Great Gable, and hangers-on

After a miserable start to the week's weather, we awoke on Thursday to a brilliant, blue sky (not forecast, as usual).  Clearly we needed to get out there and do something - and what better than one of Lakeland's classics: Great Gable from Honister?  Plus, since we were following Stuart Marshall's suggestions, a little extra, of course.  It was a delightful day, the weather being just right and the people we met friendly and communicative.  And did we meet some people! More, seemingly, than on any day since Remembrance Sunday last year, presumably because everyone was intent, like me, on getting an airing after the recent rain.

Here are some pictures (click on any picture for a larger version):



Actually, Stuart Marshall's route started off down in Seathwaite, but I am not a masochist, so drove up to Honister and parked in the mine car park.  The mine seems to have acquired a helicopter, which advertises the mine's web site

Our path is up to the right, climbing Grey Knotts.
The mine buildings and the old workings under Dale Head.

This is where the mine is currently being worked: under and on the surface of Honister Crag and Fleetwith Pike.
The view from Grey Knotts down over Seatoller Fell into Borrowdale, and across to the Helvellyn range in the distance.


What lies ahead: Great Gable in the distance, behind Grey Knotts.
Buttermere and Crummock Water lead the eye towards Scotland far away.


The path to Great Gable leads over Brandreth, in the middle distance.  On our way out we are going to miss out Green Gable, which is beyond Brandreth, because we are coming back that way.
The top of Brandreth, with Green Gable to the right, and Great End in the centre.


Ennerdale from Brandreth, with Pillar on the left dominating as usual.
Round to the right, Buttermere and Crummock Water.


And, straight ahead, Great Gable behind Green Gable. We are going down to the right, to pick up Moses' Trod.
On the way we get a good picture of Ennerdale and Pillar Rock protruding from Pillar.


Gable approaching...

We are going up the right hand side.
This path is Moses' Trod, which links Honister with Wasdale.  Moses, whose surname, I am unreliably informed, was Rigg - and therefore undoubtedly an ancestor of mine - was a miner turned smuggler, who used this path to take his ill-gotten gains from the mine to the sea beyond Wasdale.  I think he may well have been drunk most of the time, since the path down to the right, towards Honister, goes all over the place and is difficult to distinguish from the other tracks.  But up here, no problem...


And this is what you see as you reach the col of Beck Head: Wasdale and Wastwater.
Kirk Fell, up to the west of Beck Head.


From Beck Head you get a good view of the Buttermere range of fells: Haystacks on the right, leading over to High Crag, High Stile and Red Pike, with Starling Dodd and Great Borne in the far distance.  Grasmoor looms over on the far right.
As you climb steeply from Beck Head, the top of Kirk Fell comes into view, with Pillar beyond it.
And here are the big guys: Scafell Pike and Scafell, with Lingmell in front. You can see the great V-shaped scar of Piers Gill below Lingmell.
Did I say there were a few people around on Gable? The summit was crowded, and the dogs couldn't get close!


Helvellyn and Blencathra in the far distance.  That's our direction of descent.
This cairn marks the path down to Styhead Tarn, which is out of sight down to the left.  Sprinkling Tarn, the wettest place in England (but not today), is visible in front of Allen Crags , with Great End on the right in front of Esk Pike.


First, however, we went over to the southern end of Gable's plateau, in order to look down Wasdale from the Westmorland Cairn.
And to gaze down in awe at the Tophet Bastion, this crag of crags, with Great Hell Gate, the aptly-named scree, running down its side.

Close up!
The Scafell group, from as near as you can get on Gable summit.

Usually the dogs are up there waiting patiently for me to catch up.  This time they were wondering where I had gone - down a little chasm, in order to take the pictures of Tophet Bastion and Scafell.  They showed absolutely no inclination to follow...
Sprinkling Tarn and the Langdale Pikes, from just above the path down to Windy Gap.  This path is getting seriously eroded, far worse than the Beck Head track, and I generally come down over the grass way off to the right.  Not too pleasant either, but at least it avoids the traffic, of which there was plenty today.


Looking down on Green Gable, with Base Brown and Borrowdale behind.
The view west from Windy Gap, down into Ennerdale.


From Windy Gap, looking east you can see Styhead Tarn, and the path up to Esk Hause past Great End.
Looking back at Great Gable from the top of Green Gable.


North-west from Green Gable
Samba at the top of Base Brown


Green Gable almost masking the top of Great Gable, from Base Brown.
This is Gillercombe, the valley between Base Brown, on the right, and Grey Knotts et al. on the left.


The way home, past the buttress of Grey Knotts up to Honister just over the horizon.
Looking back at Base Brown from below Grey Knotts.


The impressive top buttress of Grey Knotts.  A picture from which you should be able to tell the time of day...

Time to climb into the car after a great day on the fells!

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