BB1043 : The Lion, The Lamb and The Howitzer
(or the easy way up Steel Fell)

Thursday 25th November 2010

Blizzard conditions on Helvellyn at noon being forecast plus a wind chill effect of -18° caused us to rethink our plan for today.  Stay west of the A591 seemed the logical decision so we adopted Stan’s idea of Grasmere, Helm Crag and take it from there.

Approaching  Grasmere, we were coppering up in anticipation of its usurious car parks. But all is forgiven- free parking on the streets until spring bank holiday!!

We took the normal route up Helm Crag (see BB0922), passing en-route a couple of signs I had not seen before.  The first was on a stick across a gate, ostensibly to keep out the deer.

The second was suggesting that the track was "Not For Cars".  I don’t remember that when I took my Morris Minor (867MMM- what would that number be worth today?) up there in 1966.  Could that be why it later failed its MOT due to a broken chassis??

Helm Crag

Not For Cars

Looking over Silver Howe to the Coniston fells

The early steep section

Looking back to Grasmere

On the way up, after the early steep section, we met an Australian lady with a slightly oddball English boyfriend.  He asked if this was the right way to Helm Crag and we asked him if he intended to go to the summit.  He obviously understood the significance as he referred to Wainwright’s failure so to do.  He did.  

We had already decided that it was not the day for such heroics so it might have come as something of a surprise when Stan leapt onto the Howitzer to show how it is done.  

On the other hand it might not,  

This is Stan we are talking about and there was no way he was going to let anyone upstage him on home territory!

BOOTboys honour was protected.

To be fair, the boyfriend also made a decent fist of the ascent and, more importantly, the descent.

Stan conquers the Howizer

The Lion, the Lamb and.....

..... the Howitzer

Coniston Old Man and Langdales with Easedale Tarn in the foreground

Gibson Knott ahead, Steel Fell to the right

As we progressed over to Gibson Knott we could see two noon time storms building up.

Firstly, the clouds were gathering over Helvellyn and the blizzard was threatening to head our way.  

Secondly, Tony’s inner storm if we didn’t stop for lunch.  

Accordingly, we headed down into the crags to find shelter.  We were just on the divide.  To our right, the blizzard, although to be fair, it was more of a blizzette.  To our left, bright sunshine.  Indeed, had it not been for the wind, I do believe that Tony would have nodded off after his butties and hot Bovril.

Lunch time view

Tony at rest

Comitibus: Gibson Knott

After both storms had abated, we continued on around the head of the valley and made our way over to Steel Fell.  This was the easy way up.  Previously (BB0705 and BB0718) I have climbed this alongside the fence from Dunmail Raise- a really brutal ascent.  This was very gentle in comparison, enlivened by the ever changing light on the distant fells.

Helvellyn from near Steel Fell

Coniston Fells in the changing light

Thirlmere with Skiddaw and Blencathra behind

Steel Fell descent plus Helm Crag

To return to Grasmere, we had decided to go down the nose of Steel Fell which Stan had promised was a pleasant walk.  An understatement.  It is almost up there with Kirkfell as a spectacular descent and it provided a clear view of the Lion, the Lamb and the Howitzer.

The Lion, the Lamb and the Howitzer

Oh, those pretty little ewes!

Tony wants to buy this house

One for Margaret

On reaching the road back to the village, we passed a ram, content in his role in life, some Grasmere washing and a house that Tony covets.

All things considered, this circumnavigation of the Greenburn Valley proved to be a splendid outing, with some spectacular cloud effects over the hills.

Who needs bright, warm, sunny, cloudless days?

Don, 25th November 2010




Thursday 25th November 2010

Distance in miles:


Height climbed in feet:



Helm Crag, Gibson Knott, Steel Fell

Other Features:



Don, Tony, Stan


If you have Memory Map on your computer, you can follow the route in detail by downloading BB1043

To see which Wainwright top was visited on which BB outing see
Which Wainwright When?

For the latest totals of the mileages and heights see: BB Log.



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2010 Outings

BB1001 :
The Most Perfect
 Winter Day
Thursday 7th January

BB1002 :
 Potter Fell
Thursday 14th January

BB1003 :
A Snowy Equipment Test

Thursday 21st January

BB1004 :
Leave It To The Professionals

Thursday 28th January

BB1005 :
That's A Lyth Record
Sunday 31st January 

BB1006 :
Reasons To Be Cheerful
One, Two, Three
Thursday 11th February

BB1007 :
Can You See Clearly Now?
Thursday 18th February

BB1008 :
In Memory Of
Thomas Williamson
Thursday 25th February

BB1009 :
Almost a Mountaineer!
Wednessday 3rd March

BB1010 :
The Beginning Of The End
Thursday 11th March

BB1011 :
The Free Men on Tuesday
Tuesday 16th March

BB1012 :
We'll Get Them In Singles,
Thursday 25th March

BB1013 :
The Fools on the Hill
Thursday 1st April

BB1014 :
The Windmills on the Moor
Wednesday 7th April

BB1015 :
By Lake, Ridge and Wainwright
Sunday 11th April

BB1016 :
The Ten Lake Tour (+5Ws)
Thursday 15th April

BB1017 :
The BessyBOOT
Thursday 22nd April

BB1018 :
The Kentmere Challenge
Saturday 24th April

BB1019 :
Winter in Springtime
Thursday 14th May

BB1020 :
Red Screes and Sausages
Thursday 20th May

BB1021 :
The Mile High Club
Thursday 27th May

BB1022 :
What A Difference A Day Makes
Thursday 3rd June

BB1023 :
Something Brutal
Thursday 10th June

BB1024 :
Rendezvous on Haycock
Thursday 17th June

BB1025 :
The Men of Gragareth
Thursday 24th June

BB1026 :
The Smardale Round
Thursday 1st July

BB1027 :
Don't Shun The Shunner!
Thursday 8th July

BB1028 :
All Around the Edge
Thursday 29th July

BB1029 :
The Return of Uncle Jamie
Thursday 5th August

BB1030 :
The Examination Results
Thursday 12h August

BB1031 :
Nick by Haggis
Thursday 19th August

BB1032 :
And Then There Were Two
Thursday 26th August

BB1033 :
A Surplus of Sheepfolds
Thursday 2nd September

BB1034 :
A Good One For Tony
Thursday 23rd September

BB1035 :
The Wainwright Triathlon
Tuesday 21st - Thursday 23rd

BB1036 :
The Nine Standards
or The Battle Of Birkett Hills
Thursday 30th September

BB1037 :
This Is The Way
The Wainwrights End
Thursday 7th October

BB1038 :
A Return To Sanity?
Thursday 14th October

BB1039 :
A Succession of Scars
Thursday 21st October

BB1040 :
Three Old Men Of Lochnagar
Monday 25th - Friday 29th October

BB1041 :
A Whinash Winterscleugh Wander
Wednesday 10th November

BB1042 :
The Rusland Round
Thursday 18th November

BB1043 :
The Lion, The Lamb and
The Howitzer
Thursday 25th November

BB1044 :
Down Memory Lane
Thursday 2nd December

BB1045 :
A Cold Comes Out
Thursday 9th December


BSB2010 :
boys in Zillertal
Saturday 30th January
to Saturday 6th February

 Click on the photos
for an enlargement
or related large picture.


To see which Wainwright top was visited on which
BB outing see
Which Wainwright When?.

To download a log of heights and miles and which Wainwrights have been done by which BOOTboy in the "modern" era, i.e. since the advent of BOOTboys
click on BB Log.