2 - 3
FATMAP difficulty grade
Parking is available by the farm at Town Head for a couple of pounds.
Start by following the road southwest out of Town Head towards Helmside for 200m.
Take the track going northwest and follow this up the hill past more buildings.
Take the obvious Landrover track going northwest, following the wall parallel to the river.
Continue on this track past the foot bridge, staying on the same side of the river.
Cross stepping stones and follow a sometimes ill defined path towards the top of the ridge.
Be wary of periods of sustained rain or snow melt which could cause the river to swell.
In this case the river crossing here may not be passable so the river will have to be crossed either at the footbridge lower down the valley, or by continuing up the valley and skirting around the edge of the bowl to avoid the main river, crossing its subsidiaries.
Follow the ridge east-southeast for approximately 2km, through a series of peaks and cols, before reaching the final summit of Helm Crag (distinguished by obvious rocky peak).
Enjoy the summit! The true high point can be achieved by a short but exposed grade one scramble to the top of the obvious pinnacle, known as The Howitzer (the only way off this is to downclimb the way you came).
Now follow the path descending south-southeast into the valley, for 1km.
At the junction with the wall proceed through the gate, then take the small gate immediately on the left.
This is a permissive path through the gardens of the Lancrigg hotel.
Follow out of the hotel drive east, and onto a track past the youth hostel.
At the junction with the road follow it north back towards Town Head. © laurence_falconer - UKHillwalking.com, Aug 2014