The walk up to the 'Lion and the Lamb', the summit crags of Helm Crag, is one of the most popular in the Lake District. Our walk takes us beyond this popular route onto the ridge behind Helm Crag, visiting the lonely summits of Gibson Knott and Calf Crag, before returning to Grasmere along Far Easedale, a rugged valley given added charm by a series of waterfalls.
Length: 8 miles
Map: The English Lakes - South Eastern Area (OS Explorer Map Active)
Last Walked: June 2010
We start from the car park between the roundabout on the A 591 and the village of Grasmere.
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Turn right out of the car park. Follow the road as it crosses the river bridge, then curves around to the right, passing the church. This brings us to the famous gingerbread shop. From here the road runs fairly straight towards two large hotels, then turns left, while a smaller alley (college street) runs on straight ahead. Follow this alley, which runs past some interesting shops, before bringing us back to the main village road next to a book shop.
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We are now at a crossroads, where College Street and Easedale Road meet Broadstreet. Head straight across this crossroads and head up Easedale Road. We follow Easedale Road for just under a mile. For the first half mile we pass between a fairly constant stream of houses. The road then turns sharply right, then left, and runs along the right of an open field, heading towards another cluster of buildings.
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After passing between the first few buildings the road splits. The better quality road heads left, while our route turns right, and climbs up straight towards the crags on the southern end of Helm Crag. This road soon turns into a very rough track. This track passes through a gate then turns left. Just after this look out for a gated footpath that leaves to the right. Take this turn and follow the signposted path through the trees and onto the slopes of Helm Crag. From here to the top the route is rather straightforward - follow the obvious well maintained footpath as it follows a clever route up through the crags onto Helm Crag's fascinating summit ridge.
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From the summit continue on along the obvious path that follows the ridge all the way over Gibson Knott
and Calf Grag. After dropping down from Helm Crag into Bracken Hause, this path climbs up onto Gibson Knott. It then maintains roughly the same altitude until we reach the start of the steep climb at the eastern end of Calf Crag
. Be warned - there are several false summits to be overcome before you reach the true summit of Calf Crag, which is towards the western end of the fell.
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The path then continues on across Brownrigg Moss, before dropping down to a pass and a crossroads. Turn left onto the clear path that runs down into Far Easedale. Follow this path all the way down the valley, crossing Easedale Back on a footbridge at Stythwaite Steps. After this the path soon becomes a rough lane. This passes the gate onto the footpath up Helm Crag, then brings us back onto the rough track at the end of Easedale Road. From here retrace your steps back along the road into Grasmere.