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Apr 28

Helm Crag from Grasmere 30/03/2014

Helm crag 2014

Distance 15.2km
Total ascent 938m

After driving past Helm crag and seeing the Howitzer from the A591 every time I drove up to Keswick, I decided this was going to be the chosen walk for my 1st days walking for 2014. The weather forecast was good and I was looking forward too it. Noone was available to join me so I was going solo today which meant I could stay for as long as I wanted and could adjust my route as and when I wanted, depending on how I felt. The plan was to climb Helm crag, then onto High raise and Sergeant man and then make my way back to grasmere.

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Helm crag comes into view from from Easedale road

I arrived in Grasmere about 8.30am. There was a bit of a chill in the air but you could tell it was going to be a nice day for walking. Having paid for my parking (£5 for the day) I set off. The village was deserted at this time and it was nice to walk through it and see all the “famous” places (Wordsworths garden and The Grasmere Gingerbread shop) without getting trampled on by hundreds of tourists. After a couple of minutes I was out of the village and it was a gentle stroll on Easedale road until I reached the track to take me up to helm crag.

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Looks harmless enough

After about 5 minutes I arrived at Goody bridge and Helm crag came into view.

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I think the ministry of useless signs had been here!

The track that would lead me up to Helm crag was just before Brimmer head farm. The climbing had started…..

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This was a nice surprise. For me and them!!

It wasn’t long before I had taken a wrong turn and ended up in the grounds of Lancrigg hotel…..

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Taking 5, admiring the view.

After realising my mistake, I turned round and found the right path and carried on the gentle ascent to the top.

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Helm crag summit?

I arrived at the summit, or what I thought was the summit about 20 minutes later.

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Or is the Howitzer the summit?

I have since read that The Howitzer is the “true” summit of Helm crag, although I have to say the rocks on the Eastern edge looked higher to me. Apparently you haven’t reached the top until you climb to the top of The Howitzer, but as there was noone to take my picture doing this, I decided not to bother. Another time maybe?

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Onwards

After a few minutes rest on Helm crag I set off for my next target which was Gibson Knott. After the climb up to Helm crag it was nice to be walking on the relatively flat ridge for a while.

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Gibson Knott

It took about 10 minutes to reach Gibson Knott and I didn’t spend much time there as I wanted to get to the end of the ridge walking part in good time.

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Steel fell beyond the cairn on Gibson Knott

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Admiring the vew of the Easedale valley

Just before I reached Calf Crag I decided to rest a while and take in the views of the Easedale valley and look back on the ridgeline where I had walked.

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Calf crag

After my rest It didn’t take long to reach Calf Crag, my 3rd Wainwright of the day. My next targets were High Raise and Sergeant Man which meant a slight descent before a steady climb.

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Looking back to where i’ve come from

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There was still some pockets of snow left

A slight navigation error meant I couldn’t be bothered retracing some steps in order to get to High Raise so I made the decision to save that one for another day and head straight for Sergeant Man.

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Pavey ark and Harrison Stickle come into view

Once I had reached the top of the small climb I was surprised to see Pavey ark and Harrison Stickle come into view. I don’t know why I was surprised as its there in front of me on my map (must pay more attention).

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Sergeant Man

It was good to see Sergeant Man as I had missed it out on a previous day in the Lakes when I did the Langdale pikes.

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The view from Sergeant Man, Great gable in the distance

After reaching the summit of Sergeant man, I spent some time admiring the glorious views which included Great Gable, which is my favourite hill in the lakes.

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Blea rigg and my way back to Grasmere

From Sergeant Man, I could see my route back which would take me on Blea rigg until The path that would lead me too Easedale tarn.

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My new favourite place to rest.

While walking on Blea rigg I could see a great view of Pavey ark and Stickle tarn was opening up to me. I couldn’t resist a slight detour to have a final bite too eat and take in the great view for a while longer.

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Codale tarn(left) and Easedale tarn(right)

Food eaten and the view admired I retraced my steps to the path home. The walking was easy from here on in, just a reasonably gentle descent all the way to Grasmere.

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Tarn crag and Easedale tarn

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One of the waterfalls of sour milk gill. It looked very inviting….

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Sour milk gill

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Helm crag and almost back to where it all started.

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Goody bridge and back to civilization.

On returning to Grasmere, the contrast in the amount of people from when I set off, to now, was amazing, what a busy place it is ( I queued up for 10 minutes in the Grasmere Gingerbread shop before i’d had enough of waiting). I was glad I set off early and beat the rush. On reflection I have to say this was one of my favourite walks I have done, the amazing views and the lack of people I saw made it a special day for me. I would certainly recommend it to anyone.

 

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