Anyone who is a lover of Wainwright and the Lake District will know that I am referring to Helm Crag. It has got to be one of the most popular climbs in the area. I was there with John who was doing a reccee for a future walk.
We started our walk from Grasmere and took the footpath through Butharlyp Howe. This was the first land that William Wordsworth suggested should belong to the Nation and although he solicited the help of Queen Victoria and King Leopold of Belgium, it was to no avail. As we headed up towards Goody Bridge the sky was clearing and it promised to be a fine day.
Soon we reached the entrance to Greenburn Valley, a typical hanging valley, complete with the bed of a glacial lake and moraines.
Looking back we could see the Helm Crag ridge where we would be later in the day.
The beck had been on our left but at some point we had to cross it. Fortunately there were some stepping stones and the beck was not in spate despite the recent heavy rainfall.
We paused by a sheepfold to shelter from the wind whilst we ate our lunch. Looking across the valley we saw a herd of deer slowly making their way down the hillside. They stopped to graze barely 200 yards from where we sat. It was a memorably sight.
We now had the steep climb up onto the ridge.
We made a short diversion to our right to climb up to the Pike of Carrs for the views of the Far Easedale valley and a photo opportunity.
We now made our way along the ridge over Moment Crag and Gibson Knott.
The path was clear but there were some tricky moments and you had to concentrate as there were some steep crags on either side of the path. As we gained height we could see Easedale Tarn glinting in the distance.
Soon we were at the foot of the climb up to Helm Crag.
The are two sets of rocks on the summit ridge both of which lay claim to the title ‘The Lion and the Lamb’ The one at the north-west end of the ridge is also referred to as ‘The Lion Couchant ‘or ‘The Howitzer’
The top of this rock is the true summit of the fell at 1299 feet. You cannot really say you have climbed Helm Crag if you have not reached the top of this rock. Should I give it a go?
Common sense took over. I have still not officially climbed Helm Crag.
We made our way to the rocks at the south-east end of the summit ridge. The are the ‘official’ Lion and the Lamb when viewed from the valley close to the Swan Hotel.
We had hardly seen another person all day but close to the summit we were overtaken by four walkers. They were from Australia and were here to do the ‘Coast to Coast walk’
After resting at the summit we began our descent. It was very steep and although it is now mainly a man made path it was hard going especially of the knees.
At the base of the fell we walked through Lancrigg Wood passing a rock bearing an inscription.
It translates as :-
On the brow Dorothy Wordsworth used to sit while she wrote down the lines of poetry composed by her brother as he walked to and fro.
It had been a wonderful day out. Only just over 8 miles but full of interest. Quiet and peaceful. We had seen more deer than people.
John had led me on a great walk but now he led me astray! On the way home we called in at the Hawkeshead Brewery in Staveley for a pint of Lakeland Gold. At 4.4% it was a refreshing bitter. Just what we needed.