Walk Date – 31st July 2016
Distance – 7.4 miles
Weather – mostly cloudy with some sunny spells and a cold north westerly wind
The day was forecast to be dry with occasional sunny spells although the weather man sternly warned us that the strong north westerly would keep the temperatures down. Well that settled a couple of things then, don’t go too high and forget about wearing shorts. We opted for Base Brown since we hadn’t been up there for a while and here’s a shot of it from the Seathwaite Farm approach lane where we parked. The summit is behind the prominent rocky area on the left skyline.
We walked up the lane and arrived at Seathwaite Farm where we go through the gate on the right which will lead us along a walled lane.
The lane leads to this gate which allows access to a footbridge over the River Derwent.
The view upstream from the footbridge with Seathwaite Fell on the skyline just above the campsite.
“Look they’ve got two of those Russian Yoghurts in the campsite.”
“I think you mean Mongolian Yurts.”
From the bridge a pitched path leads alongside a wall which we have to cross using this unusual ladder stile. Its inclined at a very low angle so its a bit awkward to climb over.
The ladder on the other side is at a better angle which makes the crossing much easier on this side.
The path runs to well to the left of Sourmilk Gill but there are a few points where you can get a view of the various falls along its route.
The view up the valley with the Glaramara ridge on the opposite side.
This is probably the steepest part of the path but its an enjoyable little scramble over the rocks and boulders.
The path eventually comes out onto this rock shelf alongside the wall. There’s a little gate in the wall just a short distance along the path.
The gate in the intake wall where I was lucky enough to get a shot of this little blue leprechaun balancing on the second rail down. Its amazing what you come across when you’re out for a walk.
A little further on from the gate and the path runs close to the upper falls in Sourmilk Gill.
When we reach the top of the path we wander over to see where the upper falls begin. There’s Seathwaite Farm down in the bottom.
From the top of the falls we move along the path into Gillercomb. Across from us is Raven Crag, known to rock climbers as Gillercomb Buttress.
A little further along the path we climb a little rocky knoll for this view back down into Borrowdale.
We re-join the main path which takes us along the hanging valley of Gillercomb and on towards the col between Base Brown and Green Gable.
Looking back at where Gillercomb ends and then drops abruptly down into Borrowdale.
The path rises steadily along the flanks of Base Brown, the slopes of which are rising on the right, but here and there are some level sections which offer a brief but enjoyable break for the leg muscles.
We’re getting close to the col now and the gradient is easing. The sun came out and we were sheltered from the wind so it was becoming quite warm. Here we had a stop to have a drink and remove a layer and have a chat to a walker who came up alongside us. He was a native Cumbrian who had emigrated to New Zealand in the ’70’s but was now back home to stay, or at least that was the impression I got from him. He carried on ahead of us and when he reached the col turned up to the right and headed for Green Gable.
When we reached the col we turned left and before long the summit of Base Brown came into view.
From Base Brown summit a view of Glaramara to the east of us. The windproofs went back on up here and, after taking the photos, so did my gloves. Gloves in August? Yes, it was that nippy.
Another shot from the summit cairn, this time looking towards the cloud covered Scafells on the left.
Another sunny spell came along which gave us quite a good view of Allan Crags, on the left, Esk Pike, in the middle, and Great End, on the right.
Behind the cairn is the summit of Great Gable and below it the summit of Green Gable.
A closer look at Lingmell over on the right, with the deep gash of Piers Gill slicing through the front of it. To the left of Lingmell you would have a clearer view of Scafell Pike if all that cloud wasn’t boiling over it.
From Base Brown we retrace our steps back to the col with the path we came up on going down into Gillercomb over on the right. At that point we will carry on straight ahead and take the path up to Green Gable.
