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Gentleman's Magazine 1792 p.882

  Helm Crag
Ramble to Helm Crag

Aug. 18.
I AM lately returned from an excursion to the Lakes, and extract from my Ramble the following account of Helm Crag, a projecting mountain about five miles on the road between Ambleside and Keswick, and which has always been mentioned as a remarkable rock, though I believe it has never before been visited by tourists; a reason, Mr. Urban, that induces me to select it for the Gentleman's Magazine.
Yours, &c.
July 29. We went up a narrow lane about half a mile from the church, which gave us a new view of Grassmere valley, with a perpetual water-fall, justly, from its force, called White-Churn Gill*; it seemed to rush from a crescent-heathed hill, and forms one of the most considerable brooks that supplies Grassmere.
The sun was hot. After a gentle ascent of about a mile we rested some minutes under a thick hawthorn, which we will call the foot of the crag. The projecting point of the first rise looked formidable, and not less so, to speak in plain English, from having a complete belly-full; however, when people are determined to overcome difficulties, time and circumstances are no obstructions.
We were covered from the wind, and it was so steep we were frequently obliged to stop when we met a narrow shelf; and, when we got to the first range of the hill, I was glad to throw myself down, panting for relief. The grass was slippery, which we guarded against by forcing our sticks as deep into the ground as we possibly could. And when we had gained the second height, I never remember meeting a more chearful relief than in finding we had got over that part of the hill which kept the wind from us; we were not only enlivened, but opened upon prospects which promised to repay our labour when we had surmounted it.
The pinnacle hanging over our right obliged us to take a sweep; and as we had the wind, and a near sight of the top, we found less trouble in this stage than in the others. We were exactly an hour from the hawthorn; which was not for its being a high hill, but the steepest in this part of the country, being seldom visited but by sheep, ravens, and foxes. Newton*, our guide, was never on it but once; and neither he nor any of the other guides remember its being visited by strangers.
But I must be alowed to rest myself a little before I say any thing of the prospects around us, and look with aweful pleasure at the sight.
We went upon the pinnacle, which had just room to hold two, from which I mark the views, but thought it prudent to have a less exalted rock in order to write them down.
The summit is covered with pieces of rock, that give it the appearance of a grand ruin occasioned by an earthquake, or a number of stones jumbled together after the mystical manner of the Druids. There is a deep fissure, two feet broad and twenty long, with a stone over one end of it, which gives it
* A gill means a water-fall.
* Robert Newton, the guide, keeps a public-house in Grassmere, and may be safely recommended as a modest obliging man.
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