Somewhat to my embarrassment, I left it until my final year to get involved in LUMC, more because of my own laziness than anything else, but the last couple of weeks have definitely left me regretting that I didn’t join earlier.
Hearing that the Fresher’s walking trip was up Helvellyn was the push I needed, as I’ve always wanted to cross that one off my list, after bad weather put paid to my first attempt. So, the 8th of November found me leaving the house very early, as most people were just getting home from their Friday nights out, to board a bus to Glenridding, along with about 40 other people.
Starting from the village, we began with a steep ascent that left me out of breath and wondering if I’d over estimated my stamina, but once we reached Red Tarn and could see Helvellyn itself; (combined with a restorative stop for water) I knew it was going to be worth it. The route we took led us up Striding Edge, an exhilarating but slightly scary scramble across a narrow ridge, completely exposed on both sides. A reminder of the risk came when we encountered another group of walkers, one of whom had fallen from the ridge and was hurt. Luckily some of the leaders from our group were able to get him down to safety. Although this was pretty nerve wracking, the view was incredible enough to make you forget the danger. Helvellyn is the third highest mountain in England and on a clear day, as this was, you can see right to Scotland.
The summit itself is a long plateau, surprising smooth given what we had just climbed up, and I was told flat enough to land an aeroplane – not that I would want to be a passenger on the flight – but it certainly made an excellent spot to finish our lunches before we began the descent. Coming down, as always, was easier. We took Swirral Edge down, something I misheard and was under the impression that it was called ‘squirrel edge’ until I checked before writing this (oops), meaning our walk was a rough horseshoe shape around the tarn.
By the time we got back to the minibus we had walked just over 8 very strenuous miles, and stopped at the Traveller’s Rest for a well deserved pint. We weren’t the only ones to think of this however, and the fairly small pub was packed with about twice the number of people it had seats for.
As we drove back to Liverpool it was clear that although everyone on the bus was tired, we had all loved the day, and it definitely left me impatient for the next walking trip! We started as a group of strangers, but finished as a group of (exhausted) friends. Thanks to the LUMC and everyone who spent the day as our guides and drivers to make it possible.