Walk 1306 - printer friendly version
Base Brown & Great Gable Walk
Author - Lou Johnson
Length - 6.0 miles / 9.8 km
Ascent - 2750 feet / 833 metres
Grade - mod/hard
Start - OS grid reference NY235121
Lat 54.49843 + Long -3.1827147
Postcode CA12 5XJ (approx. location only)
Great Gable is, without doubt, one of Lakeland's finest mountains. The Lake District walk described below offers a varied and interesting approach that is generally quieter than other ways to Great Gable's summit.
The start is Seathwaite Farm (Grid ref. NY235121) which is easily reached off the B5289 road through Borrowdale. After parking walk south towards the farm taking the signed footpath through the archway on your right. This leads to a substantial footbridge over the river before the path climbs steeply out of Borrowdale. The path is paved and climbs steeply with Sour Milk Gill on your right. Near the top there is a section of easy scrambling. In spate the proximity of the waterfalls can be very impressive.
Reaching the top the path levels and continues through a wide u-shaped valley towards Gillercomb. Here the path zigzags out of the valley to reach a broad grassy col (Grid ref. NY221111). The main path continue uphill but it is worth a short detour to your left to 'bag' the summit of Base Brown. Despite its unexciting summit, this Wainwright does offer a grand viewpoint for Borrowdale and the fells that surround this beautiful valley.
Return to the col and follow the path uphill. This section is none too exciting but you soon reach the main ridge path that connects Brandreth with Green Gable. Turn left on this path and the summit of Green Gable is soon reached. Offering excellent views across Western Lakeland, including Ennerdale and the High Stile ridge, the summit is sadly dominated by the adjacent bulk of Great Gable.
Descend south to Windy Gap and begin the climb to Great Gable's summit. The path is well-cairned and, in the early stages of the ascent, there are a few short sections of scrambling. However this is short lived and the cairn that marks the summit soon reached. The domed summit means that the best views are not enjoyed from the highest point and it is worth a short stroll downhill WSW towards the Westmorland cairn from where an outstanding view of Wasdale can be enjoyed.
To descend take the cairned path southeast (approx). After a short way the path is reconstructed and what used to be a tricky descent to Styhead can now be made without too much discomfort. Reaching the stretcher box turn left and gain the path on the west side of Styhead Tarn. Cross Styhead Gill using the new footbridge and descend easily to the top of Taylorgill Force waterfall. From here the path zigzags down into the valley to reach picturesque Stockley Bridge. Cross the bridge and follow the broad track back to Seathwaite and the start.