Back up at university now and the first walk back of the term saw us in Borrowdale for what MWIS and the Met Office promised would be a rain-free day with cloudless summits. They kept their promise and despite the large amount of dull cloud cover its base was well above the summits and we got some beautiful panoramic views.
The walk itself was a particularly picturesque one, starting off up to Styhead Tarn from Seathwaite, up Great and Green Gable and then back to Borrowdale via Brandreth and Grey Knotts, two hills that were completely new to me. I took my assessment to become a “leader provisional” (LP) for the Hiking Club and am pleased to say I passed so I can now plan my own routes. I don’t have entirely free range however until I gain “leader extraordinaire” (LE) for which I’ll have to show my skills up in Scotland and in more “tricky” conditions.
Start point: Seathwaite, Borrowdale, NY 235 122
Summits: Green Gable, Great Gable, Brandreth, Grey Knotts
Distance: 6.3 miles / 10.1 kilometres
Ascent: 2900 feet
Starting from right at the end of Borrowdale it’s a simple tourist trod right up to the very picturesque Styhead Tarn. I camped here with my Dad when I was much younger when it was blowing a gale, but today it was deathly still – not even a ripple on the water and the surrounding mountains were perfectly reflected.
Crossing over Stockley Bridge
View back down into Borrowdale from Stockley Bridge
The rest of the group heading up the path to Styhead Tarn
I’m not sure why I didn’t take any photos of Styhead Tarn itself, I regret it now! Lunch was had by the shelter box before we headed straight up Great Gable and then onto to Green Gable. We popped off-course momentarily to take a few snaps of Wastwater – England’s deepest lake at 79 metres, which allegedly boasts a gnome garden. Three divers died here in the late 1990s whilst they were apparently searching for the gnome garden, which was subsequently removed because of the incident. However, rumour has it that gnomes have started reappearing at a greater depth, beyond the 50 metre depth limit that police divers are allowed to go down to.
Wastwater from half way up Great Gable
Part-way up Great Gable, having a quick break
There was a chill breeze on top of Great Gable and we didn’t hang around for long. There were still a great deal of poppies around the memorial plaque from the Remembrance Sunday service at the end up last year. The plaque commemorates members of the Fell & Rock Climbing Club of the English Lake District who died in World War I.
Great Gable is renowned for its vast panoramic views from the summit, which certainly didn’t fail to impress.
View from Great Gable
It was then on to Green Gable, Great Gable’s smaller and slightly, well, greener neighbour, via Windy Gap which for once wasn’t that windy. There was a large patch of snow to contend with but it was quite powdery so don’t pose any problems. I personally prefer Green Gable, perhaps because of it’s less harsh summit or perhaps because of the stunning views down Ennerdale and to the north.
Great Gable from the summit of Green Gable
View from the summit of Green Gable
A photograph of myself on the summit of Green Gable
The final part of the walk was over two summits that were new to me – Brandreth and Grey Knotts. Both offer expansive panoramic views over Buttermere, Ennerdale Water and you can even catch the odd glimpse of Windemere. Although the day wasn’t perishingly cold and despite a considerable thaw occurring recently, we still found a small tarn completely frozen over with a thick layer of ice – my ice axe hardly made a scratch on the surface – perfect ice skating conditions!
Testing the ice on Giillercomb Head
View from the summit of Grey Knotts
From Grey Knotts we skirted down around the contours to descend back into Borrowdale via Seathwaite Slabs and after a short minibus journey found ourselves in the Scafell Hotel for a welcome pint, or in my case coffee as I was driving the minibus back. Whilst being on the upper end of the price range when it comes to pubs in the Lakes, the Scafell Hotel has a lovely bar with a big log fire and I highly recommend it – perhaps because last time I was in there I knocked an entire pint over and the barman replaced it free of charge! They also have a rather addictive game of trying to balance a 10p coin on a lemon in a glass of water without it falling off, for a free pint. Of course it’s nigh-on impossible to do and most people end up loosing their 10p (all proceeds go to Borrowdale School I believe), but I’m told that it can be done.
Anyway, I shall leave it there. Off to Buttermere next weekend and then Steall Hut in Glen Nevis the week after that. Should be a busy month!