Saturday, 4 June 2011

Green Gable from Honister through the clouds

This is the first section of a walk to Great Gable that Claire and I did as part of the Wainwright 1931 Charity Walk. Part Two coming in a few days. It was only my second visit to the Western Fells so I was really looking forward to this one.

looking back eastwards along the Honister Pass

We parked up at Honister Pass at a parking space just before Honister Slate Mine. Parking here meant that we started with a couple of hundred metres height already reached. This would have been a great energy saver, but our return route via Seathwaite meant we had to walk this anyway.

looking back down onto Honister Slate Mine

We climbed the steep path up the slopes of Grey Knotts and immediately got a taste of the weather to come - a cloud cover meant a sudden but short downpour which cleared in minutes, the sun almost but not quite getting though. It would change like this all day.

looking across Honister Pass to Dale Head

We quickly reached the summit of the Grey Knotts and as Wainwright writes it is a great summit, with distinct outcrops of rock and tarns sprinkled over the summit.

"five grey tors, all looking much alike, and four small sheets or water make the top of the fell very attractive"  - A.Wainwright

Grey Knotts summit

We didn't pause for long as it was getting windy and we had a lot of walking ahead of us. Our route to the summit of Brandreth was easy - as described in the Guidebook we simply had to follow the fence. As we were making the climb up to Brandreth the cloud decided to engulf us.

distant fells framed by cloud

It descended very quickly and within seconds we could barely see further than a few steps ahead of us! It got very cold and extremely disorientating and for the time being we were more than happy to have the fence as a guide.

great view from Brandreth to Buttermere and Crummock Water

After a while we had been descending rather than ascending for too long for my liking, the cloud briefly lifted and revealed us to have gone well past the summit of Brandreth and on our way back down towards Haystacks. A glance back in a break of cloud showed us where we should have been headed - Great Gable revealed its massive presence to us.

Great Gable hiding in cloud
We retraced our steps to a stile and crossed over the summit of Brandreth back on track headed for Green Gable.


The cloud and fog lifted only to be replaced by a howling wind and rain, but at least we could see where we were going! The views we had were amazing and the clouds made for spectacular views as they shifted and swirled around the fells - the top of Pillar over to our right was to remain in cloud throughout the day.

view of Green and Great Gable

The walk by now was easy going, having done the work getting up onto the ridge at Grey Knotts. A cloud swirled around us we soon made it to the summit of Green Gable, and the giant dome of Great Gable was directly ahead of us. To be continued....

path along the summit of Green Gable

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