Grasmere Gallivant

Helm Crag, Gibson Knott, Calf Crag & Steel Fell in the Central Fells.

I am pleased to say that my visit to find out more about the Fix the Fells team, kick-started my fell bagging again after a fall last year put things on hold, knocking my confidence a bit. The fells are very different terrain from the grassy, rounded hills of the Cheviots where I started walking.

It was a pleasure to head off on this short 7 mile round. My book calls this walk, which starts from Grasmere and includes Helm Crag, Gibson Knott, Calf Crag and Steel Fell in the Central Fells, the Greenburn Round, but I am using the Grasmere round as it will be more familiar. Armed with my trekking poles (still an experiment), a fulsome packed lunch from Grasmere YHA, and my new Harvey mountain map of the Lakes, there was nothing for it but to strike out towards the fells.


Grasmere glinting in the sun

Although it was an overcast day, the rain luckily held back until I returned to Grasmere later that day. The route up to Helm Crag switches to and fro up well maintained paths for the climb up to the summit at (405m).

Helm Crag

Helm Crag in the Central Fells

I realised as I was walking along the paths which joined the summits, that I had a few people following me. This sort of thing never happens in Northumberland and I felt a sudden pang of responsibility in case I took them the wrong way. I therefore stopped and told them that I wasn’t necessarily going along the right path, just to take the pressure off me and to encourage them to cross check their maps.

Gibson Knott

Path towards Gibson Knott

It was a straightforward hike along narrow paths to Gibson Knott, the next summit (420m) where I paused to take in the wonderful views all around.

Gibson Knot Cairn

Gibson Knott in the Central Fells

From here the path became wilder and rockier, and the skies were darkening as I climbed towards the slightly higher Calf Crag (537m) where I stopped for lunch.

Calf Crag

Calf Crag in the Central Fells

I continued around a small tarn which isn’t named on the map. I was struggling to locate the indistinct path which turns sharply north eastwards around the head of the Greenburn valley towards Steel Fell. Luckily another walker told me that I should simply follow the iron fence posts to the summit. Easy once you know. The fence posts take you across a boggy plateau, before beginning the gentle ascent up the undulating shoulder of the fell towards the summit cairn.

Steel Fell

Climb to the summit of Steel Fell

As I reached the summit of Steel Fell (553m) with a view of Thirlmere beyond, I could feel my confidence and enjoyment in the fells returning after my fall.

Steel Fell cairn

Steel Fell overlooking Thirlmere

From the summit it was a straightforward grassy path back down the hill to arrive at Grasmere just as it began to rain. I took a trip to the local cafe for some hot chocolate to celebrate adding four fells to my tally, making a grand total of 8/214. I suppose even Wainwright had to start somewhere.

2 Responses to Grasmere Gallivant

  1. I have really enjoyed reading about your wanders
    I stayed at the YHA on Easedale road over Easter 2010, the group i was with did several of the hills close by, but when some went off & did Helm crag, i wandered down the coffin track to Ambleside

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