George Fisher’s walk of the month: Helm Crag and the Lion and the Lamb

helm crag

To celebrate the re-opening of the A591, the central route through the Lakes linking Keswick with Ambleside that was devastated by last year’s exceptional flooding, we’re featuring a walk that will take you across the new section of road at Dunmail Raise and down to Grasmere to start.

This is a circular, half-day walk on lower hills and fells (below 600m) from Grasmere village, visiting one of the most recognisable landmarks in the Lake District: the 'Lion and the Lamb' rock formations on the summit of Helm Crag.

Loop or linear? Loop

Map: OS Explorer OL7 - The English Lakes (SE area)OL5 - The English Lakes (NE area), OL4 - The English Lakes (NW area)
Total distance: 11km (6.8 miles)
Total height gain: 1,115m (3,660ft) 
Start and Finish: Grasmere, OS Grid: NY337074
Unsuitable for: younger children, buggies, wheelchairs
Public transport: the 555 bus service links Keswick with Ambleside on the A591


  1. Grasmere OS Grid: NY336074 
    From Grasmere, follow the Easedale Road heading northwest until you reach the small hamlet of Easedale.
  2. Easedale OS Grid: NY327084 
    About 1.4 km (roughly 0.9 miles) from 1
    From Easedale, take the footpath which zigzags up past White Crag. Be warned - it's a steep one!
  3. Helm Crag OS Grid: NY325094 
    About 1 km (roughly 0.6 miles) from 2
    First summit - Helm Crag. From here, follow the ridge in a northwest direction towards Gibson Knott, and carry on until you reach Calf Crag. The land around here is all National Trust owned.
  4. Calf Crag OS Grid: NY303105 
    About 2.5 km (roughly 1.5 miles) from 3
    At Calf Crag, the ridge widens into a plateau. Take a bearing and head for Steel Fell. On a clear day you will get a great view of Thirlmere Reservoir. Follow the path off Steel Fell towards Helmside.
  5. Helmside OS Grid: NY332095 
    About 3 km (roughly 1.9 miles) from 4
    From Helmside, follow the road heading south back to Grasmere (sorry no footpaths here). Enjoy a nice cup of tea in Grasmere, and maybe a slice of cake.
  6. Grasmere OS Grid: NY338075 
    About 2.1 km (roughly 1.3 miles) from 5
    Back to Grasmere, where the 555 bus heads north or south through the Lakes.

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