Great Gable from Honister

After a few days with little motivation due to some typically grey and damp Lakeland weather we decided that it was time for some proper exercise. Our plan did involve cheating slightly by starting at Honister Pass (350m) but then it would be a good walk ticking five Wainwrights, Grey Knotts, Brandreth, Green Gable, Great Gable and Base Brown. We were keen to make the most of the weather, with the potential for views into Buttermere, Ennerdale, Borrowdale and from the top of Great Gable Wasdale so we started late as the clouds were forecast to lift.

Ennerdale Water and Crummock Water from Brandreth

Ennerdale Water and Crummock Water from Brandreth

We followed the path next to the fence directly up from the national trust car park to the summit of Grey Knotts, it was a bit of a slog but you can’t complain if 45 minutes of exercise puts you at 700m. Here we found a sheltered spot overlooking Buttermere and the High Stile range and had our lunch. Brandreth is a short relatively level walk from Grey Knotts. It is excellently positioned for views into both Buttermere and Ennerdale. From Brandreth we got our first views of Great Gable; its summit was in the cloud but I was optimistic about the clouds continuing to lift.

Ennerdale from Green Gable

Ennerdale from Green Gable

A short descent and slightly longer climb took us to the summit of Green Gable. Wainwright comments about how many people cross Green Gable on their way to Great Gable and how it literally lives in the shadow of its bigger neighbour. I was impressed with the views of Gable Crag (this contains Engineers Slab VS, a Hard Rock route) and again the head of Ennerdale. From here we descended 60m to Windy Gap which we last visited with Brad and Kristen in severe winter conditions.

Us on the summit of Great Gable

Us on the summit of Great Gable

The final climb up the summit of Great Gable involved a climb of about 150m. The path whist rocky and steep was in good condition, Wainwright recommends this as the best of the routes to and from the top of Great Gable. From the top we could see the familiar sights of Wasdale. Scafell was clearly visible with it huge crags but the summit of Scafell Pike was in the clouds. To reach Base Brown we had to retrace our route back to Green Gable. When we reached Windy Gap we were asked to help a couple of coast to coast walkers to get to Honister youth hostel. They had kept going too far up the valley and had walked off their map. We told them of our route of ascent and used their camera to take a photo of our map just in case they needed it.

Base Brown was a pleasant surprise, it has views west across the hanging valley of Gillercombe to Gillercombe Buttress and views east into Seathwaite. As we continued north the ridge ended and we followed an interesting path down before heading cross-country to cross Sour Milk Gill, head past Seathwaite Slabs and over ‘the last hill’ to reach a point overlooking Honister. All that was left was the descent to the car and then a stop at Gatescarth Farm for large well-deserved ice creams!

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