A Special Day....
Scroll down for photos and a description of the walk
Parking at Seatoller
Many, many years ago, Dad took Peter and I up Great Gable. We parked at Seatoller and walked up to the head of Honister Pass. We walked up over the old sleepers of the redundant tramway and turned left at the foundations of the drum house. We climbed over Brandreth to Green Gable and ascended Great Gable from Windy Gap. That was more than 30 years ago; Peter and I chose today to do exactly the same walk again. Sister, Helen, was invited, but she doesn't have an appetite for altitude! That's Peter's car, it's bigger than mine.
I think we walked from Seatoller as oppose to Honister Mines for the simple reason that reward is directly proportional to the effort put in, so let's do it from the foot of the valley, not half-way up.
We get to Honister Mines in good time and set about reaching the old drum house.
The Path to Brandreth
The weather was not looking good, we chose today as it was forecast to be the better day of the weekend. Waterproofs were donned.
Haystacks and the High Stile ridge.
Here Comes The Rain!
Luckily the navigation to the summit of Brandreth is easy, turn left at an important junction and then follow the line of cairns to the old fenceposts, turn left again and soon you will be there.
Me on top of Brandreth
After the summit celebrations, the cloud descended and had us scratching our heads. It was compass and map time and soon enough we had a bearing for Gillercombe Head.
Tarns at Gillercombe Head
This is where we first saw a break in the cloud and began to think we might be in for some better weather.
To Green Gable
It's looking much more promising now and our strong desire to enjoy the view to Wastwater from the Westomorland Cairn is again a possibility after not looking too good earlier on.
Kirk Fell and Pillar
Peter on top of Green Gable
We descended to Windy Gap and attacked the steep ascent of Great Gable, following everyone else.
Looking Back to Green Gable & Brandreth
Think back, if you can, to two weeks ago. I climbed Blencathra on Friday 27th August. Just as I reached the summit, a fellwalker called Ron (from Durham) also arrived at the same time and he kindly took my photo. Would there be anyone up here willing to grab the camera and point it at Peter and I at the summit of this "Favourite Fell?"
Peter and Richard Ratcliffe on Great Gable
Indeed there was, here is a photo of the man who kindly took the photo. He arrived at the summit at the same time as us:
Fellwalker Ron (from Durham) !
The Yewtree Inn
This is the mid-session interval, the half-way point, the tea break. All those years ago, the great incentive was a "Climbers' Nosh" at the end of the walk. Who remembers the "old" Yewtree Inn from many years ago? I would not have the "Ham & Eggs". No, for me it was always "More Ham & Two Eggs". It was a wonderful place.
We went off to the area just beneath the Westmorland Cairn, slightly to the right. On the edge, you might say. This is our special place, when dad set us a task "post-mortem" (a bit like Wainwright and Haystacks), it involved quite a climb and if we want to revisit the place, it's not just a trip to a local beauty spot, it's a day on the fells.
After a period of reflection, we went off to the Westmorland Cairn and had lunch, before taking the direct descent route to Styhead Tarn.
At this point and as a revision to the original page, I'm showing two photos submitted by friends in the Online Fellwalking Club. Roger Hiley was descending Grains Gill after a stint of marshalling a 3 Peaks event on the route to Scafell Pike and he took this photo of Great Gable, over Seathwaite Fell. On close inspection, I think I can see shapes on the flank of GG where Peter and ate our sandwiches:
The above photo belongs to Roger Hiley and appears on the Loweswatercam website
Terry Gargrave was on Pillar and he saw Great Gable from a different angle and he was also on top at 12:30, the picture below belongs to him and can be seen within his photoset on Flickr.
Terry Gargrave's photo
The weather continued to play tricks and we endured another couple of showers.
Great Gable - repaired path
The fell-fixers have repaired much of the path, here seen against the crag, and left a reminder of the eroded mess that we used to have to endure. And when I hear older generations complaining about the pitched paths and how they don't belong on the fells...."You left it like this!" Spot the fellwalker.
We passed the Stretcher Box, turned left and headed down Styhead Gill to Seathwaite.
Dry skies again and the easy way back to Seathwaite and Seatoller.
And then all the way along the track and tarmac back to Seatoller, just like we did all those years ago.
Walkers: Peter Ratcliffe and Me
Time taken: 6hr 15 mins over a distance of approx. 9 miles.
Route: Seatoller, Honister Pass, Brandreth, Green Gable, Great Gable, Styhead Tarn, Seathwaite, Seatoller.
Weather and conditions: Bright, then gloomy, rain, clearing, sunny on top of Great Gable, further showers and bright again at the end.
Greetings Count: Ron! How can that happen? And a good few others making the most of the best day of the weekend.
Richard's Refreshment Review: We chanced Brysons in Keswick. It was 15:30 and a bit like the Cheese Shop sketch in Monty Python, but eventually we found something that was not sold out and it was OK, I suppose. A bit over budget, however.
Michael Ratcliffe on Haystacks
11/03/1933 - 12/09/2000
Roger Hiley took a look at this photo and was able to identify dad's location. The fell in the background is Sail / Scar Craggs, with a bit of Robinson closer to the camera - photo date: May 4th 1974. Where were you on this day? Liverpool 3 Newcastle 0 at Wembley, who scored the goals?
All photos copyright Richard Ratcliffe 2010 © (unless otherwise stated)