button to main menu   Old Cumbria Gazetteer
placename:- Helvellyn ascent 1780s
site name:- Helvellyn
parish St John's Castlerigg and Wythburn parish, once in Cumberland
county:- Cumbria
parish Patterdale parish, once in Westmorland
hill
Altitude 3100 feet
coordinates:- NY34261508
10Km square:- NY31

1Km square NY3415

old text:- Clarke 1787

Guide book, A Survey of the Lakes of Cumberland, Westmorland, and Lancashire, by James Clarke, Penrith, Cumberland, and in London etc, 1787 and 1789; and Plans of the Lakes ... 1793.
Page 31:-
... Above all, Helveylin rises with precipice over precipice, and hides his rugged summit amidst almost continual mists. Snow is seldom a wanting here; and I know a gentleman who went from Penrith to it, in order to dine in a snow drift upon Midsummer-day. His account of his journey being curious and singular, will plead my excuse if I insert it at length.
"I had often, from the neighbourhood of Penrith, seen specks of snow in the height of Summer, on the summit of a hill, the name of which I did not at that time know, and a strong desire seized me of dining in so elevated a situation, and upon such a seat as is not at all common in Britain at that season. Accordingly, about two o'clock of the a Midsummer morning, I set forward, and rode about eleven miles to Glencoyn, which lyes at the bottom of that heap of mountains on the summit of which this snow was seen. Leaving my horse at the house which stands in this small valley, I began to ascend: it was now betwixt four and five o'clock, and I experienced what I would not have believed to be possible at that time of the morning, viz. a heat greater than I have felt in any situation at noon. The rays of the sun, just now risen, were reflected from the Lake, and thrown right into the valley, which resembles pretty much the half of a beehive cut longitudinally: in front were rocks almost perpendicular; on the right hand, a steep hill covered with heath; on the left, another hill cloathed with wood: such a stagnation of the air as then took place, and such an intensity of heat, had an effect resembling suffocation. The summit of the first hill afforded no alleviation of the uneasiness thus occasioned; for the air heated, and rarified in the valley, was ascending. The north wind, however, compensated for this in the upper parts of the mountain, and with severe toil I, in about five hours, reached the snow, and the summit. The surface of it was covered with dust, so that I was obliged to make a hole in it with my staff to procure clean snow to drink, or rather eat to my dinner, Such a prospect was never presented to me as from this place, though I have been upon almost every high mountain in the North of England, and upon many in Scotland. After I had satisfied myself with surveying the countries beneath, and the sea at a distance, I began to set forward on my return; and after having spent about ten hours in the ascent and descent, arrived again, though by a different way, in Glencoyn."

placename:- Helveylin
date:- 1787
period:- 18th century, late; 1780s

Old Cumbria Gazetteer - JandMN: 2013

button to lakes menu  Lakes Guides menu.

©  Martin and Jean Norgate: 2013
mailto button  email:- JandMN@norgate.freeserve.co.uk
button, online connection  Other projects

button, online connection  Geography Department, Portsmouth University