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Saturday, 28 July 2012

Men of Green Gable..............July 27th

  It is the holiday season, it is the cricket season, so after last week's extravaganza in Scotland the number of gadgies out today is reduced to three, me, Harry the routemeister and Dave the vogelmeister.
We decided to drive over to the Lake District and walk up Great Gable from Seathwaite in Borrowdale. Directions from Newcastle are simple and have been recorded elsewhere but to save you the effort: A69 from Newcastle, M6 from Carlisle, A66 from Penrith to Keswick and followsigns for Borrowdale. Just before Seatoller turn left down the narrow road to Seathwaite and park on the roadside as near to the farmstead as is possible. It is a popular starting point and you may have to leave the car  a distance from the buildings, but you are out for a walk.
Maps are useful in the Lake District and the ones for this walk are Outdoor Leisure 4 and 6, THe English Lakes, North Western Area and South Western Area. The starting point is at GR237124.
  Seathwaite has nothing to do with the sea. The name comes from Old Scandinavian "sef" meaning sedge and "thveit" meaning clearing. And you thought Vikings just went round pillaging and kissing ladies. Seathwaite is the wettest inhabited place in England with an annual fall of 129 inches (3225mm) There is a campsite and a shower block but sadly the cafe that used to be in the farm has closed, as has the trout farm.
                                     The farm at Seathwaite, not a sedge in sight, they have been cleared.
                                    The settlement at Seathwaite from the top of Sour Milk Gill.

Walk to the farm yard and on the right hand side of the cobbled yard a small notice directs you through the barn towards Sour Milk Gill. The path crosses a stream by footbridge and a wall by means of an unusual stile. It then climbs steeply up the side of the nicely named Sour Milk Gill which, because of recent rain, lives up to its name, at least the water is white but tastes alright. The gill is a poular place for a strange sport: you scramble up the stream, roped on for safety, then you come down again.

                               Sour Milk Gill. The footpath is clearly visible on the left of it.
  At the top of the gill go through the gate and continue on the path that winds round Base Brown and climbs steadily to the summit of Green Gable. Normally this is a Herbiespot after a steep climb but the routemeistewr had the bit between his teeth and was determined to push on, Dave and I followed.
From the top of Green Gable you have a good view of Great Gable;

                                                  Great Gable from Green Gable

Follow the path down from Green Gable. The path is on loose stone and can be a little slippy. Between Green Gable and Great Gable is Windy Gap, a suitable name and from the bottom of the dip the route to the top of Great Gable is a bit of a scramble, choose your own route if you want. The summit cairn offers great views. On a clear day off to the west the Isle of Man is visible, but not today. South West is Wasdale with its lake, supposedly the deepest in  the Lake District. There is a lovely Youth Hostel  at the far end of the lake in a converted Yorkshire wool merchants weekend retreat. He apparently wanted a road built from Wasdale over Styhead pass. Fortunately his plan was rejected. In the North West Black Sail Youth Hostel is visible on the edge of Ennerdale forest. A former shepherd's bothy it is small with limited accommodation but a great place to stay. Accessible on foot only but worth the effort. South of Great Gable is Scafell, England's highest mountain. The "Corridor Route " can be picked out and the gash that is Piers Gill. Some years ago a walker fell into this gill and broke a leg. He survived on water and little food for two weeks before someone heard his cries.  To the South East are the Langdale Pikes and beyond is Windermere.
We made the summit a Herbiespot; the usual pies and sandwiches coffee and apple.
There is a plaque on the summit, a memorial to the members of the local rescue team who were killed in the two world wars. A sevice is held on the hill every Rememberance Sunday, I keep meaning to attend, I should.
                                  The memorial plaque  on Great Gable.
 Leaving the top, which was full of fellow walkers, some of them quite young which is always good to see,we followed the well cairned "tourist route" south east down the mountain to the stretcher box at Sty Head and continued on the path, still in a south east direction past Sprinkling Tarn. Near here is the real wettest place in England 250 inches a year (6350mm ). There are good views of the Gables looking back.
                 Great Gable on the left, Green Gable on the right, Harry on the edge.
    Beyond the tarn, beneath the massive Great End a footpath leads down to a small stream on the left. The path leads down Grains Gill. At the top it is close to the gill edge and it's a long way down, watch your step!
                            Ruddy Gill, the top end of Grains Gill.

   The path goes steadily downhill and is paved in places. Eventually it reaches Stockley Bridge, a final stop for a drink before walking back to Seathwaite.
                                Stockley Bridge, a final stop.
          
                 We noticed a shed at the farm had a sign above the door reading"Jakey's Snack Shack" but it was closed. A shame for I would have loved a mug of tea b ut had to make do with a pin t of Corby Blonde beer in the Stonethwaite Hotel before we headed home.

The Outdoor App claimed 6.77 miles for this walk, Higear said it was 7.8 and Daves Curvy ped recorde 7.56 miles. His new super ped with USB was sulky and switched itself off.
A short walk but with a lot of steep uphill work. Worth every footstepfor the views.

                             My coat of arms was designed by my neice Helen, which leads me to the book of the blog, nothing to do with walking but coming to a bookshop near you soon:
Penguin in Peril.  A book for children by Helen Hancocks, published by Templar Publishing.
Watch out for it!





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