Greenburn Round

Stepping stones - tongue gill

The day after our Alcock Tarn – Loughrigg circuit we walked the horseshoe around Greenburn: Steel Fell, Calf Crag, Gibson Knott and Helm Crag. A convenient path starting directly opposite the Traveller’s Rest took us to these stepping stones across Tongue Gill just upstream of its confluence with the River Rothay. I waited with my camera poised, but nobody fell in. Spoilsports.

On a small rock by the stream we saw our first caterpillar of the day, the first of what would turn out to be many, ‘flowing in and filling up my hopeless heart’. Or something like that.

Knotgrass caterpillar? 

This could be a knotgrass caterpillar, but I’m not sure.

The delightful stroll up the south-east ridge of Steel Fell, although so close to the Dunmail Raise highway, is clearly not often used and the sunny bowl of Greenburn, with its pools and waterfalls, is unknown to many visitors and usually quite empty of people.

A Lakeland Mountain Diary A. Harry Griffin

We were on that south-east ridge, and it was fairly quiet, and the ‘sunny bowl of Greenburn’ looked not only empty of people, but also well worth exploration. I added it, along with Rydal Beck from the day before, to my list of places to visit when the chance arises.

Green burn 

Green burn.

I spotted a small frog and tried to catch it, having pontificated about how to tell a frog from a toad the day before. It disappeared into the bracken beside the path and in seeking after it I knocked something from the bracken…

Curled Broom Moth Caterpillar 

…a very distinctive broom moth caterpillar.

There were lots of these brightly coloured chaps to be seen as we progressed up the ridge.

Broom moth caterpillar 

I wondered whether they were out and about looking for somewhere to pupate.

Another broom moth caterpillar 

We also spotted this…

A brown caterpillar 

..brown caterpillar which I have been unable to identify. Like the broom caterpillar it had a yellow stripe, but also that rather stunning pattern of speckles.

Climbing Steel Fell 

The crew snaking along the path like a…well, a caterpillar.

Helm Crag 

The Rothay valley and Helm Crag.

Still climbing Steel Fell 

Approaching the summit.

Looking towards the Langdale Pikes 

Looking towards Langdale.

Steel Fell view - Thirlmere, Skiddaw and Blencathra beyond 

Cairn close to the summit of Steel Fell, Thirlmere, Skiddaw and Blencathra beyond.

On the ridge 

On the ridge to Calf Crag.

Brownrigg Moss 

Unnamed tarn near Calf Crag.


Helm Crag and Loughrigg (centre).

Cloud-topped Eastern Fells

Looking over Steel Fell to Fairfield and Helvellyn neither of which will quite emerge from the cloud.

We perhaps didn’t have as spectacular a weekend as last year (see here and here), but the food, the beer and the welcome at the Traveller’s Rest were all excellent, the walking was pretty good, despite the weather, and at the end of the day the reason we were there was to catch-up on gossip old and new, rehash some ancient stories for the umpteenth time, share a few gags, spin a few daydreams, hatch the odd plot….and (I kid you not) discuss the infinite versatility of blancmange.

Greenburn Round

8 thoughts on “Greenburn Round

  1. Martin B says:

    Sounds excellent, Mark. You’ve had some good trips, esp the one with that Slowman bounder!
    I’ve enjoyed catching up (as always).

    1. beatingthebounds says:

      Hi Martin – yes I’ve had some excellent days out – especially the ones with A.Slowman esquire – a scholar and a gentlemen, I’ll have you know!

  2. The scary thing is… I have never really noticed all those creepy crawlies in the heather… until I met Mark: I went out, immediately, and bought longer trousers.

    You can’t have all those beasties hitching a ride on your socks. Oh no.

    Steel fell is a splendid spot though…

  3. ‘Twas and mighty fine weekend indeed. Watersports and decent hiking. The Sunday route was a cracker and suspect the first part of the Saturday walk would also have been damn fine if I could have seen any of it

    1. beatingthebounds says:

      An Eighties favourite whom I tend to neglect these days. Maybe I don’t quite have the same capacity for wallowing in the melancholy atmosphere of ’17 seconds’ or ‘Three Imaginary Boys’ – but poppy stuff like Caterpillar has stood the test of time well, in my opinion.
      I almost didn’t include that photo, so thanks for that, it’s nice to know that someone liked it!

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