Lake District


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About Summiteer

~Grey Knotts to Great Gable~

31st July 2020

Gillercomb Head Tarn

Gillercomb Head Tarn (one of many)


Seatoller Honister Pass

A long arranged family walk for 31st July finally arrives, along with a one-day heatwave. Gary and Peter join me for an ascent of Great Gable from Seatoller. We park in the National Trust car park in Seatoller and climb up on to the bridleway in Little Gatesgarthdale for a steady climb up to Honister Hause.

Molly and Gary

Gary first climbed Great Gable with me in June 1996 and my scant record of that walk only says we started in Seatoller, it does not include any details of the route and other fell tops achieved, I'll have to look around for any old photos we may have...

Yewcrag Quarries

Yewcrag Quarries

We walked through the commercial enterprise of and started a steep and fairly direct ascent of Grey Knotts from the top of the pass. On the other side of the valley, the decaying remains of Yewcrag Quarries serve as a reminder of times gone by. My dad told me his dad remembers walking this area and seeing the incline in operation. Four generations of us have seen the changing scene. The next generation is on the way and is -5 months at the moment!

Molly Grey Knotts

Molly on top of Grey Knotts 2,287ft asl

At least two rocky tors up here share pretty much the same height.

Grey Knotts Summit

Peter, Gary & Molly on t'other summit

To Brandreth

To Brandreth

Of the ridge walk, Wainwright says "Only those of unusual talent could go astray on this simple walk." We stay west of the fence line to avoid a notoriously boggy bit.

Peter, Pool and Pillar
Pillar and High Stile

When does a puddle become a pool and a pool become a tarn? The imposing dual massifs of Pillar and the High Stile ridge dominate the view to the west. The High Stile walk was Plan B for today, but Plan A is going well, so far.

Brandreth Summit

Molly on top of Brandreth 2,344ft asl

If Grey Knotts has two matching high points, Brandreth appears to have three on its sprawling summit territory.

Gillercombe Head

To Green Gable

This is Gillercomb Head and home to a small collection of tarns; this walk was favoured over the High Stile one partly due to the prescence of more water opportunities for Molly on such a warm day.

Gillercomb head tarns


Green Gable

Gary on top of Green Gable 2,603ft asl

Green Gable Summit

Me n Peter with Molly on top of Green Gable

The gusty wind is making it difficult to stand still and Peter has taken his cap off to prevent it heading into Ennerdale.



Now for the dip to Windy Gap and the 500ft ascent of Great Gable. Another reason for choosing this target as the main objective for today's walk was the fact that it is a pleasure to tell those left at home that you have climbed Great Gable; tell them you have been up High Stile and they may begin to lose interest.

Great Gable Summit

Great Gable Summit 2,949ft asl

It's Molly's second time up here, ditto for Gary. Peter has been up with me on at least two other occasions. My running total stands at 13 times, in reality it will be more than that, I only started accurate record keeping in 1994.



A large, high cloud drifted over this part of the Lake District and kept the intense sunshine at bay for a while. When I was reading the Mountain Weather Information Service forecast for today, I initially misread the "Chances of Cloud-Free Summits" as "Chances of Crowd-Free Summits". Anyway the summits are certainly cloud-free and just here we are crowd-free, only a reasurring collection of seasoned fellwalkers, no summit hogging, not much litter, it's a good place to be.

Styhead Tarn

Styhead Tarn

We were to be greeted by a couple of unusual sights down there, one can be shown...

Cows at Styhead


Styhead Gill

Styhead Gill

A wild swimmer (male) emerged from the water and promptly de-trunked (if that's a word) before searching his rucksac for a towel. Soon, we were heading down Styhead Gill.



Stockley Bridge

Stockley Bridge

To Seathwaite

Seathwaite Farm Seatoller


The walk back from Seathwaite Farm to Seatoller is about a mile and a quarter on the road. A new refreshment opportunity has opened within Seatoller Farm - Applejacks. We just had a can of cold pop as time was tight, but they appear to have much to offer afternoon walkers and the local campers.

Walkers: Gary, Peter, Molly and Me.

Time taken: 7hrs over a distance of about 10 miles.

Route: Seatoller, Little Gatesgarthdale, Honister Hause, Grey Knotts, Brandreth, Green Gable, Great Gable, Styhead Tarn, Styhead Gill, Stockley Bridge, Seathwaite, Seatoller.

Weather and conditions: Very warm at lower levels, cooler higher up with a strong and gusty wind.

Refreshments: Applejacks at Seatoller and then The Royal Oak in Keswick.

Gary Brandreth 1996

Gary on Brandreth 11th June 1996

All photos copyright Richard Ratcliffe 2020 ©

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