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Calf, Steel, Gibson and Helm - a morning's dash

PostPosted: Wed Oct 06, 2010 6:17 pm
by old danensian
The most difficult thing about an early morning start in Grasmere was the smell. It seemed to be everywhere, wafting down every lane and hanging in the air as you turned each corner. It was that time of day. It was the by-product of every other property. It was the aroma of bacon being cooked for scores and scores of breakfasts: a far cry from my frugal muesli supplemented by a cereal bar as I drove over Dunmail.

However, once the hunger-inducing atmosphere had been left behind I could concentrate on the objective for the remaining morning I had left in the Lakes – Helm Crag by the back door. I just didn’t fancy going up by the standard route and also thought that Steel Fell would be worth a visit, possibly giving different views of the familiar tops above Grasmere. So, I’d go out to Calf Crag, pop over to Steel Fell, then cross back to Gibson Knott before ending up on Helm Crag.

Calf Crag above Easdale

The path to Far Easdale, out over the Goody Bridge was the kind of comfortable exercise you hope for. Height was gained gradually as distance was paced out almost effortlessly; within seventy five minutes the col below the final slopes of Calf Crag had been reached and ten minutes later the views could be enjoyed.

Calf Crag and Gibson Knott

An indeterminate and occasional path across to the obvious ridge of Steel Fell was then followed and the top reached after another half an hour, from where you look down on Helm Crag.

Helvellyn and Fairfield in the background - Steel Fell from Calf Crag

Helvellyn from Steel Fell

Any aspiration to quickly contour round to the next objective of Gibson Knott was thwarted by peat hags that form the head of the Greenburn valley. Once I’d leapt over, into and around various gloopy-looking pools and circumnavigated a variety of peat “cliffs” I realised that it would have been quicker just to have gone back to Calf Crag and taken the established path from there – I know, that’s why it’s there.

Anyway, once over these obstacles and the rocks of Gibson Knott I was heading for the slope up to Helm Crag. It was there that met my first walkers of the day and joined the stream of visitors that this spot must attract. From the line of others passed on my down, it was due to be a busy afternoon.

Langdale Pikes and Easdale Tarn from Helm Crag

Helm Crag

Nevertheless, it had been a good morning out, and on the way round I’d managed to mark off the 100th Wainwright on my list – I’m sure there are others, but a few decades without recording them means that I don’t have either the memory or the photographic record of some - I’ll have to await that déjà vu sensation.

Re: Calf, Steel, Gibson and Helm - a morning's dash

PostPosted: Thu Oct 07, 2010 11:25 pm
by mountain coward
Haven't done any of those for ages - I really like Gibson Knott and Steel Fell, especially the route down Cotra Breast... This is what it looked like when I last did the round (quite a few years ago now - actually tempted Richard up into all that icy stuff!)
Snowy Helvellyn fm icy Steel Fell.jpg