Life of a Mountain, A Year on Helvellyn, BBC4 9pm UTC 26/01/2021


Just turned over for it. :slight_smile:

What are the odds this will end up on BritBox?? would so love to watch this

A thoroughly enjoyable program about a part of the Lakes that I am very familiar with. No SOTA featured, though, so room for expansion! :wink:

more episodes in the next week or so.
Scafell Pike and Blencathra

It is repeated today on BBC4, at 23:30 (Brexit time :wink: )
and again Thursday night at 02:00, technically that would be Friday morning.

I saw just a part of it (on the ASTRA-2 satellite).

Helvellyn has been activated 293 times! It must be possible for mere mortals. I hope to return to /LD to get up there.

In the TV program, there was a section showing somebody being led by a mountain guide that involved a bit of scrambling. Is the trail there well marked (such as with red dots painted on the rocks)? Which route on SOTLAS is this scrambling on?
tnx, 73

The scrambling was the descent of the final pinnacle of Striding Edge. This is the only difficulty of the route that cannot be avoided, and it isn’t all that hard, either! If you look at the aerial views of the Edge it becomes clear that you can do almost all the Edge on a decent footpath without ever having to put hand on rock until that final bit. On the other hand, sticking religiously to the very crest is an exhilarating experience, though inferior to either the Aonach Eagach or Crib Goch as a scramble. There is no waymarking, nor is any needed, there is a wide footpath from the Grisedale valley to the “Hole in the Wall” after which the route along the Edge begins - you can’t get lost, if in doubt follow the crowds! After the scramble shown on the film it is a simple but steep ascent to the summit plateau of G/LD-003.

If done for the experience (rather than the activation!) it is traditional to descend Swirral Edge (easy except for an initial descent of a sometimes greasy gully) and then either cross the valley to the Hole in the Wall or continue to the shapely summit of Catstye Cam - after which I would descend into Brown Cove and go down Glenridding past the derelect mine shown in the program. All in all, a wonderful day on the hill!

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The routes up Dunmail Raise via Dollywaggon Pike, or up the Wythburn Path, are simple walks with no scrambling.

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“It must be possible for mere mortals. I hope to return to /LD to get up there.”

I’ll join you Paul…we’ll take the easy route :grin:. It’ll be nice to have another joint activation with you when we are allowed.

Enjoyed the ‘mountain’ last night.

73 and stay safe


Indeed so. There are also easy tracks from Stybeck Farm, Thirlspot (with pub and campsite if it is still there) and the car park at Highpark Wood, all from the A591 beside Thirlmere reservoir. The route from Stybeck takes you over the subsidiary summits of Raise and Whiteside Bank. All are better than the tourist route over Birk Side unless its eroded horror has been improved since I was last weak enough to be persuaded to go that way! Striding Edge (with all its bypasses around the crags for the faint-hearted) is in my opinion the best route from the Patterdale side, or up past the mine from Glenridding. Both villages have decent pubs - if they survive the COVID closures!

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Of all the higher summits in LD land Helvellyn is by far the easiest and quickest to ascend. If you approach from Thirlmere you’re faced with about an half-and-a-half of staircase, and then it starts to level out. It seems to go quite quickly, never sure why, maybe because there is no messing at the start, you are straight into the ascent.

Regards, Mark.

Dave G3TQQ and I went up from Highpark Wood car park by Thirlmere reservoir last year. It was a very pleasant walk and we easily qualified the summit with a 2m handheld radio. Also worth noting that there are toilets in the car park and if you are lucky an ice cream van in the car park on the opposite side of the road!

Nick G4OOE

Dave G3TQQ walking up the path from Thirlmere

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The top and the route are quite busy. Think combining an activation and a swim in Red Tarn is probably fairly unusual…

Thanks for posting this Mark. It’s a lovely gentle program that is easy to watch. Sadly I’ve tried 3 times and still not seen it. I managed to fall asleep twice and today when watching the bits I missed I got a phone call. Just as well it’s on iplayer.

Anyway, watching I suddenly realised one of things I have completely missed outon since the lockdowns started last March. Lambs on the hills. I didn’t realise how much I enjoy watching grow then from just born in the plastic macs they now wear, as they get bigger until suddenly there’s no lambs on the hills again. I suppose that’s the downside to being a lamb. They’re lovely to watch growing but they just taste too good when cooked.


Salt Marsh Lamb is amazing, so I don’t look at the lambs here the same way.

Icelandic lamb comes reay ‘herbed’! Yum yum
Viki M6BWA

Its the turn of Scafell Pike tonight at 21.00.

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Thanks for the reminder!

Watched it on BBC4 iPlayer, not sure how I missed that one first time round as I thought it had been shown previously.

It was my first trip to the Wasdale Valley via the road from the West last summer and I was in awe as the first sight of Wast Water comes into view and the mountains around comes into view.

Joss Naylor - what a legend!


That is a view that one can never get tired of, no matter how many calendars it appears on! These programs to me are a reminder that the colours in the Lake District can sometimes be so intense that they take on a hallucinatory effect! I also enjoyed glimpses of my second favourite LD route (after Striding Edge) which is up Brown Tongue to Mickledore, over the Pike, down the Corridor Route to Stye Head and then down that broad track to the lovely pub in Wasdale Head! A perfect day out…

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