At the weekend we got a call from Tony (Andy’s best man) to say Thursday is his 50th & he had booked to come to Grasmere with two mates. They would stay for one night & the following day get up early & climb Helvellyn in time to catch the sunrise at the summit, would we like to come?
We agreed as long as the weather was going to be good enough to see the sunrise. The forecast for Wednesday & Thursday was brilliant with clear skies overnight.
We then discovered it would be a 99% full moon so as long as the skies were clear we would have good visibility to walk up in.
So after an early night on Wednesday we got up at 03:30 & set off to Thirlmere where we met Tony, Mark & Nigel at 05:00. The temperature was –3c with a light NE wind brrrrr
It was almost light enough to walk without a head torch, these early pictures don’t really do justice to the illuminated world we were walking in.
Looking down on the moon glistening on Thirlmere. We stopped briefly at 05:58 when as scheduled the International Space Station gave us a fly-past!
It’s not long before we are walking in the snow, Crag has long forgotten that he hurt his paw two weeks ago & just wants snowballs thrown for him
As we reach the summit plateau the first rays of morning light are appearing to the east
Catstye Cam & Swirral Edge, one of the ridge routes up Helvellyn
Looking down on Brown Cove
Whiteside Bank & Raise
Tony went ahead to Helvellyn's summit (at 950m it is the 3rd highest point in England)
Looking down on Swirral Edge
The trig point just below the summit. Andy & Crag have gone to join Tony
From the summit looking down on the shelter which was to be our resting place until the sun came up
Ullswater in the distance
Nethermost Pike & Dollywagon Pike which the others were planning to “bag” on their way down
The wait at the shelter for the sunrise
Ullswater & Birkhouse Moor with only a sprinkling of snow on, you can see why the felltop assessors climb Helvellyn to judge conditions as it clearly has far more snow on it than the surrounding fells.
Here comes the sun
Karen well wrapped up at the shelter
Virgin windswept snow
Striding Edge the other ridge route up Helvellyn
The sun starts to light up the fells around us
Ullswater & Red Tarn
The shelter now basking in sunshine
We decide just to descend the route we came up. Looking back at the trig point
We are in the sunshine for the first section of the descent
Skiddaw & Bassenthwaite Lake in the distance with a little mist on it
Looking north along the Helvellyn range
Across Thirlmere to some of the central fells
The snow becoming patchier as we descend
Almost out of the shade & back into the sunshine on the valley bottom
Thank you Tony for inviting us to your 50th birthday party. It was an amazing walk, one of the most magical walks we have ever done.