March 2022, after months of freezing temperatures, a heatwave descended on the UK. Good news for me as I was off camping! Helm Crag had been on my list for a while, having stolen the idea from a fellow instagrammer! Starting from the cute village of Grasmere, Helm Crag is just a two-mile walk to the top. The downside is that all the height is gained in just one mile, making it a very steep ascent.
Despite being an absolute calf-buster of a walk, the trail itself is stunning. From the village, you pass the house of the late William Wordsworth. As you head upwards, you have great views of the waterfall that leads up to Easdale Tarn. As you get higher on the trail, the views open up toward Grasmere and Rydal Water before making a final left turn and seeing the majestic Lamb and Lion.
The famous rock feature symbolises the top of Helm Crag. Known for being one of the most accessible wainwrights due to its proximity to the village and the short mileage, I was worried it would be too busy a spot for a wild camp. This is partly why we did it while the nights still rolled in early.
As we reached the top of the peak, hot and bothered from the brutal uphill in 20-degree temperatures, there were still plenty of people enjoying the fell. The Lamb and Lion enticing people to climb its rugged features. A group of ill-dressed ‘hikers’ were clambering over the rocks, I had images of mountain rescue having to be called and then being kicked off for wild camping. Thankfully, no fatalities occurred, and as the night was drawing in, the fell emptied, and we could finally set up camp.
Considering we were in March, I don’t think I have ever been anywhere in the Lake District where it has been as still. There was not a spec of wind, and we watched as the sunset over the surrounding mountains. The light falling over Easdale Tarn gave way to specs of light from fellow wild campers across the way. Just a stunningly simple evening with the perfect conditions. We sat out until the stars came out, the plough slightly obscured by the light from the moon but still a perfect night to be out.
When people ask me why I wild camp, this is why. There is something so simple but special about spending a night surrounded by nature.
That evening, the tent barely moved, which made for a great night’s sleep. However, the popularity of this walk meant it was best to get packed up and leave early. So after catching a glorious sunrise, we headed down for a nice breakfast in Grasmere, followed by a stop off at the Keswick wall for a climb.