The second walk of my challenge took me and my hiking companions from the previous day to four Wainwright summits in a short 5.3 mile route just north of Grasmere. On the advice of my friend Dan, who had walked the area several times before, we altered the route in Mr Marshall’s book and omitted High Raise. This shortened the walk by a good 5 miles and lowered the ascent by over 1000 feet, yet added on a mere mile to a future hike (High Raise is a simple stroll from Sergeant Man).
As is often the case with British weather, the glorious sunshine of the previous day’s outing had been replaced by cold, drizzly rain that hit us face on as we ascended up Steel Fell.
Steel Fell - 553m (1,814ft)
After swiftly admiring the long stretch of Thirlmere lake from the summit, the four of us sheltered in Dan's bothy bag to eat our sandwiches before heading on to Calf Crag.
Calf Crag - 537m (1,762ft)
Thankfully the rain eased as we ambled on to join the ridge walk to Gibson Knott, a summit which gives you a splendid view of the crater cradling Easedale Tarn.
Gibson Knott - 422m (1,385ft)
Continuing along this rocky ridge will take you to The Howitzer, which is deemed the true summit of Helm Crag, although I’m not in the camp that believe you must get up this bulk of rock to claim you’ve ‘bagged’ Helm Crag. After all, Wainwright himself didn’t even attempt it.
Despite climbing The Howitzer myself (with quite a lot of help I might add) it wasn’t easy, and therefore I'd only recommend it to those adept at scrambling and who have a companion to call on in case they injure themselves in their effort.
Personally, I prefer the east top of Helm Crag, also known as The Lion and the Lamb. Not only is it much easier to reach, but it also gives you a beautiful view over the Coniston fells in the distance, Grasmere in the valley below, and my favourite fell: Loughrigg, where I would eventually complete my challenge after I’d summitted a further 196 Wainwrights.
Helm Crag - 405m (1,329ft)