The Greenburn Horseshoe

25th August 2010

For the past few weeks as you know I’ve been struggling to get back on the Fells, mostly due to the god awful rain the North West or indeed much of the country has been experiencing, panic kind of started setting in approaching the last few weekends  prior the Football season kicking back off again, I’d warned the Mrs Ill be on the Fells as much as possible leading up to the Season, & as we all know it bucketed down from the beginning of July right through August & all my plans had been washed down the drain, I even averted to local walks just to get boots on, as the Bank Holiday approaches again this weekend again I find myself booked up & unable to get out.

So there was only one thing to do, hastily book a day of work & get planning, now I hadn’t much on my mind where to walk as it was a last minute decision, then I remembered a particular photo I took back in January 09 whilst ascending Stone Arthur on route to Fairfield, I remember at the time thinking that looked a classic ridge route, yes I recognised Helm Crag as a previous fell I’d walked but this whole ‘Horseshoe ridge walk’ was new to me, back then I was nowhere near as serious about fell walking as I am now, I just knew one day I’m going to walk that Horse shoe & I’d forgotten all about it untill I started thinking where to go, so here it is… hope you enjoy it as much as I did


Wainwright Guidebook

The Central Fells



Ascent: 2,456 Ft, 758 Mtrs
Wainwrights: 4, Helm Crag, Gibson Knott, Calf Crag, Steel Fell
Weather: Lows of 14 ° Warm & Overcast, Highs of 16°
Parking: Grasmere C E Primary School
Area: Central
Miles: 8.5
Walking With: On my own
Ordnance Survey: OL7
Time Taken:  

Map and Photo Gallery



This is the photo I took back in Jan 09, with the start of the walk ‘Helm Crag’ to the left & the ridge route that follows & finishing off on the right ‘Steel Fell’ it was a beautiful winters morning with all the bracken in there winter reds, I cant believe I’d almost forgot about this route!


But first of all I had to start of in Grasmere Village, & this morning I had it all to myself.


The old stone bridge crossing Easedale beck, now if I’d of carried on right down the Easedale road it would of took me to the same spot this bridge does,. mmm,..a tarmac road or this bridge & open fields?


Helm Crag through the trees my first fell of the day, not before crossing New Bridge where I layered down somewhat, I say ‘down’ I mean I unzipped my trousers at the knees turning them into shorts.



It isn’t the particular steepest path & it isn’t really that hot, so why am I sweating!


Looking back on Blind Tarn Cottage.


L to R, Blea Rigg, Sourmilk Gill & Tarn Crags.


Far Easedale lower centre & my ridge route all the way  to Calf Crag on the right, but first I have to summit Helm Crag.




Summit bound, The Lion & The Lamb over shadowing the A591 down below, with Grasmere & Loughrigg Fell on the right.


The morning really is starting to turn out beautiful, here we have the natural bowl formed from the previous ice age of Easedale Tarn, Tarn Crags & in the background is Pavey Ark & Harrison Stickle.


The ever impressive Howitzer, the true Summit of Helm Crag.


Next is my ridge route, & my next Fell of the day Gibson Knott.


And approximately one mile on, Gibson Knott summit cairn.


Looking back along the ridge with Greenburn Bottom taking centre.


Stepping stones!!


On the final approach to Calf Crag.


Calf Crag summit cairn with the Steel Fell ridge in the background.


The unnamed tarn found just below the summit, I’d just been chatting to a fellow walker at the summit for a moment or so, a now local man to the Coniston area originally from Blackburn retired to the lakes for over 8 years & ‘living the dream’ this gentleman had a good twenty years on me  & was as fit as a fiddle, he’d escaped the grand kids of whom him & his wife were minding  for a few days ‘there wrecking the bloody house!’ he said, I had to get out! he was on his way to High Raise & then on to Harrison Stickle, a no mean feat for someone my age never mind in your middle fifties, I could only walk away humbled, especially when he spoke about his Wainwrights, looking down to his boots, I did them many years ago…


Making my way over to Steel Tarn now & the stomachs making all sorts of weird noises, so its out with the tuna sandwiches I’d made last night & perch my self on this nicely positioned rock.


I think I have a visitor..


That’s one tame duck!


I think I’ve definitely found a friend!


I’m making good time, but looking over to the ridge I walked earlier seems such a long time ago now.


The grassy plateau of Steel Fell’s ridge, this route incorporates quite a few false summits, more so on the other ridge,.I’m not too far from the summit now.


‘Dead Pike’ the true summit of Steel Fell,  with the head of Greenburn just behind, the ridge in the background is Greenup Edge & High Raise.


Thirlmere the Wyth Burn Fells & a distant Blencathra from the second cairn on Steel Fell summit.


Time to descend Steel Fell, with a great view of Helm Crag & beyond.


Front to back we have my ridge route & Gibson Knott, Blea Rigg & a distant shot of Wetherlam, Swirl How Great Cars & finally Grey Friar.


The huge mass that is Seat Sandal .


Dunmail Raise, Dollywagon Pike, Nethermost Pike & the Helvellyn range.


Looking back in to Greenburn Bottom.

I think I could manage to live there

St Oswold’s church Grasmere, the burial place of William Wordsworth, & looking a lot busier than this morning, this ridge route comes highly highly recommended & should keep me going for a few weeks until I’m back exploring theses wonderful fells


Back to top