Gillercomb Round.

Start. Seathwaite.

Route. Seathwaite - Gillercomb - Blackmoor Pots - Base Brown - Green Gable - Gillercomb Head - Brandreth - Grey Knotts - Honister Hause - Seatoller - Seathwaite.

Notes. Maybe this walk should have been called Not Quite Gillercomb Round, I set out with the best intentions but soon realized I was well under the weather, every step up hill my legs ached, my breath came in short sharp bursts, I wheezed and coughed my way upwards, my body omitting a cold sticky heat leaving me feeling wet and uncomfortable, the only thing driving me on was the wonderful November morning. Sensibly I changed my route to suit the way I felt, I substituted the Hanging Stone ascent of Base Brown for the easier climb to Blackmoor Pots, with regret I omitted Great Gable deciding to scale that another day. My intended descent from Grey Knotts passed through the disused graphite mines above Seathwaite, having never descended that way before I decided to make the longer familiar descent to Honister Hause followed by a descent over tarmac back to Seathwaite.

I left Seathwaite passing between the farm buildings, a route used for more than a hundred years by climbers then later walkers. The path carried me to the foot of Sourmilk Gill the start of my ascent, the steep climb that followed in the company of many cataracts and cascades took me into to a spectacular hanging valley. Gillercomb sandwiched between the slopes of Base Brown and Brandreth is a boggy lonely place, the path cuts across the dryer lower slopes of Base Brown before ascending to the coll at Blackmoor Pots. I climbed through deep snow fields to reach the coll, a short walk northeast saw me standing on the summit of Base Brown enjoying stunning views down Borrowdale, re-tracing my steps to the coll I started the short, steep ascent to the summit of Green Gable. A line of rusty fence posts leads north from the summit, I followed these crossing Gillercomb Head before ascending Brandreth. Following the same fence line now running northeast I wandered on, soon the old fence posts were replaced by modern wooden ones, this new fence I followed to the summit of Grey Knotts. Still following the fence line I descended leaving it only to hunt for an easier, less steep line down the fell side. I was soon on Honister Hause mingling with the crowds heading to the Honister Slate Mines, a popular visitors attraction.

The rest of my route followed the tarmac road leading over Honister Pass before descending to Seatoller, but first I sat watching a number of rescue dogs working the fells on either side of the road, even though this was a training exercise they covered vast tracts of fell side with ease, it was a delight to watch, having had one serious accident in the hills it was a poignant reminder that things do sometimes go wrong. Shrugging off memories of darker days I descended to Seatoller, after passing through the village a finger-post announced I was almost back to Seathwaite.

view route map.


Early morning in Seathwaite.

Above Seathwaite Slabs with stunning morning views over Seathwaite and Borrowdale.

Ascending to Blackmoor Pots looking to golden light on the Raven Crag face of Grey Knotts.

Green Gable seen from Blackmoor Pots.

In the foreground the sylvan slopes of Castle Crag and King's How, backed by the dark ridge linking Walla Crag and Bleaberry Fell, across the skyline under cloud Blencathra, all part of the wonderful view from the ascent of Base Brown.

Rising above Gillercomb Head, Pillar, Steeple and the ridge leading to Scoat Fell.

The summit of Base Brown provides a superb view point, all around the cloud is building threatening to cover the landforms of Lakeland in a misty vale, for the moment I'm in sunshine looking to a cloud capped Helvellyn massif.

Heading up Green Gable looking back across Gillercomb.

From the summit of Green Gable, Great Gable seen over Windy Gap.

The massive cliffs of Great End rise above Sty Head Pass with Esk Pike and Bow Fell making up the triptych.

The wonderful view down Ennerdale seen from Green Gable with Hay Stacks, High Crag and High Stile to the right.

Soaking up the views from Green Gable, the formidable cliffs of Dale Head and Hindscarth plunge into Honister Pass, closer to home a benign, much gentler looking Brandreth.

Still on Green Gable, today it's been a hard slog to get here I don't want to leave, under a light dusting of snow Seathwaite Fell.

Descending to Gillercomb Head looking to Dale Head as cloud bubbles up from Honister Pass.

The striking Langdale Pikes, Wainwright's crouching lions.

Stunning conditions on the steep slopes of Green Gable, that's Great Gable up there about to be swallowed in swirling mist.

Viewing Pillar and Steeple, with Scoat Fell closing the head of Mosedale, in shadow to the left Red Pike, to save confusion the darker shadow in the foreground dropping into the Black Sail Pass is the Ennerdale face of Kirk Fell, and that's one of the views from the tarns on Gillercomb Head.

Seen over the summit of Brandreth Green and Great Gable, Great Gable great from any direction.

In the distance, looking desolate under snow Great End and Esk Pike with the summit of Bow Fell in cloud, the ridge in the middle distance I climbed to reach Green Gable earlier.

Best views over Ennerdale Water seen from the wide stoney, and sometimes boggy ridge between Brandreth and Grey Knotts.

Stunning views over the Buttermere Valley as seen from the approach to Grey Knotts.

From a frozen tarn under the summit of Grey Knotts magical views to Seathwaite Fell.

Wrapped in ribbons of swirling cloud, mighty Grasmoor across the gentle southern slopes of Fleetwith Pike.

On the summit of Grey Knotts about to be enveloped in the mountains misty caress.

The rock and scree of hundreds of years of slate mining scar the Honistor slopes of Dale Head, I guess it wouldn't be Honister Pass without them.

Wandering along the grey ribbon back to Seathwaite, looking to Base Brown my first summit this morning.

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