From the Green Gable path a look back into Gillercomb in the centre, with Base Brown over on the right. In the middle of the shot on the centre skyline is Blencathra. Somewhere along the route up to Green Gable a stone rolled under my boot which threw me off balance. It didn’t result in a fall but in the process I turned awkwardly and managed to aggravate an old back problem. Progress up to Green Gable was slow from then on as I had back pain whenever I pushed off on my right foot. In the end I resorted to using the walking poles to lever myself up.
The lovely view from Green Gable summit looking straight down into Ennerdale with Crummock Water and Buttermere over on the right.
A slight turn to the left and we have a view of Great Gable’s crags and steep scree slopes, with the flat topped Kirk Fell to the right.
In the distance was a view of the Langdale Pikes, so I took a close up. Harrison Stickle is on the left with Pike O’Stickle on the right.
Enjoying the view from Green Gable. I was beginning to wish I hadn’t chosen the three-quarter trousers today as it was definitely more than a bit draughty up here.
Looking down to Windy Gap from Green Gable.
A closer look at Sprinkling Tarn from Green Gable. The plan was to go up there and go on to Seathwaite Fell which is just in front of it, but that plan had to be shelved thanks to my back pain. The first aid kit was minus any pain killers, so it looks like they didn’t get replaced after the last ones were used as I usually have some in it.
Down at Windy Gap, where, surprisingly, it wasn’t windy at all, and a last look along Ennerdale as we take the path which is behind me and the camera.
The path from Windy Gap up to Great Gable, that was never on our agenda today.
We’re descending to Styhead Tarn by a route known as Aaron Slack which is a bit of a trial even when you haven’t got any back pain. Parts of it are pitched, but mostly it consists of loose rocks and stones which slide away very easily under your boots. I kept to the grassy bits as often as was possible just to avoid twisting my back again. Just above Styhead Tarn is Sprinkling Tarn.
We stopped for something to eat in a little sheltered spot out of the wind just at the bottom of Aaron Slack. There was a little family group having their lunch beside the tarn, jackets on and hoods up, and the wind coming straight at them across the tarn from the right, so it wasn’t quite the best place for a picnic on a day like today. Third from the left on the skyline is a distant view of a cloud free Scafell Pike.
Between the slopes of Great Gable on the left, and Green Gable on the right, is Aaron Slack, the route we have just come down. We’re now on the return leg of the walk and walking along the Styhead Gill path.
Further down the path we cross the gill and take the path which will lead us down to Stockley Bridge. Base Brown summit has a splash of sunshine while we yet again in the shade, at least its not very windy along here.
Further along the path and a look back to see that Scafell Pike is cloud covered once again.
Styhead Gill and the path running in parallel as we begin to descend.
Styhead Gill splashing its way down into Borrowdale. If you take a line up from the gill you’ll see a u-shaped area of trees. That’s Greenhow Knott where, just to the left of it, Styhead Gill makes its final plunge into Borrowdale via Taylorgill Force.
Greenhow Knott. Taylorgill Force is located between the trees at the end there and the steep slope beyond them.You can hear it pounding down from quite a distance away.
The path from Greenhow Knott winds its way down the fellside to a gate in the wall.
Through the gate after which a few short steps leads you to the much photographed Stockley Bridge.
I have plenty of pictures of Stockley Bridge, I don’t need any more pictures of Stockley Bridge. Oh, go on then I’ll just take another one. I’m beginning to wonder if I’ll ever be able just to walk over it without taking a photo. This and Ashness Bridge must be the most photographed bridges in the Lake District.
Taylorgill Force, which I could only get a view of from this point as the trees are in full leaf.
A look back along the valley path with Seathwaite Fell over to the right, and Taylorgill Force on the extreme right.
We’ve reached the end of our walk and are back at Seathwaite Farm. I’m still hobbling along like a lame duck and when I get home the first thing I’ll do is put some pain killers in the first aid kit, then its a cup of tea and two tablets, followed by a little hydrotherapy, aka a long soak in a hot bath. Its a pity that we couldn’t make it onto Seathwaite Fell but there’s no sense in making things worse. We’ll be back.