Along with Seat Sandal, Steel Fell shares the task of standing guard over Dunmail Raise. Although in the case of Steel Fell, a route up from the top of the pass, whilst not impossible, would be pushing things a little. I don't mind a steep climb, but in this case I have to admit a long walk in is preferable the the short sharp shock of a direct ascent.
Steel Fell is joined onto the Calf Crag, Gibson Knott, Helm Crag ridge by an area of, shall we just say wet ground. Once you've squelched you're way through this and found yourself at the top, you then realise that you're standing on a lone fell out on its own, rather than a fell which is always needs to be grouped with several others. From the summit area there are cracking views in every direction; I recon the best of all is the one down to Thirlmere and across to the Helvellyn fells.
I include myself when I say that more often than not, Steel Fell is walked as part of a Greenburn Horseshoe. I'd even go so far as to say it's generally the final movement of the quartet. Without analysing the walk out of existence, there are several advantages to doing this particular walk in this direction. Not least because Calf Crag is always busy, so it's best visited as early as possible.