Helvellyn, as the third highest peak in the Lake District and England as well, has an elevation 950 m (3,120 ft) and a prominence of 712 m (2,336 ft). Its parent peak is Scafell Pike and it’s the highest point of the Helvellyn range, a line of mountains running from north to south situated in the Eastern Fells, between Thirlmere and Patterdale.
The highest point is on top of a small rocky knoll and is marked with a cairn. The plateau on which it sits is large enough to land a small plane (as in fact happened in 1926). The view from Helvellyn’s top is one of the best and most extensive in the Lake District: from here you can see across the whole region, and the views of the Scafells, Skiddaw, the Coniston Fells and the other Eastern Fells are particularly impressive. On a clear day, Scotland and Wales are both visible. Helvellyn has a subsidiary top, Helvellyn Lower Man, around 700 m to the north-west. Although smaller than the main peak, it is considered to have better views to the north-west.
The summit and eastern side of the mountain are part of Helvellyn and Fairfield Site of Special Scientific Interest.
It’s often said that Helvellyn is the most often climbed mountain in England. It is easier to access than both Scafell Pike and Sca Fell and there are many routes up to the summit from all angles. Perhaps the best approach is from the east, circuiting Red Tarn via the steep ridges of Swirral Edge and Striding Edge, the latter being classed as a Grade I scramble in winter conditions.
The area surrounding Helvellyn is highly popular for wild camping, especially near Red Tarn. Camping is technically illegal but is generally tolerated provided care is taken to remove all traces and stays are for one night only.