An English Munro: Helvellyn via Catstycam
Wednesday 14th July 2007
English Munro had been the request from daughter Emma
and her partner, Scott. Bryan was the only other Bootboy
available on the day and, after consultation, we decided
on Helvellyn via Catstycam and Swirral Edge. The day’s
weather started in this summer’s typical drizzle easing
to gloom but we had confidence that it would clear in
parked at Glenridding and began the long approach up
the glen to the burst dam. Bryan teased us that
we would have to cross by the dam- narrow and certain
death on both sides- but fortunately it was fenced off
and the beck was a far easier option.
were tackling Catsycam by the northwest ridge. Fortunately
I had read Wainwright’s description of this and knew
it to be a safe, albeit steep path up an impossible
looking ridge end. We were further comforted by
Bryan reassuring us that firstly thanks to the mist
you wouldn’t see the drops and secondly that if you
thought Steel Fell was bad, wait until you’ve tried
was long and steep with some interesting scrambly bits
on the way. But although my legs ached (unusual
for me) and I found it tough going, needing frequent
pauses for breath (quite usual for me), it didn’t seem
as soul destroying as Steel Fell.
is the fashion when Tony is not with us, we had a T
break at noon, a little below the summit and then set
off into the gloom of the top and onward to Swirral
had chosen this route to avoid the exposure of Striding
Edge. I remembered it as being the “softer option”
from the last time I was on it- circa 1960. And
it was mostly OK with some fun scrambling and just the
odd bit of a drop to avoid!
picture at Helvellyn summit
& Scott in the mist. What mist?
top of Helvellyn was in quite thick cloud, as the team
picture would suggest. After this was taken we
made our way to the excellent X shaped shelter for lunch.
I took a photo of Emma and Scott in which you
can see how poor was the visibility. Except the
camera lens had misted over! Click on their photo
to see what it was really like!
had provided a good helping of apple cake for us all,
which went down a treat.
remarked that I was not going as well as
I was last year to which, with typical straight
speaking Bryan replied “No. You’re
not. Last year you would have been
romping past people”. Or words to
once we had passed over Lower Man and, with
the mist lifting, we were heading over to
White Side, when a party of school children
threatened to overtake us, Bryan’s words
were rattling round my brain (or lack of
determined that their two out-riders should not be allowed
to reach that summit unchallenged, even though they
were running. I reckoned that as it got steeper
they would run out of steam or determination. The apple
cake kicked in and a respectable surge to secure the
top ensued. It was just as well no one told them
it was a race as I only just managed to hold them off!
lifting on Catstycam and Swirral Edge
White Side and Raise, we had a really good view of the
nose of Catstycam and had I seen that before we set
off I doubt very much if I would have agreed to going
that way. As Wainwright had said, it looked impossible.
descended by Sticks Pass, with all its spoil heaps strangely
lacking any vegetation despite having been there for
decades. By now the weather had completely changed
and summer was here at last. There were superb
views down Glenridding to Ullswater and the High Street
range as well as back to Catstycam.
well down I announced that there was another
helping of apple cake available as soon
as we found a suitable spot. Emma
sat down immediately!
was then an easy, if longish, stroll back
along the track and road to the car park,
where there is a lovely little reminder
of the use to which the valleys once had
11th July 2007
Distance: 10.1 Miles
(Anquet / Harveys),
climbed: 3,701 feet (Anquet / Harveys)
Catstycam, Helvellyn, White Side, Raise
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This page describes a 2007 adventure of BOOTboys, a loose group of friends of mature
years who enjoy defying the aging process by getting out into the hills as
often as possible!
As most live in South Lakeland, it is no surprise that
our focus is on the Lakeland fells and the Yorkshire Dales.
As for the name, BOOTboys, it does not primarily derive from an
item of footwear but is in memory of Big
Josie, the erstwhile landlady of
the erstwhile Burnmoor Inn at Boot in Eskdale, who enlivened Saint Patrick's Day
1973 and other odd evenings many years ago!
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