Sunday, 24 June 2007

Postcards from Hellvellyn

The LocalsJonathan was a guide in this area years ago and recommended I try the Hellvellyn hike up from Glenridding in the east. The weather was miserable, so I decided to approach Hellvellyn from the west at the Thirlmere Reservoir. This would allow me to turn around from the top and descend right back to the bus stop, making for a much shorter trek. A map of my hike is on Map My Run. You can overlay the satellite view as well as click to see the elevation. The distance was about 7 miles but the maximum elevation was just over 3,000 feet, for a climb of 2,400 feet.

On the way up, I met a small party who had camped out over night up on the fell and were just making their descent. The trail up was pretty rough but near the top it turned into something suitable for an ATV or a 4x4. With no tree cover, the wind was bracing, but navigation was very simple, aided by a number of stone markers.

The locals call their small ponds ‘tarns’.This is a view from Hellvellyn looking east. In the background, you can see Ullswater (Lake) where Glenridding is. Red Tarn is in the foreground.
The trails must get heavy use and erosion looks like it is a huge problem. The National Trust and local volunteers are trying to rebuild the trails and brought these stones by helicopter to aid in the reconstruction. The decent into Glenridding, while longer than the ascent up Hellvellyn, was much easier. The switchbacks helped. There is no “old growth” forest as there is in Canada, and trees are bunched together in groves. Stone fences are everywhere here, even at the tops of the fells. I hope that they use local stone, as to carry the stone up would be back breaking.

Even though there are many stone fences in Newfoundland, we think of them as old relics, left over from another time. Here they continue to be working, every day items. I guess that’s what gives it a very English feel.

There is also a lot of green (which is really yellow) and little bit of colour really stands out. The hike was about 15 km and took the better part of 4 hours, with lots of stops along the way for photos.

I spent a couple of hours in Glenridding waiting for the bus back to Windermere. It is a tiny town, formerly dependent upon mining. The mines have run out and its stock in trade these days is tourism. The tourists come to see the local wildlife. I saw a number of different species of Bimmer’s, Porsche’s, and Lotuses (Loti?).

The tourists are certainly well heeled and they certainly seem to go through tyres!


LAV said...

scott- awesome to see your blog. way better to get some more background on your great photgraphy than flickr gives!

Scott said...

Hey you! How is Alaska? (Well, since I read your blog, I guess I know the answer to that!)

Thanks for stopping by!