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Great Gable and Green Gable from Borrowdale

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Climbing Great Gable from Seathwaite

Its very difficult to pin down which is the best walk in the Lake District but I’ll make a stab at it, in light of a recent day out it has to be Great Gable from Borrowdale.

The day in question had a miserable dawn with loads of cloud cover and no light whatsoever … so I had a lie-in – that was a good start!

Things began brightening up around midday so I decided to head to Seathwaite in upper Borrowdale which was still shrouded in mist. Not to be put off, I took the path up past Stockley Bridge and headed to Styhead Pass. It was only when approaching Styhead Tarn that some blue sky could be seen overhead through the mist – this was a good sign. By this time a lot of the people who where heading back down from the tops had seen me with all my photography kit and told me I was in for some great views. Encouraged I ploughed on.

By the time I had climbed up Aaron Slack and onto Great Gable the mist was all below me. The views were sensational.

Exploring Great Gable’s summit crag

As there were a few hours of daylight left time was on my side. I therefore had chance to walk about and just take in the expansive views before taking some photos. But what to take photos of? I was totally spoilt for choice.

A wander across the summit crag of Great Gable towards Wasdale brings Westmorland Cairn into view. Perched on the vertiginous crags overlooking the valley this spot offered a great location for a bite to eat. And a photo.

While eating my tea I had been watching the mist swirling in the valley below, lapping at the base of neighbouring Kirk Fell. Meal finished and I had chance to take a few photos. The ‘Seatallan Silhouette’ photo was the best of this series that I took. As an experiment I also converted it to black and white and thought it worked well.

I chose this one as it wasn’t just a standard photograph of a view, more an evocative photograph of the fells rising out of the mist. It doesn’t really matter which fells they are in my opinion.

And then there was the view across Lingmell Gill towards Sca Fell Pike.

misty Wastwater from Westmorland Cairn on Great Gable
View of Scafell Pike from Westmorland Cairn

Whoever was on Scafell Pike on this day would have probably been grinning as much as I was!

Across Windy Gap to Green Gable for sunset

After a bit more exploring and staring at the views, I reluctantly left the summit of Great Gable to head across to Green Gable for sunset and, to my mind, one of the best views in the Lake District.

As it turned out my timing couldn’t have been better. As I reached Windy Gap, the col between the two summits, I saw a line of runners nearby. And there was a sizeable crowd on Green Gable. The reason soon became apparent when I noticed a line of people running down Great Gable, in the middle of which was a woman who was attempting to beat the Bob Graham Round record. Apparently she was sixteen hours in at that point and still plodding along. Pretty impressive! She didn’t stop to talk which was understandable and, as they all ran off, I was left on Green Gable with my camera and a great sunset shown in the final photograph: the High Stile Ridge rising between the Ennerdale and Buttermere valleys.

Descending from Green Gable to Seathwaite

And that was pretty much it. All that followed was the long sweeping descent past Base Brown back into Borrowdale. The last stretch is not to be recommended in the dark as it involves some scrambling (this path is much better as a way up!) but I had a good torch with me and had all night to get down. Luckily it didn’t take me that long though.

Footnote: I am not sure what time the woman doing the Bob Graham Round managed but can find no record of her time anywhere. She should have taken a break as its rare to get views as there were on this day.

Great Gable and Green Gable from Borrowdale was last modified: March 2nd, 2020 by Gavin Dronfield

Further reading:

  • A walk from Dufton to High Cup Nick
    January 2019 : A Walk from Dufton along the Pennine Way to watch sunset at High Cup Nick in winter

  • Stanley Ghyll Force walk
    November 2016 : A walk through autumnal Eskdale woodland to Stanley Ghyll Force

  • Climbing Loughrigg Fell
    January 2018 : A choice of routes up Loughrigg from Great Langdale and from Grasmere

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