· Distance - 15 (22 kilometres)
· Start GR 380219 (OS map sheet 90)
· Finish - Summit of Helvellyn
· Technical grade of ride - IIII
· Effort grade - V
· Route finding - III
Grades are on a scale of one to five and are subjective, most routes with a grades of one or two are suitable for beginners.
This challenging route offers ridge top riding over the highest bridleway in England (3116 feet), taking you over several peaks to the summit of Helvellyn. Ideally you need to be met at the end of your ride although it can be made into a circuit or an out and back. Although 95% of this route can be ridden most people will want to push the steeper sections. On a clear day the views are second to none. Dry or frosty conditions are ideal.
The best starting point for this ride is at High Row. This gives you a starting altitude of over 1000 feet.
Follow the Bridleway from High Row along the first section of the Old Coach Road. Tackle the ford trying to avoid getting your feet wet and then turn immediately left (West) up a steep grassy track. This track gradually climbs up onto Matterdale Common, hard going in wet conditions. Randerside (2200 feet) is the first peak to be taken in by this route followed by the steep climb up Great Dodd (2807 feet). Now two more minor peaks are tackled are crossed before the drop to Sticks Pass (2452 feet and a possible escape route). From here you will notice the small ski tow on the North East slope of Raise. From the top of Raise (2889 feet) superb views of the Helvellyn ridges can be had on a clear day. There is a second escape route from here leading steeply down Red Screes and to the Youth Hostel at Glen Ridding. If you have the energy, carry on over Whiteside Bank (2832 feet) before the final steep push/carry up Lower Man and out onto the summit plateau. On a weekend day you will share the summit with many walkers, but you are sure to get many comments and be the source of interest to most of them.
To get back to the start the best way is to back-track the way you came, this gives you many superb descents, the first being the most technical and steepest. Alternatives are the escape routes down to Glenridding, which will leave you with a long road section.
WARNING In poor visibility care has to be taken of the cliffs which bound the Eastern flanks of Helvellyn. Care must be taken at all times of the year, proper clothing and survival gear are recommended. Knowledge of map reading skills and how to use a compass could be vital.