" " Lake District Trails and Ales: April 2009

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

Helm Crag, April 11th 2009

This walk was a difficult walk for us as it was our first walk since our 16 year old Rough Collie was put to sleep earlier in the month. We knew before we set off that walking in the Lakes would not be the same without our dog, even though he had missed the last few walks due to old age. You simply get used to them being there, and its hard, very hard, when they are not.
Once again though we had wonderful weather for a walk up Helm Crag. We parked on the verge on the main road as Grasmere is always jampacked with cars.  A brisk walk towards the village and then a left after a bridge takes you onto a footpath that follows the stream until it rejoins the road that heads up the Easdale valley. Ahead lies Helm Crag, in all its glory, with a lovely ridge way walk over Gibson's Knott and Pike of Carrs. After a shortish walk along the road, we took a right turn to start our walk up the crag.  The walk up provides superb views back over Grasmere water and Loufrigg fell. 
At the top the boys scrambled up the Howitzer, which looks nothing from ground level, but pretty substantial when close up.  From the top, you get a good view down the Dunmail valley. We carried along the ridge walk at the top before decending down a path into the Easdale valley, where there is a lovely walk which follows the stream back down the valley back into Grasmere.  One thing we all agreed was that we needed to get another dog, as something was missing from the whole experience.  We knew what breed we wanted, but the challenge would be finding one (and a puppy this time), as our previous dog was reared elsewhere and came with some difficult habits.

Tuesday, 14 April 2009

Coniston Old Man and Dow Crag, April 12th 2009

Today was going to be interesting. Just how far can a 4 year old (and a 10 year old brother) actually walk....uphill. Well as we were about to find out, not just today, but over the next few days....a long way, in fact more than most people we met on the way. Part of the incentive for our youngest son to climb is finding money at the top on Cairns which he believes I have left there on previous climbs. It works a treat.

The weather was outstandingly good and it was only April. A shorts and t-shirt day if ever there was one. This was my second trip up Coniston this year, and surely not the last. We decided on the main route up past Low Water, not sure how far we would get.  After a couple of hours, and after a couple of detours into the old mine areas we found ourselves at the top still in glorious weather with Dow Crag calling us over.

The walk along the top of Dow Crag was spectacular. After a bit of off piste we evetually joined the Walna Scar Road for the decent back into Coniston. All in all it takes one hell of a day to beat today. Fantastic weather, Fantastic views, Fantastic scenery, Fantastic company. I'm so proud of my sons to walk for a good six hours. And to cap it all.....yes ...a pint of Old Man Ale at the Black Bull to finish off the day.  Next challenge for them has to be the Langdales.