It's not often the stars align so to speak; a number of factors made this outing so spectacular:
- A free schedule for the group, uncommon these days
- Clear skies throughout the night and into the early hours
- No moon
- The Lake District well and truly in the grips of winter - none of this warm wet winter rubbish
Despite the 4am alarm, the perfect conditions more than compensated for lack of sleep. Luckily with no snow overnight meant Kirkstone Pass was clear, despite a few patches of ice.
We left Greenside mines at 05:20 - presumably plenty of time to summit Helvellyn before sunrise at 08:17.
The route we chose was the long way round, albeit the safer option. The car park was without doubt the most treacherous part of the trip, an ice rink to say the least! We soon got underway by starlight, as our eyes adjusted were able to really appreciate the lakeland dark skies.
As we reached the top of the ridge between Raise and Lower Man the glow was intense and most of the stars had disappeared. The snow on the top was crusty and windblown which made for better progress. In contrast to the knee deep drifts we'd battled through so far - occasionally your foot would still suddenly disappear through the crust.
I decided to make a gamble and dash to the main summit. Risking being on the backside of the peak when the sun broke the horizon, the pressure was on!
I hope you have enjoyed the journey, until next time! Feel free to share this blog post and please leave any comments below.