Jo writes: The Lake District’s Low Fells offer up the opportunity to take in some spectacular views but on routes that are suitable for the general walker. Helm Crag is one such fell, despite some slightly steep inclines and rocky stretches.
We began our walk at the homely and traditional inn, the ‘Traveller’s Rest’, on the outskirts of Grasmere. The sign in the car park does state that parking is for patrons only, but that you can check with management if spaces are available when not using their facilities. We did this, but with the agreement that we would finish our walk in the bar with a mulled wine or two. Perfect.
If spaces are available, the lay-by at the side of the A591, a few hundred yards before the pub (if travelling northwards), is another excellent place to begin this walk.
The first stretch
We headed down the lane towards the River Rothay and Low Mill Bridge, where we turned right towards Ghyll Foot. Just after the Ghyll Foot Farm buildings the lane heads uphill to reach a gate that opens the way to Green Burn.
Sticking to the lower level path that runs alongside the wall, we crossed the waterfall via the wooden footbridge and began the fairly steep ascent up towards the ridge of Bracken Hause. The climb is made a great deal easier because the grassy footpath zigzags its’ way to the top. Make sure you stop regularly and turn around so as not to miss the views back down the valley across the beautiful bracken.
6.5km – 4 miles
Not today but possibility
On leads at certain points
Relatively easy with a steep but meandering track up to the top
Once at Bracken Hause we veered off up to the left to reach the summit, stopping at the rock formation known as ‘The Lion and the Lamb’. From here we went to the true summit of Helm Crag, the Howitzer. This is large rocky outcrop that is so recognisable from the A591 below. An interesting fact about the Howitzer… It is the only Wainwright fell summit that Alfred Wainwright himself never reached.
Whilst there is nothing too difficult about this walk, the descent from the Howitzer down towards Grasmere village is quite steep at times. The path eventually winds down towards Easedale Beck where you can follow the lanes back to your starting point. As promised, we ended our walk with a mulled wine and a pint of Guinness in the warmth of the Traveller’s Rest.
Along the way (things to look out for on your OS map)