Helm Crag, Gibson Knot, Calf Crag and Far Easedale

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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.

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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.

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Along the river towards the hills

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It’s a gentle climb at first, through woodland where Dorothy Wordsworth used to wander.

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Looking over to the other side of the valley towards Silver How

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Then a steep, but relatively short, ascent to the summit.

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Looking back, there were great views over Grasmere

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Looking across Easedale we could see the Sour Milk Gill, Easedale Tarn and the hills where we’d walked just a few weeks before.

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And to the east we could see the big fells of the Fairfield Horseshoe covered with the previous night’s snowfall

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We finally reached the Howitzer at the summit

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There was a smattering of snow on the shady side of the summit

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Looking south we could see the tops of the Coniston Fells

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and the Langdale Pikes

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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

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Onwards along the ridge

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Looking back along the ridge towards Helm Crag and Grasmere from close to the summit of Calf Crag

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and down into Far Easedale

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It was treacherous underfoot in places and difficult to negotiate the quagmire

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The view along Far Easedale from the summit of Calf Crag

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We passed the small tarn

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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

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and took the one that descended down the valley following the Far Easdale Gill back to Grasmere

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Passing waterfalls

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in rugged countryside.

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Looking back towards the head of the valley

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Looking up at the ridge we’d traversed

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Coming towards the end of Far Easedale. Not too far to Grasmere now and the countryside became more pastoral

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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

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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.

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15 thoughts on “Helm Crag, Gibson Knot, Calf Crag and Far Easedale

    • Climbing those hills certainly does get the old heart pumping!
      I love the Lake District. A small area with diddy mountains compared to what you have in the US but lovely none the less. Not surprising that it inspired Wordswborth and his fellow Romantic Poets and other artists.

      • What I like about the look of your mountains is that they look hikeable without having to bring survival gear. Someday I will experience them – maybe in daffodil season.

      • They can be deceptive and dangerous enough if the weather turns and/ or you haven’t got the right gear. But if you have, most of the time they’re relatively safe.

      • Ps. I’m from Canada and yes, I’m a bit of a mountain snob being from the west coast but I love the accessibility of the hikes you go on. And of course all the history of your country and countryside.

  1. By coincidence, I’ve just posted a write up of a walk along Far Easedale! It looks like you had a really perfect day for it – lovely photos.

    • It was a perfect day for a walk. Temperature just right, sunshine, no wind and views of snow topped hills without having to walk through the white stuff. A quagmire underfoot in places though.
      Just read your post. A much more ambitious walk than ours! Can’t help but admire your daughter tackling a long, tough route. A good achievemnet. Not bad for her dad either, I guess 😉

      • She’s wanted to do something like this for ages. We did a very short version (to Arnside and back, the next village) when she was four, and then a section of Hadrian’s Wall a few years ago. Hopefully more of the same will follow before too long.

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