Hellvellyn :A walk on the West Side


From Wythburn to Helvellyn, Thirlmere and back

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Wythburn Church

It’s the first time I have attempted Helvellyn from the west side of the mountain. Starting at the Wythburn car park, just behind the very picturesque church, close to the southern end of Thirlmere Reservoir it self, the route climbs straight up the fell side towards Nethermost Pike and then on to the summit. Some 2550 ft of climb in just over 2 miles.


The Path from the car park, bloody car park charges, don’t get me started, climbs steeply through the forest and is all the same quite a pleasant walk. Braking out onto the hillside the views down to the reservoir a spectacular. The clouds are rolling in now and again but from this side the view is good all the way up to Keswick. It’s steep and warm work despite the light but cold wind but once the shoulder just below Nethermost Pike is reached the path eases and I can start running again.

There’s no one about and its quiet apart from the birdsong, skylarks. The views open up through the mist which is by now obscuring part of the view to the summit, and Striding Edge is obvious. A lone walker appears out of the mist just as we reach the shelter.


A brief stop for more photos and then we’re off, following what will be the route on the Lakeland 3000 walk. But then I see the time, progress has been good and I realise if I go down now I’ll be back to the car before 11:00. I decide to extend the route over White Side and Raise, two tops I have never visited.

Raise Cairn

This is good the route is great and apart from a drop down from White Side it taken at a run. Passing only a couple of walkers and one mad person with a bicycle, he’s pushing it up hill.

The route then takes a fairly unremitting descent to Thirlmere Village. It’s hard on the knees and thigh muscles. At the bottom the path then hugs the side of the hill parallel to the road and an aqueduct for 4~5 miles. Some of it is rough going and very tiring especially as I’m now cold and it’s started to rain heavily. This is not a good option for the big one. I practice fell falling just as I get to The Swirls car park and in sight of joe public. The path from here is a wide forest track and is much easier going, except for the final hill in the last mile or two, arriving back at the car just under 4 hours after I left, 10.5 miles, 3000ft of climb.

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