So today would be the walk up Helm Crag. The starting point would be the gorgeous village of Grasmere and from there we’ll head up into the Fells. First being that of Steel Fell, then onto Calf Crag, moving towards Gibson Knott, finishing with the fascinating Lion and Lamb. Also known as Helm Crag. This would be a windy adventure in the Lake District but one with happy memories.
If you would like any other information regarding these Wainwrights or any other then please feel free to click here. This will take you through to the information page on Wainwrights where you can then select which one you want to learn more about.
Grasmere, the base for our Helm Crag walking route of the Wainwrights
Starting point at Grasmere on this Helm Crag round route in the Lake District. We of course, if you don’t already know, had our flat in Cockermouth. So we took the A66 towards Keswick, turning off in Keswick and then taking the A591 past Thirlmere and then into Grasmere. This road, the A591, would continue into Ambleside and on to Windermere.
Again here you can either park in the many car parks in Grasmere, or do like us and use the big lay-by on the A591 instead. It is free and there is plenty of parking available. If you require the facilities (which who wouldn’t when you don’t know when you’ll next see any), then head into Grasmere. Of course, you can use the main car park facilities. Or grab yourself some breakfast with a coffee first to get you ready for the four Wainwrights.
Making our way through Grasmere to Easedale Road
So I’m not even going to lie here. We did a lot of research on this one and still was a little confused about the route itself. Looking at the ordnance survey maps we couldn’t see the perfect route between Steel Fell and Calf Crag. And yes, I mean maps, you will need OL5 and OL7. So we were looking forward to seeing exactly the way up these Wainwrights. Steel Knott being the first one of the day.
After making our way into Grasmere itself we located Easedale Road, again after some wandering, and perhaps some tourists wandering too. Hey, when in Rome. We actually noticed a beautiful art gallery shop selling paintings. Of course, we couldn’t resist just having a nosey through the windows.
To say it is such a small village, Grasmere is a bustling little hub for both locals and visitors alike. Having many food places and shopping places. As well as the amazing galleries and places of interest. It really is a place you should have a wander around if you have time.
So from Easedale Road to the base of Steel Fell here we come
Easedale Road is actually just opposite the Sam Read Booksellers. It is a small narrow road. Soon you’ll notice the incline as you make your way past a small car park. This is the car park for the Grasmere YHA. Continue up this road passing Glenthorne Quaker Centre and Guest House. Being careful as there are no verges to walk on.
Continuing down here you’ll soon see a gate on your left-hand side. This actually leads down the side of the very road you are currently on. So if you want to head down that path then feel free to. For us, we carried on the road to make sure not to miss the next part of the walk to Steel Fell. If you go for the gated route, it’ll bring you out just before the bridge. Crossing Goody Bridge you’ll soon notice a road turning right. This is the one you want to take.
We will also be coming back down the road near Goody Bridge later on when we are coming off Helm Crag, also known as the Lion and Lamb. So taking Helm Close, the road, we continue up here for quite some time. Well until we reach Ghyll Foot Farm. Again you’ll notice the slight incline most of the way up this road too. It is a lot longer than you first think, so don’t worry if you feel like you’re going on forever.
Ghyll Foot Farm is almost on the corner of the road and if you’re anything like us, you’ll feel anxious about going onto someone else’s property. I’m not sure why it just doesn’t feel right for us, but of course, it is a public right of way.
From Ghyll Farm, up Cotra Breast onto the summit of Steel Fell
Heading into Ghyll Foot Farm and past two cottages you’ll soon see a signpost for Green Burn on a gate. We are officially on our way to the top of Steel Fell now, how exciting. Can I also say here, apologies for the lack of photos already? Once we get walking and talking we just get into a zone of our own. And we were quite honestly trying to make sure we got the correct roads too. As we did hesitate slightly with them going on for sooo long.
Anyway, heading north-west on a clear but grassy path we walked up the ridge. This soon zig-zags up the Fell with a much steeper incline up Cotra Breast, before reaching the summit of Steel Fell. Can I also say, writing these routes up of the Wainwrights, I didn’t realise how many paths ‘zig-zag’. An uninteresting fact for you there.
