Friday 18th December 2009
Start point: Wythburn
(NY 324 136)
Wythburn - Birk Side -
Nethermost Pike -
- Birk Side - Wythburn
Distance: 4.7 miles
Total Ascent: 813 metres
Time Taken: 2 hours 30 minutes
Weather: F-f-f-freezing. -2oC
I have wanted to get up to Helvellyn for
a decent sunrise for a good while so today seemed a good day for it with
it being nearly the shortest day and the sunrise being relatively late.
It was cold and clear (and dark) when I set off from Wythburn and
conditions were pretty extreme when I made it to the top...
Climbing to Helvellyn in the dark.
First light over the Coniston fells from Birk Side.
There was a red sunrise to the south and I was cursing at
this point, wishing I had gone to Coniston where it looked lovely and
clear yet here on the side of Nethermost Pike there were clouds - lots
Heading for Nethermost Pike and perhaps it's not so bad
The Coniston fells and a red sky but it was bitterly cold
and the wind was really picking up now.
Looking across Nethermost Cove to Helvellyn, Catstycam
and Striding Edge.
Casper attempts to show how windy it is looking into
The sky over Saint Sunday Crag.
A superb red sky but Fairfield is lost under cloud.
The summit of Nethermost Pike.
Coldy old Nethermost.
The Coniston fells from bitterly cold Nethermost Pike.
Nethermost Crag and Helvellyn ahead.
Clearing skies to the south.
The Gough Memorial.
It looks like there is fire in the sky over there.
It was incredibly windy along the Helvellyn ridge and I
had to really plant my feet firmly to keep still enough to get a photo.
Swirral Edge and Catstycam.
Striding Edge from further along the ridge.
Looking to Ullswater over Birkhouse Moor and Red Tarn.
Windermere and Coniston Water with Morecambe Bay beyond
under a wonderful sky.
The cross shelter is frozen.
The sun appears through the clouds.
The Helvellyn summit ridge. As the sun was rising it
became achingly gorgeous and absolutely wonderful to be here for this -
well worth the effort of getting up early.
A cloud capped Raise.
Pink snow along Helvellyn summit with Skiddaw visible.
Looking back towards the cross shelter.
Casper braving the elements - you know he loves it.
Skiddaw and Blencathra beyond Raise.
The sun was starting to shine through now and it was
turning into a fabulous sunrise with conditions constantly changing as
the clouds were quickly blown through by the wind.
Skiddaw and Blencathra beyond White Side.
Looking back along the summit.
Looks pretty cold to the east.
At the top of Swirral Edge.
Sunshine and spindrift (available in high resolution as a
This photo was the winner of the Wainwright Society photo of the year
The summit. I stopped back at the cross shelter for more
layers, another hat (yes, I wore two hats plus a fleece Buff!) and my
'big' gloves as my fingers were numb wearing ordinary gloves by this
time. A look at the thermometer strapped to my bag showed the air
temperature was -6C but with the wind chill it was even colder than
Departing Helvellyn (quickly!) and looking back to the
shelter, the snow looks more like a desert in the morning sunshine.
The north western fells.
The route of return, Nethermost Pike up to the left.
Casper likes to live on the edge.
Pink Striding Edge.
Striding Edge from further along - gold and pink now.
Steel Fell in the foreground, the Coniston fells beyond.
Thirlmere from the descent.
Ullscarf across Thirlmere.
Return to top
14th December 2009
Stone Arthur < > Next Walk 20th December 2009