Hike around Helvellyn Mountain

A Patterdale walk posted on 16/04/15 by bernardino. Update : 14/05/18

An inevitable hike, to the most popular peak of the Lake District, Helwellyn. A hike made all the more pleasant by passing along two lakes: Red Tarn Lake and Grisedale Ran Lake.

Technical sheet
Calculated time Calculated time: 6h40[?]
Distance Distance : 9.85mi
Vertical gain Vertical gain : 2943ft
Vertical drop Vertical drop : 2923ft
Highest point Highest point : 3068ft
Lowest point Lowest point : 515ft
Difficult Difficulty : Difficult
Back to starting point Back to starting point : Yes
Walking Walking
Area Area : Lake District
Location Location : Patterdale
Starting point Starting point : N 54.544667° / W 2.950268°


Park your car in the car park by Greenside Road in Glenridding (D).

Go west along Greenside Road. Shortly after Travellers Rest staion, you reach a junction :1(. Leave Greenside Road taking a left onto a road heading south-west whick quickly turns into a hiking trail. Continue along the trail facing the road, you'll come across several paths, keep to the one along the left bank of the stream. Cross the stream at)2:: to continue heading south-west on the right bank.

At the junction (3), take a left heading west to bypass Birkhouse Moor summit (718 m) from the south. Then, heading south-west, you'll reach the Coast to coast junction (4).

Now starts a long journey heading south-west. Maintaining this direction, start a long calm climb, passing by Low Spying How, then High Spying How (5) overlooking Red Tarn. Walk away from the lake before heading uphill through Stridind Edge Helvellyn (949 m) (6).

Change direction completely and head south, remaining on the Coast to Coast trail. Walk along Swallow Scarth, then Nethermost Pike before reaching High Crag (7). Keep heading south, passing nearby Dollywagon Pike (858 m) (8). Then start your descent down stone slabs to reach Grisdale Tarn's north bank (9).

New change of direction. Now due north, still on the Coast to Coast trail. You'll reach a pasture at Ruthwaite Lodge (10). Approximately 200 m after (11), take a left on a path parallel to the Coast to Coast trail and, heading north-east, you'll come across several trails (12). Take the one that goes along Lanty's Tarn Lake heading north before going downhill towards Glenridding and reaching the car park.

Waypoints :
D/A : mi 0 - alt. mi 0
1 : mi 0.34 - alt. mi 0.34 - Greenside Road junction
2 : mi 0.81 - alt. mi 0.81 - Cross the stream
3 : mi 1.46 - alt. mi 1.46 - Birkhouse Moor junction
4 : mi 2.2 - alt. mi 2.2 - Coast to Coast trail
5 : mi 2.97 - alt. mi 2.97 - High Spying How
6 : mi 3.42 - alt. mi 3.42 - Helvellyn
7 : mi 4.42 - alt. mi 4.42 - High Crag
8 : mi 4.85 - alt. mi 4.85 - Near Dollywagon Pike
9 : mi 5.62 - alt. mi 5.62 - Grisedale Tarn
10 : mi 6.54 - alt. mi 6.54 - Ruthwaite Lodge
11 : mi 6.72 - alt. mi 6.72 - Coast to Coast junction
12 : mi 8.84 - alt. mi 8.84 - Coast to Coast junction
D/A : mi 9.85 - alt. mi 9.85

Useful Information

No water except for the torrents which would need to be purified.
At the top of Helvellyn a stone hut provides shelter from the wind and gives you a well deserved break.
The Ruthwaite Lodge is closed.
Hiking gear for experienced hikers as the climb by Striding Edge ridge is tricky, you'll need your hands for extra support.
Beware of the wind, always present and often violent.

Click here to see how to reach the starting point.

Hikideas and this author cannot be held responsible in the case of accidents or problems occuring on this walk.

Download sheet and map

During the walk or to do/see around

The Lake District National Park lakes.
Tourist towns in the area: Ambleside, Glenridding, Windermere, Coniston etc...

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