Last Saturday, after our visit to Abbot Hall and Blackwell we headed over to Grasmere where we stayed overnight in a very nice B and B in the centre of the village – the Mossgrove Organic Hotel. It had been a nice day but during the evening it started to rain. Sunday morning we woke to heavy mist but after it cleared we could see that the big fells to the East of the village were covered in snow.
We had planned to go for a walk on that side of the valley, but seeing that the hills to the west were largely clear, with only a smattering of snow at the top, we decided we’d exercise caution and plan a route over the ridge of fells on the north side of Easedale. I’d followed the route a few years ago, walking clockwise, but this time we decided we’d go round the other way, starting by climbing Helm Crag, also known as The Lion and the Lamb. That gave us the option of deciding how far along the ridge we wanted to go – we could turn back if we felt we’d had enough. If you go clockwise, you’re committed.
This is the view of Helm Crag walking across the valley near Allan Bank.
Along the river towards the hills
It’s a gentle climb at first, through woodland where Dorothy Wordsworth used to wander.
Looking over to the other side of the valley towards Silver How
Then a steep, but relatively short, ascent to the summit.
Looking back, there were great views over Grasmere
Looking across Easedale we could see the Sour Milk Gill, Easedale Tarn and the hills where we’d walked just a few weeks before.
And to the east we could see the big fells of the Fairfield Horseshoe covered with the previous night’s snowfall
We finally reached the Howitzer at the summit
There was a smattering of snow on the shady side of the summit
Looking south we could see the tops of the Coniston Fells
and the Langdale Pikes
After a short rest we set off along the ridge towards the next hill – Gibson Knott- looking back to glance at the one we’d just climbed
Onwards along the ridge
Looking back along the ridge towards Helm Crag and Grasmere from close to the summit of Calf Crag
and down into Far Easedale
It was treacherous underfoot in places and difficult to negotiate the quagmire
The view along Far Easedale from the summit of Calf Crag
We passed the small tarn
and then located the path that took us down towards the valley. We reached the cairn at the head of the valley where a number of paths met
and took the one that descended down the valley following the Far Easdale Gill back to Grasmere
in rugged countryside.
Looking back towards the head of the valley
Looking up at the ridge we’d traversed
Coming towards the end of Far Easedale. Not too far to Grasmere now and the countryside became more pastoral
We looked across to Lancrigg, now a Vegetarian Hotel, standing below Helm Crag. It was late afternoon by now and the snow had disappeared from the Fairfield Horseshoe
We reached Grasmere and headed back to the car ready to set back for home. The walk had taken a little longer than expected, mainly due to the difficult conditions underfoot along the ridge which slowed down progress. But it’s a fine walk and it was a beautiful Spring day, ideal for walking.
Having walked the route in both directions, I think I prefer going clockwise as I’d done on my walk a few years ago due the views that open up as you walk along the ridge. This time we found ourselves looking back frequently. But going anticlockwise has it’s own attractions and all the hard work is done at the beginning of the walk when you’ve more energy. Either way it’s a good walk – but bear in mind the boggy conditions along the top after Helm Crag.