Date & Time: Christmas Day Monday 25th December 2006. 9.50 am start.

Location of Start : Wythburn Church, Thirlmere, Cumbria Uk. ( NY 325 136 )

Places visited : Wythburn, Birk Side, Nethermost Pike, Helvellyn, Lower Man, Whiteside, Raise, Sticks Pass, Stanah.

Walk details : 6.45 mls, 2960 ft of ascent (3024 descent), 5 hrs 20 mins including lunch.

Walked with : David and Jennifer, Anne and Andrew, Ann and our dogs.

Weather : Cold misty and grey to start, but with the prospect of sunshine on the tops.

Dressed for warmth as we start from Wythburn Church car park


The choice of route today was Andrew's, in that he had the target of climbing Helvellyn once each month during 2006. Today was the planned December walk, but was in fact his thirteenth visit this year.

As it was Christmas, we couldn't think of a nicer way to spend the day ~ good friends, good walking, the prospect of good weather, and no television !

The lower section of the walk up from Wythburn.
Soon clearing the trees and into the mist.

We had thought of a Swirls car park start, but due to yesterday's experiences with icy paths we decided the Wythburn had less pitched sections and more open paths which would be easier going.

It is always a leap of faith as you climb in these misty conditions, hoping for a gap above the clouds like the one they forecast. How the adrenalin rises as you see that first blue, and then a lighter yellow colour as you near the top of the cloud layer, and you begin to anticipate the now probable views from above.

Yes . . . there as we had hoped . . . blue skies above the mist

and the dogs will sit anywhere to get their photos taken !

The top part of the cloud is the coldest section of the walk and here the hoarfrost is exposed as the mist moves away temporarily.

Above in the sunshine we experience the inverted temperature phenomena - it's getting warmer the higher we climb.

Our first view above the mist. Click here or on the photo for a full size panorama.

A slight Spectre and halo in the mist formed by my shadow
Me again and perhaps a clearer Broken Spectre effect

Climbing again, we look south to see the cloud swirling over Seat Sandal.

A close up of Great Gable, an unmistakable shape even when all around is hidden.

And an even closer shot of Pillar, Black Crag, Scoat Fell with Ullscarf in the middle distance.

Lovely undulating clouds, Crinkles, Bowfell and Esk Pike
Ann climbing with Crinkle Crags behind.

The summit in view now as we stop to enjoy the sights.

A short climb off the main route took us over to Nethermost Pike and a view east this time.

Its the same over this side ! St Sunday Crag and Grisedale Valley are experiencing the same conditions.

Still some snow left as we make our way across to Helvellyn

Ann makes for the main path again.

Near the top we stick closer to the edge to get a view of the classic Striding Edge arete

Striding Edge walkers against a backdrop of cloud.

Tinsel still surviving as the dogs wait at the memorial cairn above Striding Edge.


Time for lunch now as we appreciate the summit shelter and it's ability to protect us from the cool breeze.

It's Christmas Day on Helvellyn ~ I'm glad I'm not the only one in the funny hat !

The dogs, as ever, are the centre of attention.

It may be Christmas today . . .

but for some of us it's also chance to celebrate our birthday too !!

Hold your cursor over the picture to join in the fun.

Now . . . where were we . . . oh yes . . .

Festivities over for now, we leave the shelter and start the second half of our walk, north along the ridge to Sticks Pass.

Helvellyn still hold a small cornice of snow under it's flat summit.

Three Web Master's Wives, plus their partners, stop at the trig point for a rare photo opportunity.

Thanks to Harry and Eileen Martin for taking the previous shot.

Mass publicity as experienced by the football stars and the like is definitely not desirable

but to be recognised by a few appreciative folk is rather nice. Thank you both.

The Pennines, Birkhouse Moor and the dramatic Catsyecam summit.

A lone figure contemplates the descent of Swirral Edge.
Keppel Cove and the mist hanging in the valley below.

Ann walking the ridge up towards Whiteside.

Today's inversion is accompanied by a slight breeze and so the cloud is a lot more active than yesterday.

Gable, Pillar and High Stile standing out amongst the undulating cloud layer.

Whiteside summit as we look north to the island peaks of Skiddaw and Blencathra.

David, Anne and Andrew stop for a short break on Raise, our last summit of the day.

We then started our descent to Sticks Pass

On the path below Raise ~ Don't look now but you are about to be enveloped by a passing cloud.

Andrew and Ann walking through the mist . . .
. . . which left as quickly as it came.

Time to turn for home, or at least the cars, waiting in the gloom below.

Back into the cloud and the lower temperatures below.

Hoarfrost and the strand of grass make a beautiful combination.

The final section down to Stanah . . . take care on the slippery grass.

" You mean to say it's sunshine up there, and we've been down here all day in the cold and damp !"

"We would have joined you if we had known. "


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Technical note: Pictures taken with a Canon G7 Digital camera.

Resized in Photoshop, and built up on a Dreamweaver web builder.

This site best viewed with . . . candles on your mince pie.

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