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Helvellyn & High Street

AirienteerAirienteer Posts: 695
edited May 2009 in Routes
I'm off up to the Lakes next weekend, looking to do High Street one day and Helvellyn the next. Firstly, which way should I tackle Helvellyn as I sometimes hear conflicting stories. I'm a decent biker and am experienced in the mountains so don't mind big tricky descents. Secondly, should I ascend High Street from Troutbeck meaning a longer but hopefully more gradual climb or go from Hartsop and get it out the way. Any advice from people with experience in this area would be great. Thanks.


  • realnumber 1realnumber 1 Posts: 675
    I came down towards Grizedale Tarn (followed the MBR route) when I did Helvellyn and it wasn't easy. Either fell off or had to get off for some of the drainage bits. If you went the other way round it would be faster going down but maybe a bit boring.
    The 5 foot visibility didn't help much either. It was hard to work out which path to take at the top and certainly didn't want to end up on Striding edge lol.

    It was an epic ride imo and would love to do it in better weather but I'm not sure my mates would agree :cry:
  • MBR did hellvellyn.. theres a pretty good route in there, seems that they walked/carried just as much as they rode!!

    Planning on doing it sometime this summer :)
  • topsey_turveytopsey_turvey Posts: 420
    I'm planning High Street from Hartsop next w/e. I'll give you a wave if we meet.
    Frank Yates
  • dodgydodgy Posts: 2,890
    I last rode up Helvellyn in 1991, so my memory might not be too accurate :wink: But I parked at Aira Force waterfall car park and rode up to Dockray on the road and turned left at Dockray across Matterdale Common, over various rises. Sod this (fires up Memory Map).

    The route is:
    • Park at Aira Force waterfalls.
    • Ride up a5091 to Dockray
    • Take a left and follow Bridleway across Matterdale Common to Great Dodd (I remember this was quite boggy in places)
    • Turn South at Great Dodd and follow bridleway over several climbs (Watson's Dodd, Stybarrow Dodd, Stick's Pass, Raise
    • Descend from Raise and depending on your plans, you can descent to the East here into Glenridding, it's a great descent, plenty of very tight switchbacks but ridable (I did it on a fully rigid bike in 1991, so easy on today's kit!
    • Another option is to carry on riding generally South from Raise and continue to Dollywagon Pike, there is a good bridleway from there to the North East that brings you out at Patterdale.

    After reading / writing that I fancy doing it again! If anyone's got a better route to avoid some of the marshy stuff on Matterdale Common I'd like to see it, as it was the only bit of the ride I didn't enjoy.
  • topsey_turveytopsey_turvey Posts: 420
    Does that route go over Helvellyn? If you come down from Raise you've missed the summit, by some distance.

    The best route up Helvellyn starts on the other side of the lake. Park opposite the church in Martindale, at the top of the zig zags. Ride the Ulllswater singletrack early, before the grockles come out. Go to Glenridding and up the mines road to Keppel Cove. Up the zig zags to Raise then along the ridge to Dollywaggon. Down to Grizedale Tarn, then Patterdale. Return to Martindale over Boredale Hause from Hartsop or Deepdale taking either the direct route through Boredale or going over Beda Fell into Bannerdale.

    Dry all the way.
    Frank Yates
  • dodgydodgy Posts: 2,890
    Cheers TT, and I'm aware that the route I describe doesn't get you onto Helvellyn, but it definitely gives you a flavour of the range that Helvellyn sits on.

    Thanks for that extra route info, I'll check it out on Memory Map.
  • AirienteerAirienteer Posts: 695
    Thanks for the advise guys. Think I've got my routes finalised. Should be a good weekend!
  • dodgydodgy Posts: 2,890
    I've drawn it up here, looks like a good ride -
  • topsey_turveytopsey_turvey Posts: 420
    I wouldn't go that way up to Boredale Hause.
    over Boredale Hause from Hartsop or Deepdale
    is better.
    Frank Yates
  • dodgydodgy Posts: 2,890
    Cheers, I'll let someone else have a stab at creating that then :)
  • dave_hilldave_hill Posts: 3,877
    Airienteer wrote:
    Firstly, which way should I tackle Helvellyn as I sometimes hear conflicting stories.

    I did Helvellyn years ago, but from a different perspective. I started in Keswick and rode south down the Western shore of Thirlmere, and then out onto the A592 at Steel End. Go straight across the main road and onto a Forest track which heads south then doubles back North.

    Behind the chapel at Wythburn, a bridleway cross the forest track - turn right onto this and it leads you straight up onto Nethermost Pike via Comb Crags. This is a pretty tough scramble but once you're on Nethermost Pike it's a granny-gear trundle to the Summit of Helvellyn.

    You can then follow the summit ridge North to White Side. Bear right (North East) here over Raise and head for Sticks Pass. Keep heading North to Great Dodd. You can then either take the left or right bridleways (both skirt round the Western side of the summit of Great Dodd) and make your way North East to the Old Coach Road which runs roughly East-West between Dacre and St John's in the Vale. Join this and head West. Once you hit the B5322 you can then wiggle your way back to Keswick through the lanes. I usually visit Castlerigg Stone Circle on the way back - it helps if you thank the spirits so that they'll look after you next time. :wink:
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