Helvellyn is one of the most popular peaks in the Lake Distict. Its famous "Striding Edge" is the attraction. The peak is at 3090ft and, on a good day, offers amazing vistas across Ullswater and the surrounding Lake District Peaks. There are only a few legal ride acorss the Lake District Peaks and this is one of them. Don't bank on seeing many mountain bikers here, although more venture up this peak than they did 10 years ago. The many walkers will make comments and generally question your sanity but don't let that put you off. This is a serious mountain.
The trail starts in Glenridding on the edge of the beautiful Ullswater a 7.5 mile lake nestle in the valley. Parking can be easily found there but will cost you at least £4.
1. From the car park in Glenridding (OS NY38690 16917) turn right onto the main road the A529 which skirts alongside the lake. Proceed for 0.5 miles until you see a road on the right over the Grisedale Beck (brook) OS NY 39045 16132 (490ft elevation). Turn right here.
2. Follow the metalled road up the hill. This turns into a double track (unmetalled) after 0.6 miles. Keep going for 2.8 miles and you will arrive at Ruthwaite Lodge Climbing Hut. The trail is steep and rocky and you will need to drag your bike up!
3. After a total of 3.6 miles you will see Grisedale Tarn on the left and the trail bear off to the right (OS NY 35175 12332 - 1790ft). Take this trail up. And it is steep. You will need to carry your bike.
4. Climb for 1 mile up onto Dollywaggon Pike (2684ft) following the trail for 1.4 miles and you will reach the summit of Helvellyn. There is a shelter (a series of walls only!) at the top and likely to be walkers here.
5. From the summit proceed to Raise (OS NY 34300 17447) keeping the steep edge on the right and making sure you do NOT take the three paths off to the left. These will funnel you into the wrong valley and a long climb back!
6. At Raise drop down for 0.5 miles on a great rocky twisting descent to the Sticks Pass junction (OS NY 34175 18192) at 2458ft.
7. Turn right here. The fun begins! Follow the trail down (1952 ft of descent!) to the disused mine. Just when you think it is over the trail gets very steep and eventually drops down to some buildings and to the road. This leads back to Glenridding and the car park.
Get on the M6 motorway and leave at junction 40 (Penrith). Head west on the A66 and take the left turn at the roundabout onto the A592. This runs for about 11 miles to Glenridding with the lake on the left.
Park in the car park.
When to Bike
This ride can be done at any time of the year. As with any high mountain ride you must take waterproofs, survival bag, food, water, map etc. These mountains may not seem high but they are lethal if the weather changes as it frequently does even in the summer. I rode this in October 2002 once when it was warm in the valley but on the tops it was brutal, with high winds and driving hail and snow. Be warned! Always tell someone where you are going. Solo rides are not recommended.