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" Great Gable with Alexander "
Date & start time: Tuesday 8th April 2014, 10.50 am start.
Location of Start : Honister Mine car park, Honister, Cumbria, Uk ( NY 226 135 )
Places visited : The Dram Road, Moses Trod, Beck Head, Great Gable, Westmorland Cairn, Green Gable, Brandreth, Grey Knotts and back to Honister.
Walk details : 6.5 mls, 2575 ft of ascent, 6 hrs including lunch on the summit.
Highest point : Great Gable, 2,949 ft (899 m).
Walked with : Cathy and Alexander, Sherran and Bill, and the dog, Boris and Harry.
Weather : Fine and dry but a cool, keen wind on the tops.
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Our daughter Cathy and her youngest son Alexander are staying with us for a few days.
Alexander wants to climb Great Gable ~ because his older brothers have ~
and now he's 9 yrs old there's no reason why not.
I often start with this photo up the valley to give an idea of the weather. As you can see the cloud is down on the high fells but what you can't see
is that it has cleared reasonably well in the last hour. The forecast is good and so we get kitted up and say a temporary goodbye to Ann
who is looking after Dylan at home today . . . he's too young at ten weeks to be out, let along mountain climbing !
We met up with Sherran and Bill at Honister at the start of the walk.
A classic ascent of Great Gable is on the cards, walking via Moses Trod and back via Green Gable.
Here we leave the mine and the car parks below as we make out way up the old dram road.
Cathy and Boris got there first and sheltered by the wall pending our arrival.
On to Moses Trod now and here I look back to cloud-topped Dale Head.
Despite the temperature there's still some lovely breaks in the cloud to let the warm sunshine through.
Looking down Buttermere Valley from Moses Trod.
A steady pull up to the Brandreth fence.
Haystacks was looking beautiful in the contrasting light.
The fence post on the brow of the hill still survives even though the metal fence wire that ran through it has rusted away.
The fence offers two stiles.
I think this was in fact the wrong one as it took us too high up the slope.
That dog gate was useful but as Cathy could open it no further, it was easier for Boris to use than Harry.
A slight descent was needed to regain the true path . . . you can just see two people on it in the distance.
There is a last remaining patch of snow in the gully of Green Gable which Alexander thought looked like a hole in the side of the fell.
The Trod takes us under the face of Green and Great Gable where we enjoyed a view down Ennerdale Valley this time.
In the bottom right of the photo is Black Sail Youth Hostel, presumably now up and running and environmentally friendly
after their refurbishment last summer.
The last part of the climb before the path reaches Beck Head.
The sun has come out again which encourages the lens cap to be taken off yet again.
Beck Head, or at least the part of Beck Head that is traversed by the path.
The true coll is lower down and has a small tarn or two down there which take the Beck Head name.
Standing where the chap was in the last photo, we get our first view of the next valley . . . Wasdale.
Time to start climbing and get warm again !
The last part of the climb to Great Gable is the steepest.
Alexander leads the way up . . . closely followed by Cathy and then Sherran and Bill.
Take ten degrees off the apparent temperature due to the wind-chill effect.
Boris give some idea of the wind as we climb up the ridge.
Bill and Sherran well wrapped up against the cold too.
Lovely sunshine opposite as we draw level with the summit of Kirk Fell.
The weather needs keeping an eye on as the cloud base seems to be lowering.
I hope we get a view from the top.
The final crags before we reach the more level summit area.
"Not far now" Harry seems to say to Sherran !
A brief stop to take in the last of the view before the cloud envelopes us.
Great Gable Summit . . . 2949 feet above sea level . . . we're properly up in the clouds.
On the summit rocks there is the new Remembrance Plaque and the remaining crosses from last November's gathering.
Looking back it would appear to be nearly five years since I was last up here last
as our usual visits for Remembrance each year have been to Castle Crag since then.
Bill borrowed my camera for a summit shot of our group.
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Fortunately the weather improved, or should I say the cloud lifted sufficiently for us to enjoy an all-round view from the top.
We even had a brief glimpse of Scafell Pike summit opposite.
As the weather has cleared, we walked a few extra minutes down to the southern side of the summit
in order to enjoy the view of Wasdale from Westmorland Cairn.
Bill took a photo of Harry and I next to the large cairn.
On the way back now and we skirted the summit rocks, heading down towards Windy Gap.
The view ahead is clear . . . all the way to Skiddaw and Blencathra.
Everywhere is still looking wintery as the warmth of Spring has not yet had any effect on the high fells.
Alexander was cold after our lunch stop so as a temporary measure he put his fleece on over his waterproofs.
This wasn't quite as warming but it certainly saves getting even colder when taking your jacket off to put it underneath.
[ Note: this is only practical if it is not raining . . . and no health warnings here as this is one thing you can try at home !]
Windy Gap . . . looking right to Styhead Tarn and Great End . . .
. . . and looking left to Ennerdale and Haystacks.
Alexander tries out the "leaning into the wind on Windy Gap" game.
Due to the wind direction and the protection of Great Gable itself, Windy Gap was much more like an Air Gap . . . the name stuck.
Here on the exposed top of Green Gable the wind has increased again . . . no point in hanging about too long.
Follow the old fence posts, marked as boundary posts (BP) on the map, down towards the Brandreth Pools.
Time for a paddle if not a dip.
On up the other side towards summit number three today . . . Brandreth itself.
Another bright sunny spell as we look back at the crags of Great Gable for the last time today.
The stoney top of Brandreth.
Over the years one of the two bails of unused fence posts has split open and the strong winds have rolled the posts over quite a large distance.
It would have been drier on the other side . . . but there are stepping stones next to the fence which avoid you getting too muddy.
Grey Knotts has a rarely visited second summit but the map clearly shows the top as being this side of the fence.
Alexander by the summit cairn . . . the fourth top today.
His hat and gloves and Harry's ears provide that important clue as to the ever present cold wind today.
The view down Buttermere and Crummock to Mellbreak and the Loweswater Fells.
There's a steady descent from Grey Knotts all the way back down to the car at Honister.
Don't seem to have any pictures of the descent but then it was slightly damp and slippery in places
and Harry wanted to play chase the stick . . . only problem was there were no trees, therefore no sticks !
A small stone or twig of heather would have to suffice.
Safely down to the weather station at the mine.
I hasten to add that they mean your car boot not your walking boot.
Any grit that you get in your boot whilst your foot is still in it is presumably free of charge !
Well done Alexander for climbing Great Gable like your three brothers have done on previous visits.
Here at the end of a really nice walk, it seems our two cars are the only ones left in the car park.
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Technical note: Pictures taken with my Nikon P520 digital camera.
Resized in Photoshop, and built up on a Dreamweaver web builder.
This site best viewed with . . . the experience of (junior) years.
Previous report - 4th April 2014 - Dylan of Loweswater
A previous time up here - 30th May 2006 Gable with Cathy and Richard, and the boys
Next walk - 10th April 2014 - Dylan 2 and a Busy Week