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Helvellyn – A Dramatic Dawn Over The Lake District

Was time to head up my favourite mountain once more. Helvellyn in Cumbria, The Lake District, for sunrise. The third highest peak in England and for me the first when it comes to glamour as I showed in a previous post. However, this was on a whim, I saw the weather forecast the day before and saw it was going to be a clear cool morning. Well why not, lets go get up there for sunrise 🙂 Alarm was set for 2 am, rucksack packed, headtorch at the ready, let’s go!

I normally ascend the gorgeous Patterdale route and via Striding Edge. However with time and darkness I drove round to Thirlmere to go up the steep, direct way from the back. The sky was clear, the air was calm and nippy… perfect. Up and up, head torch leading the way with help from the moonlight. Wasn’t too bad a plod actually, was well in time for the orange glow to start. The flask of warm coffee and some mint cake ‘rocket fuel’ kept me warm and happy as I waited in total peace and tranquility. Miles away from anyone, high above the land.

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And here it came. The ball of fire created another sunrise that I will never forget. Over to the East, over the M6 and peaking out over the Pennines the sun showed itself. I was taking pics but also remembering to enjoy the moment, getting used to that now. To my left was Swirral Edge, Striding Edge stretching out to my right. Down directly below Red Tarn started collecting reflections of the sun and clouds. The dogleg of the gorgeous body of water that is Ullswater was covered in mist. So many good things at once to savour.

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As the sun rose I looked back. Many of you that have been on this summit on a clear day will know ‘that view’! The whole of the Lake District lies before you, Coniston range left, Scafell Pike and Co centre heading out to Skiddaw North and right. I watched as the sun touched the peaks and warmed them slowly downwards. I watched for a long while.

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Alas it was time to head back down. I had another climb in the afternoon. But at least I got to savour the route in dawn daylight as I had come up in the dark night. The mountains getting brighter and greener as time went on. Thirlmere in the valley bottom showing wonderful reflections.

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Now that was a tip top morning, I am sure I will be back here many many times again!

Written by Paul Steele

Founder of BaldHiker.com and avid hiker, climber and trekker. Never liking to sit still and always seeking new adventures around the world. Sharing personal views here and tweeting live via @paul_steele

19 Comments

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  1. Having lived abroad for well over 10 years now you have made me feel happily homesick, wonderful shots and man, do I miss walking those hills…

  2. Hi if you go to Crummock or Loweswater any time walking low level would I be able to join you as I like to write poetry and this area is my roots. You may have a different perspection on the area to me too.

  3. Stunning set of pictures Paul. Marked contrast to my jaunts up there. It’s usually the winter sunsets after finishing a climb – late for tea again! 😉

  4. Breathtaking photos, really hope I get up there someday. I love what you said about remembering to enjoy the moment. I have to do that too! I get so caught up in taking photos I have to make a conscious effort to stop & enjoy!

  5. Great pics! I don’t know why, but I’ve never made it out to the Lake District, and I grew up in North Yorkshire! Will have to make a beeline for it when I’m back in the UK in 2013. The photos here are wonderful, although I must say the thing that this post has inspired the most in me is a craving for mint cake!

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