit even on a summer’s day. The wind were gusting to almost 40-50 mph and was quite scary at times, especially when is literally blew me off my feet. Dave acted as my anchor as we descended and hoped the wind decreased as we did. We descended over Lower Man and Browncove Crags, a well marked if not tricky descent at times. Gorgeous views ahead as the sun started to set. The Northern fells were literally on fire, we later found out, some kids had thrown a used disposable BBQ onto the heather and accidently set fire to it. With it being so dry the fire have spread quickly.
The floods have definitely left their mark on the landscape. All along the walk, the new scars which have appeared along with fallen rocks. As we got down to Swirl Hows the path was diverted as repairs were still on going. The path then took us along a forest road. This seem to go on forever and it was starting to get dark. Maybe a slightly ambitious walk after work. We decided that half way along we would take a different path down. In hindsight should’ve stayed on the forest road, as we ended up trekking through overgrowth and having a jump off a high wall to end up on the A591. Having little legs is not useful in this situation. Stu was guiding me and saying get your bum as close to the edge before launching yourself. The road back to the car park seem to go on forever, we thought it was about 2 miles.
At last the car park was in sight. We thought the walk was about 8.5 miles, slightly further than anticipated but nice to be out on such a lovely evening. Brownies scoffed before saying our goodbyes. I’m not sure if Gary missed me or my brownies more! Wainwright number 13 for me on round two, not that I am doing round two or am I?