After waiting for the cloud to dissipate until my legs got cold I eventually trudged onward into the mist. The top levelled out and through the cloud I made out Red Tarn to the east.
Ten seconds later this was the view:
If you hadn't guessed it was blowing a gale, but at least now I could see where the sheer drops were.
After this the views improved dramatically on all sides, although the cloud hung around until I was lake-side once more, when the sun turned the Lake District golden. Consequently I have come to the decision that while Helvellyn is a monster of a mountain, and not to be taken lightly, it is also one of my favourites.