Now, plenty of people’s perfect weekend will go something like this: go out to a pub or a nightclub, get steaming drunk, and crawl in at the wee hours — but not this girl. I will be in bed by 10pm and up by 5am to see a few mountains. Here is a guide to what I think would make a perfect hiking weekend in the Lake District.
Day One : Helvellyn and Catstye Cam
To start off my adventure weekend I have chosen none other than the gigantic Helvellyn and Catstye Cam, using Glenridding car park as my starting point. This is definitely a full day of walking, so be sure to take lots of water (I have actually run out of water doing this hike on a hot summer’s day, so purification tablets are a must).
The start of Helvellyn is tough; it feels as if it’s a never-ending staircase, but I would say this is about the hardest part of the hike. After a long plod up I reached the top of the staircase and get my first proper view of the humongous Helvellyn. It is absolutely breathtaking and daunting all at once.
One thing I love about the ascent up Helvellyn is how much upper body you use as well as your legs. The day I decided to climb Helvellyn I was wearing acrylic nails, and I think I came back with one still left on.
After a steady scramble up, I reached the nerve-wracking Striding Edge. My pace slowed down completely and I watched every step I made until I reached the end where I was met with an actual rock climb. I can’t stress this enough: please take your time and step carefully when doing Striding Edge; it is very dangerous.
Now red-faced upon reaching the summit, I decided it would be a good time for a brew, a biscuit and, of course, a few pictures. The view at the top is so beautiful that words and pictures don’t do it enough justice.
I went down Squirrel Edge and got an amazing view of people crossing Striding edge from afar. The looked like ants passing through. It is only a small climb to the summit of Catstye Cam, but not many people seem to do it. When I got to the top barely anyone was there, though still as scenic and picturesque as Helvellyn – and with a fantastic view of Red Tarn.
After a long plod down, I was slightly sunburnt and ready for a rest. I found a little ice cream shop, and this place should win an award or something. Perhaps its was the hike talking, but I can honestly say it was the best ice cream I have ever had.
Day Two: Helm Crag, Gibson Knott & Calf Crag
Helm Crag, Gibson Knott & Calf Crag are some of the most scenic and pleasant mountains to hike. I would say most levels of fitness could do these easy-going mountains.
Using the car park in Grasmere as a starting point, the picturesque town and the moderately flat beginning are an easy welcome to the hike. After passing a few farms and houses the walk suddenly becomes a steep ascent. This is the steepest part of the walk so don’t be put off.
Upon the steep plod up, the iconic lion and lamb are suddenly in view. After a few snaps of the camera, I had to climb to the top. Now this bit is tricky, so be careful. At the top of Helm Crag you get a clear view of Sour Milk Ghyll.
I made a mistake with my break on the top of Helm Crag; I had it too early not realizing how long was left of my hike, so a bit of advice: have a break on Gibson’s Knott or Calf Crag.
After the ascent up to the summit of Helm Crag, the rest is more or less a ridge walk, although there is a slight incline up to Gibson’s Knott but nothing too strenuous. Towards to the top of Gibson’s Knott, I started getting attacked by heaps of flies. Be warned.
With all the flies everywhere we didn’t stick around for too long on Gibson’s Knott. We continued on towards Calf Crag and the flies seemed to disappear so we had a little rest there.
My favourite part about this hike is the valley walk; it is just gorgeous. We were walking through the valley, being followed by some sheep, and we came across a little pond filled with frogspawn. The valley is just booming with life.
Now upon returning to Grasmere, I had to visit the world’s best gingerbread shop, Sarah Nelsons. I absolutely love that place and could quite happily live there.
After eating some gingerbread, it is always worth having a look around and visiting Williams Wordsworth’s grave.
Enjoy the Lake District.
“I listened, motionless and still; And, as I mounted up the hill, The music in my heart I bore, Long after it was heard no more.” – William Wordsworth
Holly Aindow has been visiting the Lake District since she was 2-years-old, and she continues to love exploring the area. Read more about her hiking adventures on her blog.