Date & Time: Tuesday 19th June 2007. 9.45 am start.

Location of Start : Town Head, Grasmere, Cumbria, Uk. ( NY 332 096 )

Places visited : Ghyll Foot, Steel Fell, Calf Crag, Gibson Knott, Helm Crag, Lancrigg and back to Ghyll Foot.

Walk details : 6.5 mls, 2,400 ft of ascent , 6 hrs including lunch.

Highest point : Steel Fell 1,811 ft ( 553 m ).

Walked with : Paul from North Face, and eight of us from George Fishers.

Weather : Overcast and rather humid. An occasional warm breeze.

Archive photo of George Fishers Retail shop in Keswick


Loading up one of the cars in Keswick with test gear for the day.

We started the walk from Ghyll Foot after parking at the river bridge, but someone noticed Paul's shoes didn't have laces !

Was this by accident or by design ?

By design . . . his North Face running shoes use the new Boa Lacing system.

Original developed for snow boarding boots, the system utilises a stainless steel wire in place of the traditional lace and this is tightened by the ratchet wheel at the heel.

It seemed to work very well - can I have some please !!

The bracken is high now as we start the climb up Steel Fell ~ Grasmere Village can be seen at the far end of the valley.

The first gate and the view across to Helm Crag, which we planned to reach towards the end of our walk.

The ascent of Steel Fell is a steady climb parallel to the Dunmail Raise road.

Behind Bethan is the dual carriageway section over the Dunmail summit, with Dollywagon Pike, Nethermost Pike and Helvellyn on the opposite side.

Steel Fell has a cairn built around an old fence post.

Beyond is the reservoir of Thirlmere, and in the distance are Blencathra and the Northern Fells.

Photo (by Paul) of today's group, others would be out on the same route tomorrow.

(anti-clockwise from top) Kath and her terrier, Caroline, myself with Harry and Bethan, Lisa, Will, Richard, Joel and Andrew (standing).

It didn't seem warm enough for a swim but Harry and Bethan disagreed.

Calf Crag was the halfway point and seemed a good spot for lunch.

The large number of blue jackets is due to another product test - of their Hyvent DT (dry touch) waterproofs.


Andrew and I wearing the Hyvent DT Jacket and Will, the Salathe II Polartec 100 Fleece.

The jacket will be the North Face competitor to the Gortex Paclite jacket currently on sale, and the fleece is the new, full zip version of their popular mid layer classic.

The jackets were remarkably light weight and well designed, the full zip on the fleece was more practical than the half zip as it allowed more ventilation if required.

The weather today didn't enable us to try them out fully, but our colleagues tomorrow would have reason to test them more as they experienced slightly poorer weather.


From our lunch spot we looked west up to High Raise and Greenup Edge.

The small tarn is Brownrigg Moss and the path from Grasmere passes behind it and climbs the Edge before dropping down into Borrowdale beyond.

The Road Angel Gps getting us underway after lunch.


Navigation was not a great problem today because of the clear visibility but we took a Garmin Vista Gps and this Road Angel to test them out in proper fell situations.

Both navigated us from the shop to Town End satisfactorily, the Road Angel using it's voice commands, the Garmin its junction information and bleeper.

On the fells, the Garmin kept a more practical tracklog and walk information but the Road Angel provided us with an Ordnance Survey map, locked on our position, using it's internal Gps receiver.

Road Angel's screen definition was a problem in bright sunlight and the unit benefitted from being shaded, but the shorter battery life was counteracted by turning the unit to battery saving mode when not in use, or utilising the new Power Monkey charger pack we had in recently.

The Garmin with full batteries was capable of continual use.


On the return leg now as we make our way over to Gibson Knott and Helm Crag.

Steel Fell from Gibson Knott, almost a reverse of my earlier photo.

These Herdwick locals didn't seem particularly worried by our passing - they are obviously used to regular visitors to the fells.

Two other items we tried today were the new North Face Hydration System and the North Face Terra 25 rucksacks.

The hydration bottle had a simple bite valve, a swiveling valve tap and a wide filler neck which complimented the soft bottle and tube to give a very user friendly water system. The bite valve assembly also featured a small but strong magnet which held it securely to the base plate (clipped to the rucksack strap) when not in use. A great feature.

The Rucksacks seemed well built with several innovative elasticated pockets on the sides and back. It had a raised 'trampoline' floor to the main sack which enabled a separate storage area, accessible by a lower zip, which could divide the main sack if required. Padded ribs on the backrest enabled reasonable ventilation but personally I found them warmer to wear than my Osprey sack.


Looking back to Gibson Knott as we climbed the last section to Helm Crag.

Calf Crag where we had lunch is far behind us now.

The summit of Helm Crag, side on for a change, was one of the summits that Wainwright didn't actually reach.

He was never a great rock scrambler apparently, unlike the guys in the group today.

Joel and Will stand on the top
Andrew makes it too, once the others had vacated the top.

The higher summit rock is known as the Howitzer, but it's partner rocks on the other end are known as the Lion and the Lamb.

This second formation is the more prominent of the two when viewed from Grasmere Village.

Climbing over for the day, we start to descend back to the valley. Bethan takes a break on the way down.

He managed it by jumping from the other side.

Still full of energy, Joel tries a 'standing jump' of the fence. [ Move your cursor over the picture to see the result ]

His success was probably due to strong leg muscles gained by cycling to work each day.

The route continues down through the wooded gardens of Lancrigg Hotel and Restaurant.

The path passes above one of the old ornamental ponds.

Old mature woodlands which have existed for centuries.
The memorial to Dorothy Wordsworth who also visited them.
Lancrigg Hotel which offered 'Walkers Teas' if required.
Thorny How Youth Hostel behind Grasmere.

A brief road walk back up the valley from the hostel brought us back to the cars and the end of the walk.

All that remained was a final discussion and assessment of the day, at a suitably convenient place on the way back into town !

--- ooo ---

Thanks for a great day out to Paul Johnson of North Face, and also to the George Fishers Management.

Please note: any opinions expressed within this report are purely personal

and do not necessarily reflect those of George Fisher Ltd or The North Face Company itself.

--- ooo ---


With Great Sadness . . .

that I have to add that less than three weeks after these pictures were taken

Joel, pictured jumping over the fence and here on the left with the black t-shirt,

was tragically killed in a road accident whilst riding his bike to work.

He was a great guy, quiet, unassuming, softly spoken,

a keen fan of the Lake District and the outdoors,

and with his whole life ahead of him. A nicer chap you couldn't meet.

He will be sorely missed.


--- ooo ---


Technical note: Pictures taken with a Canon G7 Digital camera.

Resized in Photoshop, and built up on a Dreamweaver web builder.

This site best viewed with . . . a chance to try out the gear.

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