25th October 2010

Half a sunny afternoon on Great Gable


Walk Overview
Time 12.15 to 15.50
Duration 3 hr 35 min
Distance 5.7 mile
Ascent 2700 ft
Walking with On my own
Wasdale Head - Burnthwaite Farm - Gavel Neese - Beck Head - Great Gable - Sty Head - Styhead Pass - Burnthwaite Farm - 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

Looking over Wasdale Head to Pillar, nicely framed by Yewbarrow on the left and the lower slopes of Kirk Fell on the right.

Great Gable, seen from the fields behind Burnthwaite Farm.

And from near enough the same place, Yewbarrow towering above Wasdale Head.

Looking back down the ridge to Wasdale Head and Wast Water.

A look up to Beck Head from the scree path which appears much more difficult than it actually is. It is steep and a bit loose under foot, but not nearly as precarious as it may seem from below or from here.

And now a view back down.

Given that 1800ft or so of Kirk Fell is below me, the fell still looks quite impressive. If they chopped this bit off and set it down in a valley somewhere it would still make for a decent walk; albeit quite a short one.

Well, I know when I'm beat. I'd walked this far with only a thin shirt on (ok, ok, trousers as well), but the breeze was bringing the temperature down quite a bit now and as I knew I was heading into the shade; out came the windproof.

Looking back down towards Beck Head.
I think it's time to start concentrating where I'm putting my feet. Most of the rocks were quite slippery, and the ones in shade still had a slight covering of frost on them. I'd almost done the walk in the opposite direction today, and I'm glad I didn't as it turned out. I find it much easier to walk up when it's like this than walk down.

A Great Gable view of Lakeland.
All the way up the cloud had been working it's way across from the coast and it finally caught up with me just before I reached the summit. Never mind, , , half a sunny afternoon was still very nice.

A close up of Blencathra.


Heading down towards Sty Head and tarn of the same name.

It looks like Borrowdale is still enjoying some brightness, but not for much longer I suspect.

Great End seen from the route down to Sty Head.

From the top of the pass looking down,

and from the bottom of the pass looking up.

On the home straight now, OK not quite, but it is easier on the legs.

Yes, definitely an excellent route, and although I prefer walking Great Gable from the other side (Honister or Seathwaite), this route is much less time consuming and ideal for those days when you don't have unlimited time. Or as was my case today, when you're unable to set off until the afternoon.

"Everybody get down!!"

Burnthwaite Farm.
By the time I got to the car, the cloud was just touching the top of Great Gable and Pillar (which isn't in this picture).

David Hall -
Lake District Walks