The summit of Steel Fell, also known as Dead Pike in Cumbria
Here is an interesting fact though. The summit of Steel Fell or the highest point of Steel Fell is actually also called Dead Pike. Who knew. Well standing at 553m/1815ft this was the first Wainwright bagged for the day. It had already felt like a tough walk to Steel Fell but as we know from experiences climbing the Wainwrights, that means it gets easier for the rest of the day, right?
We took in the views of Helm Crag and in the distance Windermere. As well as Thirlmere and the Helvellyn Fells of Dollywaggon Pike, Nethermost Pike, and of course, Helvellyn. The views were already starting to open up to us. A high five and time to move onwards and upwards.
Heading onwards towards the Wainwright of Calf Crag from Steel Fell
One Wainwright down and three to go. Heading west we followed some old steel fence posts along the ridge. This led to a slight decline but soon back to the comfortable inclines again. When the steel fence posts suddenly head north, that’s when you want to head south-west. This will round Green Burn (what was signposted earlier). For those like I and Zoe, Green Burn is actually the large curve between Steel Fell and Calf Crag. This looks down into Green Burn Valley. There are also a couple of unnamed tarns around here too.
Then head south (leftish) to walk up to the Wainwright summit of Calf Crag. Again, for us, it was pretty cloudy and we were getting a touch anxious if the weather changed suddenly. Especially being at nearly the furthest point from Grasmere now. It was slightly boggy here too so the path was faint in some places. Again in the low cloud, it would be hard to navigate so bear that in mind for your walk. However, after managing the wetter areas and the fainter path, we made the steeper walk up to the summit of Calf Crag.
The summit of Calf Crag was a very windy Wainwright
Haha, so the high five only just happened on this Wainwright. And that was because we were nearly, literally being blown away. As you can see by myself demonstrating just how windy it was. Of course, in a still photo you can’t quite get the full sense of how windy it truly was. But the wind was howling, and yet it was surprisingly still quite mild. The threatening rains clouds were still holding off too.
Again you’ll be able to perhaps make out Windermere in the far ground as well as the other surrounding Wainwrights here. The views are truly gorgeous and on a better day, we would have stayed to enjoy them more. However, wanting to make it to the next two Wainwrights, we made our way down of Calf Crag.
Heading towards Gibson Knott near Pike Of Carrs and Moment Crag
From Calf Crag it is a pretty simple route to Gibson Knott, head east. However, for some reason, we liked to complicate things this day. Even though we found the Wainwright of Gibson Knott OK it still felt a little complicated. For starters there seemed to be a few paths leading down towards Gibson Knott. And secondly, we weren’t sure if any of them were suddenly going to veer off into a different direction. So we took some caution here to make sure we were heading towards the correct Wainwright.
Not only that but when you’re heading down and yet still trying to find the summit, you’re always questioning if this bump is that. Or we are, haha. Hey, maybe it was the wind getting to us, or maybe it was all the bumps this ridge was offering. So after a couple of fake summits and a lot of checking of the map, we finally made our way to the real summit of Gibson Knott, a cairn. Yippee, 3 Wainwrights in the bag, and ready to be ticked off when we’re home in Cockermouth.
Gibson Knott summit before heading to Helm Crag (Lion and Lamb)
Nearly two hours after reaching the summit of Steel Fell we were on Gibson Knott and the other side of Green Burn Valley. And not only that, there were quite a lot of people about too. This actually amazed us, for it was such a windy day. And yet, on some of the sunnier days, we’d hardly seen anyone. Still, the Lake District welcomes all, any time of the day, whatever the weather. Saying our hello’s and good afternoon’s we took in the sights of the Central Fells.
We could see in clear daylight the sights of Helm Crag, now seemingly very close to us. And the views of Grasmere as well just sat below. Soon to welcome us back again. We couldn’t wait for a cuppa. After having dinner, which was hard to find a bit of shelter so it was a quick dinner. We headed down towards the final Wainwright of the day, Helm Crag. And, another very clear path to it as well. This soon begins a steady incline up to the summit of Helm Crag.
