24th October 2007

A great afternoon on Great Gable


Walk Overview
Time 12.30 to 16.25
Duration 3 hr 55 min
Distance 6.3 mile
Ascent 2909 ft
Walking with On my own
Wasdale Head - Burnthwaite - Gavel Neese - Beck Head - Great Gable - Styhead - Styhead Pass - Burnthwaite - Wasdale Head
Fells visited
Directory places visited

Starting Point Information Centre
Car park, Wasdale Head

Wasdale can boast possession of the highest mountain, the deepest lake and the smallest church. What I'd like to do is add the busiest car park onto this list. During the summer months this is an incredibly popular place, particularly in June when the three peak walkers are out in force.

Unbelievable I know, but parking is actually free. This tiny hamlet also has a hotel / pub, a shop, a camp site and all the facilities you expect to find with it.


Route Map

Wasdale Head with Pillar behind.
The forecast told us that today would be the last day of sunshine, so I thought it best to get out while the going was good, just in case this was the last decent day for a while. And as I hadn't been up Great Gable yet this year I headed into Wasdale for an afternoon walk.

The footbridge over a very dry Gable Beck.
The route I followed today took me off to the left, straight after crossing the bridge.

Perhaps this picture's a little washed out because of the position of the sun, but it still shows you the fantastic view into Wasdale you get from the route steep route up Gavel Neese.

And looking in the opposite direction.
Where the grass gives way to scree the path to Beck Head turns off to the left. And although you would expect to get some respite because the path isn't quite as steep, the rough ground under foot more then replaces the incline and the puffing and panting just carries on.

Beck Head and tarn (s) of the same name. Quite a few of the tarns in the Lake District have a reputation for drying up during periods without rain. These ones are probably two of the worst cases in question. You can see there wasn't much water in the nearer of the two tarns, but the far one was in fact bone dry today.

The superb Ennerdale Valley obscured a little by the shadows of Kirk Fell & Pillar.
Above the valley you can see the line of fells separating Ennerdale Valley from Buttermere ( & Crummock ). The furthest fell on the ridge is Great Borne then, moving this way you see Starling Dodd, Red Pike, High Stile, High Crag and behind the big boulder is Haystacks. Also in the picture (right) are the Grasmoor fells.

And now looking in almost the same direction across the rocky area around the top of Great Gable.
Along with Crummock Water some of the smaller fells now in view are, Mellbreak, Rannerdale Knotts, Low Fell, and Fellbarrow.

Just past the summit now and with a fine view across the central fells, the eastern fells and of course Blencathra in the north. I could also see the bank of cloud which was moving slowly but without doubt in this direction.

Cloud moving quickly across Green Gable.

A close up of the Seathwaite side of Styhead Pass.

And not so close up.

Styhead Tarn.


There aren't many trees around here at all, so it seems strange that these two are found in the middle of this sheepfold. I'm assuming the sheepfold is much older than the trees, so I wonder why the trees would grow here of their own accord or why someone would go to the trouble of planting them here.

Looking up to Beck Head.

A long distance view not only back to Styhead Pass, but also to the cloud which by this time had almost reached this side of the Lakes.


Long shadows at Wasdale Head Church.

And from the inside looking out.

Sunshine and shadows.

David Hall -
Lake District Walks