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Walk 1826 - printer friendly version

Green Gable & Gillercomb Horseshoe Walk

Author - Lou Johnson

Length - 5.5 miles / 8.9 km

Ascent - 2600 feet / 788 metres

Grade - moderate

Start - OS grid reference NY235121
Lat 54.4984300 + Long -3.1827147
Postcode CA12 5XJ (approx. location only)

This circuit of Gillercomb is an excellent Lake District walk. However it does include significant ascent for a route of this length. Following the ridges on either side of the valley the walk stays on the high ground and as such offers wonderful views throughout the walk. An extension to include Great Gable is easily added and a decision does not have to be made until you have reached the top of Green Gable. Navigation is generally easy apart from the first climb out of the valley which can easily be missed if you are in a hurry.

The start is Seathwaite in the upper reaches of Borrowdale where parking can be at a premium on fine days in high season. After walking continue south to the farm and continue through the archway on your right, along a walled lane to reach a footbridge over the River Derwent. Most of your fellow walkers will keep straight ahead and take the path alongside Sourmilk Gill. However our route turns right crossing a second footbridge to follow the river downstream. Go through the first wall heading towards the Borrowdale Yews. The first stream is Newhouse Gill and after crossing the stream turn left and follow the feint path on its north-eastern bank. This path was once used by the miners working the deposits of plumbago which was used in pencil manufacture in Keswick.

The path climbs up towards the first spoil tip, veering slightly left as you climb onto its top where there is a ruined building. The path zigzags higher past a second tip, climbing towards another tip with more ruined buildings. The path continues higher passing another ruin to reach a high intake wall with a ladder stile which leads you onto open hillside. The next section lacks a distinct path and you need to head for the skyline well to the right hand end of Raven Crag. Reaching a wire fence, follow the fence uphill to reach a stile. The summit of Grey Knotts is soon reached. You can now relax as about 1900 feet of ascent has been completed with just another 700 feet to go!

The path continues southwest passing a few small tarns to reach the summit of Brandreth. Green Gable and Great Gable now dominate your attention as you descend south passing another string of small tarns on Gillercomb Head. Ahead lies 450 feet of ascent to Green Gable's summit.

To continue the horseshoe, return towards Brandreth for just over 400 metres to some large boulders. Just before these a cairned path leads north-east along a broad ridge towards Base Brown. With the ascent now complete you can enjoy the view to Glaramara and the Scafells. Initially the descent northeast from Base Brown's summit is easy going. The path reaches a rocky section. Look out for a narrow and easily missed path going right. This leads to the top of a wide gully, which should be ignored as an easy descent. Instead cross the gully and keeping right you will locate an easier path. Initially the path heads towards Seathwaite but soon bars left under the Hanging Stone.

Continue the descent until you reach the main valley path. Turn right and descend the paved path which descends steeply at times alongside Sourmilk Gill into the valley below. At the foot of the Gill cross the stile, and then the footbridge over the River Derwent and back through the arch at Seathwaite Farm. It's now time for refreshments in the café!

Walk 1826 Route Map

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