Helm Crag, Lion and Lamb or The Howitzer?
So whichever you want to call it, Helm Crag was climbed. And it was a welcome relief. The wind was well and truly blowing us away and we’d be happy to finally get out of it. However, being up on this well known Wainwright was marvellous. Finally, we could say we’d seen the Lion and Lamb sitting together. There were again a lot of people about up here. They were climbing on The Howitzer, which in this weather, wasn’t something we were wanting to do ourselves.
– one of the very few summits in Lakeland reached only by climbing rocks, and it is certainly (but not for that reason alone) one of the very best.Alfred Wainwright
Views from Helm Crag, Lion and Lamb or The Howitzer
These people were smiling and laughing and it was a lovely sight to behold. Smiles all around we took in the views over Grasmere and Loughrigg Fell. Another fantastic Wainwright we’d enjoyed. These Fells were really starting to feel like home. Picking them out from the crowds of the other Wainwrights, we now knew them by name.
Looking out towards the north is Blencathra, nearly 12 miles away. Honestly, I know I say it a lot but the Lake District just amazes me with how much you can see, even from some of the smaller Wainwrights. Helm Crag at just shy of 400m but still packs a punch. The Helvellyn Fells can also be seen towards the north-east.
Great Rigg, Stone Arthur and Heron Pike looking towards the east. South you can see the Wainwrights of Silver How (another good walk from Grasmere). Then towards the south-west is Swirl How, Great Carrs, Pike O’Blisco and Crinkle Crags. Moving around to the west are the Wainwrights of Pavey Ark and Sergeant Man. And looking backwards is, of course, the Wainwrights of the day, Calf Crag, Gibson Knott and Steel Fell. Another three, now friends.
Making our way down off Helm Crag and back to Grasmere
We were happy, like really happy on this walk to Helm Crag. The weather had held strong, yes windy as hell, but the rain was still holding off. Saying thank you to the clouds we made our way off of Helm Crag, saying goodbye to the Lion and the Lamb, and The Old Lady Playing the Organ.
Heading into Lancrigg Woodlands on our way to Grasmere
Heading south-east off the summit we took the clear path down some steps. A welcome sight from all of the uppy downy ridge walks today. Descending to a grassy passage between hills we then headed right on another clear path that headed steeply down to a wall. Following the wall on our right, we reached a point where we could cross the wall. Going right beside this wall too, we started to head south. After reaching another crossing wall we headed left to reach a junction of other paths. I mean that is a lot of walls.
I remember walking through Lancrigg Woodlands and there were a lot of trees, some absolutely enormous. It was almost like walking through a fairy tale woodland area. I mean it wasn’t huge by any means but it had character. This also takes you through Lancigg Hotel, a nice place to stop for a drink or more. Finally, seeing a gate with a signpost stating Grasmere, we headed in that direction. Bringing us out on a stony track we turned left on the road. Where Easedale House is.
Back to Grasmere for the final leg of the day in the Lake District
This road will eventually bring you back onto the one we started, Easedale Road. Therefore, following the road back over Goody Bridge and towards Grasmere. There you are free to roam around Grasmere itself or head back to the car and onwards on your day. I mean, why not pick a cute little café and have a drink after a long days hike? Or visit William Wordsworth grave at St Oswald’s Church?
For us, we headed back towards the car to finish off whatever remains were in our backpacks. Parking on the A591 meant that we could look back up to Helm Crag after our walk and be happy we were only up there an hour or so ago.
What a day it had been, bagging four Wainwrights. Steel Fell which really got the legs walking up Cotra Breast. And then onto Calf Crag around Green Burn, and Gibson Knott over all the bumps of Pike of Carrs. Finally ending our day and the multi-named Wainwright of Helm Crag. Back to the flat to get the pens out then…
True Freedom SeekersHazel and Zoe
We hope you find our walks and adventures in the Lake District helpful. And we wish you much fun and success on bagging the Wainwrights yourself. If you want to share any stories with us then please feel free to. Have a super day.