Helm Crag and Steel Fell

Friday 15 April 2016. I had planned to do Ingleborough today with Jacqui but she injured her should and cried off. Instead, I met Linda for the final time on this holiday to do Helm Crag (Jacqui’s favourite fell) with a descent down Steel Fell. We parked just outside of Grasmere on the side of the temporarily closed A591. The tourist route up Helm Crag is straight out of Grasmere and then head north. Our route took to the north side and less visited side of Helm Crag fell. We climbed almost 800ft up a zig-zag path to Bracken Hause before turning south to visit the summit of Helm Crag (The Lion and The Lamb) and The Howitzer. It is normally very busy up here but today there were just four other walkers.

After a coffee break we set off on a ridge walk which had many ups and downs along the way. We only met 3 other walkers on this section of the route, one of whom stopped for a chat. He was doing his 4th Coast-to-Coast. Our route should have taken us around the tarn at Brownrigg Moss but this is a very boggy area and we took a short cut from the cairn just to the west of Calf Crag. It was still very boggy across here with the water almost overtopping my boots. It was at this point where we met a group of young lads (DofE?) who were heading for Rosthwaite. Although this was only 4 or 5 miles away, they had to cross Greenup Edge and descend down Greenup Gill. Not an easy task, having walked that way myself. The last of these lads was in tears and was really struggling. I asked him what was wrong and he told me that he’d damaged his groin. I offered him pain killers which he refused. My parting words were to check that he knew how to call out Mountain Rescue. It may be coincidence but an hour or so later a helicopter was repeatedly circling the area that they were in. I hope that the poor lad got a lift off the hill.

Leaving the bogs behind, we had a few more ups and downs on the way to the summit of Steel Fell (1,814ft). It was all downhill from here to the pub, just 100 yards from the car, for a well-deserved drink and a bowl of chips. The pub was almost empty and the barman told me that trade was down by 70% due to the road closure. The walk 7¾ miles with a total ascent of 2,235ft.

Helm Crag – walk route

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