Helvellyn and the Dodds

Sketch map will appear here

Helvellyn is arguably England's most famous mountain.

The third highest in the Lake District, and in England as a whole, this 3,118 ft summit lies between Ullswater (to the east) and Thirlmere (to the west), and is actually just the most elevated point of a ridge of high ground lying north-south and situated between the two aforementioned lakes. Like many mountain ridges in the Lakes, the Helvellyn group features simple, steep slopes on the western aspect and a complex section of lateral ridges on the eastern side. Among them is Striding Edge, one of Lakeland's most celebrated mountain routes.

For the purposes of this web page the Helvellyn group begins at the Grizedale pass between Grasmere and Patterdale, and runs northwards with virtually no interruption to the Keswick - Penrith gap about six or seven miles further north. The group falls naturally into two halves, being Helvellyn and its outliers to the south of Sticks pass, and the smoother and grassier Dodds to the north. South of the Grizedale pass is the Fairfield group, which is covered separately within this website.

From south to north, the Helvellyn range comprises Seat Sandal (2415ft), Dollywaggon Pike (2810ft), Nethermost Pike (2920ft), Helvellyn (3118ft), White Side (2832 ft), and Raise (2889ft). Helvellyn's two lateral ridges, Swirral Edge and Striding Edge, both broaden out into fells in their own right, these being Catstycam (2917 ft) and Birkhouse Moor (2350ft) respectively. Red Tarn, the group's largest (indeed almost its only) body of water, lies between the two edges at a height of 2300ft. Birkhouse Moor's eastern outlier, Keldas, is a lovely little wooded knoll overlooking Glenridding and the south end of Ullswater, and features the tiny but picturesque Lanty's Tarn within the intermediate col.

North of Sticks Pass the ridge continues, over grass rather than rock, via Stybarrow Dodd (2770ft), Watson's Dodd (2584ft), Great Dodd (2807ft) and finally Clough Head (2381ft) at the northern limit of the range. Stybarrow, the largest fell in the section in terms of area, throws off a lateral ridge to the east that forks into a southeast branch forming Sheffield Pike (2232ft) and Glenridding Dodd (1425 ft), and a long northeast branch forming Hart Side (2481ft), which features superb views of Ullswater.

Gallery Index

Striding Edge, 25th May 1984

A first traverse of Lakeland's most famous ridge

North of Helvellyn, 22nd May 1990

A walk from Thirlspot via White Side, Raise and the Dodds to Clough Head.
Birkhouse Moor and Helvellyn, 13th July 1994

A splendid day for this round of Helvellyn's eastern ridges.

Sheffield Pike round, 14th July 1994

A walk along Stybarrow Dodd's eastern ridges, via Glenridding Dodd, Sheffield Pike and Hart Side.

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This page last updated 13th May 2000