Thursday, 9 June 2011

Great Gable, Green Gable, Base Brown

Great Gable through the cloud from Green Gable
"Great Gable casts a spell. It starts as an honourable adversary and becomes a friend." - A.Wainwright

On the 14th May Claire and I participated in the Wainwright 1931 Tour Challenge, whereby Society Members retraced the footsteps as taken by Wainwright on his Whitsuntide walk in 1931. My section meant tackling Great Gable and my research had shown I had taken on quite a daunting task. Great Gable is the highest of the Western Fells, with a comandeering view in all directions. To get there we walked from Honister pass up via Green Gable.

looking down to Styhead Tarn from Green Gable

From the top of Green Gable we had to descend and cross Windy Gap and before climbing and scrambling our way back up the other side. Windy Gap lived up to its name but it was well worth pausing at the bottom to look down along Aaron Slack to Styhead tarn, and on the other side over the Black Sail Pass.

looking down Black Sail Pass from Windy Gap

The trek up the scree slopes of Great Gable wasn't as bad as I thought it would be, although the scree made it hard underfoot and there was a short scramble. We mad it to the summit of Great Gable, and stopped to view the Fell Rock & Climbing Club memorial tablet, before sitting down for a short while to enjoy a sandwich.

We had an incredible panorama ahead of us, looking down past Sprinkling Tarn and over to Harrison Pike and Pike O' Stickle with Lake Windermere in the distance. We must have been sitting in the exact spot where Wainwright sketched the view from East to South. Somewhere to the South was Scafell Pike, which remained shrouded in cloud the whole day.

from the summit of Great Gable with Langdale Pikes and Windermere in the distance

It would have been great to explore the famous rocks of Great Gable but we were on a fairly tight time schedule, so before long we headed back down and across Windy Gap. We reclimbed Green Gable before  following the ridge to Base Brown.

looking back to the path up Green Gable

Approaching Base Brown from this direction gave a similar impression to a walk we did descending from St. Sunday Crag to Birks in the Eastern Fells - it gave no appearance of being a fell having come off the higher ground. Looking back up from Seathwaite later on it looked very impressive!

Base Brown summit looking to Green Gable

The walk back down would have been easy but the constant rain meant that the rocks became very slippery underfoot, in particular the scrambles down alongside Sour Milk Gill were treacherous and we slid down the rough rocks on several occasions.

Base Brown from Seathwaite

This was such a picturesque spot but the weather and time meant we had to push on. We followed the road from Seathwaite back through to Seatoller before climbing back up the Honister Pass and the car. By this time we were soaked through and very tired, but warriors that we are we declined the offer of a ride in a mountain rescue car.

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