Starting Point: Seathwaite
Distance: 5.71 miles (9.19km)
Sunday’s weather forecast was terrible, heavy rain and strong winds all day; perfect for the unsociable wanderer.
We arrived in Seathwaite just before 7am hoping to reach Great Gable and Kirk Fell but the weather had other ideas.
Parking up at the farm, we followed the path towards Sour Milk Gill and began the ascent alongside the waterfall.
Sour Milk Gill was flowing rather ferociously with all the recent rainfall, so naturally we pretty much climbed into it 🙂
Bang on cue at 8am the rain started, time to really put our waterproof gear to the test!
A small fern growing from the tree pictured below.
Capell Crag & Hind Crag overlooking Seathwaite, the weather closing in.
“Over the top”
Looking west towards Raven Crag and Grey Knotts, just before entering the clouds
Once we reached the top of Sour Milk Gill we faced a dilemma; left or right? The map I’d brought only had the second half of our walk on it so we were guessing our way towards Green Gable.
Sadly we chose right, this route didn’t actually exist. We struggled on through a bog, soaking our boots through after mistaking a stream for a path. Towering over us was Raven Crag, we figured to get to our destination we needed to get around it and follow the ridge Southwest.
The Mountain Goat tackles a barbed-wire wall
Raven Crag; it looks so still and atmospheric here, reality was those clouds were coming over our heads at 40mph!
The Mountain Goat decided today’s adverse weather conditions warranted a Ninja Costume…
We followed the ridge along Grey Knotts, only after plotting our route whilst writing this did I realise how close we’d come to Honister Slate mine and Fleetwith Pike, visibility up there was terrible. I’ll certainly be tackling this one again soon with better weather, the views down Ennerdale Valley and Wasdale are spectacular, shame I couldn’t see a thing!
Masking the struggle with enthusiasm
After several more bogs, a few patches of snow and some naughty gusts of wind we reached what looked like the beginning of our ascent up Green Gable.
A puddle that looks like a dog…we’d lost the plot by this point!
We followed the small piles of stones marking the path, visibility deteriorated even further and the wind continued to pick up. Only good thing was the rain had eased off a bit.
Taking a moment to soak up the breathtaking views from the summit of Green Gable…
Once we’d reached the summit of Green Gable we were back on the map, time to hide behind a big rock and check where we needed to head next.
We descended Green Gable into the aptly named “Windy Gap” – it was here, after being knocked off my feet 3 more times by the wind, that we made the decision to abandon our attempt to reach Great Gable and head back down to safety via Aaron Slack.
The view up Great Gable from Windy Gap
The descent down Aaron Slack took around 30 minutes, battling every step of the way with some of the strongest winds I’ve ever been out in. This waterfall had to put up one hell of a fight just to run downhill!
Eventually we came to Styhead Tarn, left to Borrowdale, right to Wasdale Head.
Ninja VS Wind
Me VS Wind
Of we went towards Borrowdale with the wind now on our backs. Styhead Gill was getting deeper, the majority of the paths were now submerged, not that it mattered to our boots, they’d been full of water for a good few hours by this point!
By now the rain had picked up again and I’d been forced to retire the big camera into Glen’s waterproof Backpack, GoPro in hand we continued, ONWARDS!
Taylor Gill Force
The path followed the treeline down towards the valley floor
Looking along the valley back to Seathwaite, the end is in sight!
Thoroughly soaked through!
Verdict on my waterproof gear: Jack Wolfskin Waterproof jacket: FAIL, North Face Boots: FAIL, Freshly re-proofed Regatta waterproof trousers: WIN (Although some water had somehow managed to run all the way down my front from my neck and into…well…use your imagination!)
Next time I’ll just wear the wetsuit!
Looking South from the bridge towards Allen Crags
Some of the resilient locals, unphased by the deluge.
Yet more rain incoming.
Back in Seathwaite, time to dry off and head into Keswick to refuel.
My “I survived” face…a bit frustrated that we didn’t accomplish what we’d set out to do but I guess the more important thing is that I didn’t push my luck too much…this time 🙂
Until next time!