Saturday, 4 July 2015

Green Burn Skyline, Grasmere

Looking back to Steel Fell from Calf Crag
Grasmere from Gibson Knott
On Gibson Knott, Steel Fell behind
Thirlmere and Blencathra from Gibson Knot

Sunday, 28 June 2015
Ascent:        635 metres
Distance:     13 kilometres
Time:          2 hours 27 minutes
Steel Fell            552m              43mins
Calf Crag           537m        1hr 15mins
Gibson Knott     420m        1hr 41mins
Helm Crag         396m        1hr 56mins

It had been a wet day and I had been thoroughly soaked during my morning run. We were reduced to a couple of hours cruising round the outdoor shops in Ambleside, not that I need anything but a bargain is a bargain and Smartwool socks at half price qualified. By 3:30pm, there were signs of the day improving so we decided on an evening walk. I had never walked around the Green Burn skyline from Steel Fell to Helm Crag just north of Grasmere. It would give Gregor three unclimbed Wainwright hills. He had first walked and run up Helm Crag as a three year old as we passed a large, and mainly grumpy, school party of 11 year olds. Their frustrated teacher harangued them by bawling at them "Look that toddler can do it why not you lot!"

We drove over to Grasmere and on to Town Head where we found a space for parking by squeezing onto the verge and proceeded up  a road and good track for a kilometre until Holmside.  We passed through a gate onto the open fell and then followed the grassy path that climbs steadily up Steel Fell at a friendly gradient. The views were opening up to the north and east and we made good time to the summit of Steel Fell.

The trek over to Calf Crag is an undulating ridge, the type that makes walking a pleasure with the views ever changing and the temperature perfect for walking. We had a great viw of Easedale Tarn where we had last walked when Gregor was a few months old and strapped onto his mother, whilst I cajoled our two and four year olds to climb with the promise of an ice cream when we got down. We had a great view of Green Burn 'bottom' as we reached Calf Crag. There is a descent and slight rise as we sauntered along the ridge to Gibson's Knott. It was a glorious evening and a reminder that the best walks are often conjured out of impromptu decisions. We didn't have any food with us but it was a good place for a some water and chance to admire the surrounding fells.

From here the ridge drops to a col before a short climb to Helm Crag, also known as the Lion and the Lamb, which is the profile that is seen from the A591 just north of the Traveller's Rest. We spent a few minutes scrambling on the crags before returning to the col and finding an easy path that zig zagged down to a footbridge over the Green Burn. There was a serene walk along there burn to Holmside and back to car at Town End. This had been a perfect outing on a peaceful summer evening. I am beginning to think that these walks are better exercise - no blisters or aching feet - and certainly more enjoyable than the 10 hour walks over the usually wet and pathless Scottish mountains followed by a two hour journey home that have been my staple diet for the past 25 years. 

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