Helm Crag and Easdale Tarn

Wainwright No. 201 – 1,299ft (396m)

After a crazy busy week at work I had worked enough hours to take a cheeky day off. After days of rain the sun was forecast to put in an appearance so we decided a family mountain day and wild swim was in order. Today’s target was Helm Crag, which is more affectionately known as ‘The Lion and the Lamb’.

Having set off early, we were rewarded with empty car-parks and (rather disappointingly despite the warm temperate) light drizzle. The forecast did however still promise to improve throughout the day so we embraced the dampness and set off in search of ‘The Lion’.

Crossing the permitted path from Allan Bank

The ‘Lion’ was rather shy, hiding in a thin blanket of cloud, but our journey up the zig-zag path revealed many wonders including….

‘The stick man’ – Slightly larger than I had imagined!!
Several tame / daft mice – Which we moved from the main path to avoid being squashed / eaten.
A rather picturesque Herdwick sheep

Once on the summit plateau we passed High Raven Crag (which looks like the highest point as you approach it) until we reached the distinctively shaped rocks and summit cairn.

Helm Crag Summit

We had planned a day of two halves, seeing us retrace our steps back to the valley, however, closer inspection in the ever lifting cloud showed a clear path on the western slope from the col between Gibson Knott and Helm Crag that would save us loosing all the height we had gained as we made our way to Easedale Tarn.

Easedale Tarn was already busy by the time we arrived, however being on the less popular northern side of the tarn paid off as William found us a secluded little bay with just enough rocks for each of us to perch on. From here we swam in the notably chilly mountain water and tucked into our lunch.

Wild swimming in Easedale Tarn
William goes in with a splash!

With wild swimming now firmly on the agenda and mindful of the lack of privacy when switching from hiking gear to swimming gear, we invested in some pack-light changing robes. These can be easily flung on after a bracing swim and are very effective at both keeping the occupant warm, and protecting their modesty when it comes to changing. Even better, they pack up nice and small so there is no excuse not to be prepared for any wild swimming opportunities.

Pack-light changing robes were a great success.

After having our fill of wild swimming and lunch, we followed the main tourist path down Sourmilk Gill (passing a wonderful wild swimming pool with a waterfall) and Easedale Beck until we were back in Grasmere itself. Here we enjoyed an ice cream before returning home.

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