22nd September 2012
a random sample of Britons to name an iconic view of
the Lake District and in third place, after Ashness
Bridge and the Langdale Pikes, will most likely be Helm
Crag, as seen across Grasmere. Not that they will
know it by that name. More likely they will refer
to the Lion & the Lamb (of which there are actually
other Lion & the Lamb is only seen from the north
and is the real top of Helm Crag. More often it is referred
to as the Old Man playing the Organ or, more commonly,
the same sample to name which of the Wainwrights did
the Great Man fail to reach the summit and, unless they
have read his books, they are most unlikely to suggest that
it is this relatively modest hill, topping out at only
1,299 feet. However, it is those last thirty feet
or so up the Howitzer that are the real challenge- steep
with a false move rewarded by a terrifying drop from
the overhanging pinnacle.
the going up is not that hard (Yes, I have done it-
It's the coming down that is tricky because, for
part of the way, you can't see where your feet should
go. Fortunately, when I did it, I had three experts
with me to call out the movements.
over, it came as a bit of a shock to me when Margaret
said that she hadn't been up Helm Crag for about forty
years. It was time to put that right. Fortunately,
she just wanted to what Wainwright had done. This
was a relief as I am far from sure that I could still
climb the Howitzer, never mind guide her up and down
It was early afternoon on a rare bright sunny day
when we parked in a busy Grasmere and set off up the
Easedale road. Are Edward VII postboxes rare?
I would have thought so.
a garden, Margaret spotted a summerhouse that she wanted
to take home. Fortunately I was able to distract
her with a fine view of our objective.
As ever, there
were not that many of the visitors actually venturing
onto the fells, so although there was a fair amount
of Hello-ing and How-doing, overcrowded it was not.
It is a steep pull up Helm Crag, although much of
the way is now a stone staircase.
near the top, if you take the wrong route,
it can be a bit intimidating for the more nervy walker.
Margaret coped cautiously well,
deserving her coffee
and choccy reward by the summit slab whilst enjoying
the view over to Easedale Tarn and the Langdales
to the west and Fairfield to the east.
She was a bit worried about the descent but our intention
was to drop down the eastern side to the Green Burn valley.
After a short rocky section, it was thereafter
an easy zigzag that looks like it has been put in by
the Fix the Fells people but is much less visually intrusive
than the horror above Kentmere.
Nearing the bottom, I felt something on my leg which
I discovered was an engorged tick. Whether it had lunched
on me or was just looking for its dessert, I don't know,
but it flicked off easily without seemingly leaving
its head and pincers behind so, hopefully, there will be no after-effects. I remarked to Margaret that it was a good
job there were no deer in the area so I needn't worry
about Lyme disease. To cheer me up, she pointed
out that on our way up Easedale, we had passed a house
with a deer fence!!! Aggghhh! Please make sure
that you know the symptoms of Lyme disease and keep
an eye on me!
The path soon meets the (very) minor road, past
an ancient farmhouse (1577) with a garden that Margaret
much admired, then the
secluded house reputed to be owned by Sting. It
was now late afternoon and Chateau Sting is on the
dark side of the hill- not a position I would choose
if I had his money.
was an unusual sight in one of the fields. Many
around here have large numbers of sheep in them.
Quite a lot have one, two or three rams entertaining
themselves by painting their ladies' backs. But this
field had at least a dozen fine looking rams of various
ages, judging by their horns. Yet there was not
a single ewe to be seen.
we were back in Grasmere where we had a disagreement
as to whether the Miller Howe cafe would be open. It
was resolved that if it were, then Margaret would pay
but if it were not, I would pay. How come, then,
that it was open but I had to pay???
22nd September 2012
5.2 miles; Height climbed:
E-mail addresses on this web site are protected
Spam Trawlers will be further frustrated
help fight spam e-mail!