Friday, 1 June 2018

A Walk Up the Mighty Great Gable. . .

We spent the second May Bank Holiday weekend up in the Lakes with our rambling group. The Liverpud and I were lucky enough to bag one of these pods at the hostel. They are simple, but much quieter than being in a room of bunk beds with potential snorers.  Each pod comes with two single beds, a small heater and a lamp. There is an outlet to plug something in, such as a phone charger. On the outside of the main hostel building there are showers and one toilet for the use of the pods and the campers on the field just in front. You can also use the facilities in the building as well.  I found it quite soothing and relaxing to sleep in, although it did get hot, despite a window in the back, which I only had partially open as I didn't want a ton of midges descending on us either.  I would definitely book hostel pods in the future.

One of the tough walks we did was up Great Gable. I had only hiked it once several years ago,  but it was in the rain and visibility was nil, so I was eager to give it another go; it's such an iconic mountain.

We started on easy bridle paths through the lovely Borrowdale valley.

This led us to the Honister Pass and the slate mine/museum where we stopped for a latte and a slice of cake in their cafe.  Below shows where the road heads down but doesn't at all convey the steepness.

We headed off on a steep path to the left which took us up Grey Knotts to these stunning views.  Looking west, you can see Ennerdale Water on the left and Crummock Water on the right.

Great Gable (the domed mountain in the middle below) beckons, but we first have to descend Grey Knotts, go up Green Gable, then down again and then up for the final ascent.

 Here, we are about to ascend Green Gable.  It was very hot this weekend, but the real challenge was the wind. And this was before hitting Windy Gap which lies just between Green Gable and Great Gable.

On top of Green Gable.

And the top of Great Gable. I couldn't take a photo at Windy Gap - I could barely stay on my feet.

This is the very poignant and beautiful WWI memorial on the top of Great Gable.  A remembrance service is held here every year and I can't think of a more beautiful and peaceful place to reflect.

 This is the view from the top, looking east.

And the fabulous view looking southwest over Wast Water.

We then returned, skirting Brown Base and descending a rather treacherous path down to Seathwaite.  This bit wasn't so bad, but I have since learned to be wary of paths beside waterfalls - they are often very steep and uneven and scrambling, or sliding on your butt may be required for some stretches. Very hard on the knees and tired soles.

We were out for about seven and half hours and what with the sun and wind, I was fairly exhausted by the time we returned. I certainly slept well that night in the pod.


greenmtngirl said...

As a long time hiker myself who doesn't get out much any more, I love your hiking posts! And I'm curious--7 hours, but how many miles? And how much ascent? I can't quite figure out the size of these mountains since ours are more often in ridges and it would be unusual to go up and down a number of summits like that in a day.

Anne A said...

The section across from Honister is fabulous even if you don't get the whole way to Great Gable - have done that a couple of times. Great achievement, Maylin!

Blithe Spirit said...

Thanks so much greenmtngirl - I have to admit I leave it up to my partner to sort out the distance and ascent. For this walk, it was about 10 miles although it felt longer because we definitely did two quite high ascents. Grey Knotts is about 700 m and we were more or less at the bottom of it when we started climbing. Great Gable wasn't too high up from the Windy Gap which is where you descend Green Gable to go up Great Gable, so we definitely weren't climbing from the bottom there. There is a lot of undulation in the Lake District especially if you are hiking one of their favourite horseshoes or climbing up one or more neighbouring fell. I feel over the whole day we easily did 1000m of ascent but couldn't be more precise without measuring it. Hope that helps.

greenmtngirl said...

Thank you so much for replying! That is really helpful just in visualizing it. Mountains are so different wherever you go that my Vermont reckoning skills are just off.

I still dream about hiking in the Lake Country (or the Sea to Sea Trail...sigh...) but I'm not sure I will ever get to. Your posts give me such vicarious pleasure!