The Honister Slate Mine and Great Gable walk in the Lake District

An immediate, steep climb from the slate mine to the summit of Grey Knotts followed by a south-westerly walk over to Brandreth. South up to Green Gable, then south-west across Windy Gap and to the top of Great Gable. North-west back down the mountain and east to reach the path known as Moses’ Trod. Finally north to Fleetwith below the western slopes of Brandreth and Grey Knotts before heading east back to the starting point. A 6-mile walk in the Lake District.


The best map to use on this walk is the Ordnance Survey map of the Lake District North-Western Area, reference OS Explorer OL4, scale 1:25,000. It clearly displays footpaths, rights of way, open access land and vegetation on the ground, making it ideal for walking, running and hiking. The map can be purchased from Amazon in either a standard, paper version or a weatherproof, laminated version, as shown below.

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The view north-east from Gillercomb Head down into the valley between Base Brown (right) and Brandreth.


Gillercomb Head between Brandreth and Green Gable, with Great Gable in the background on the right.


Looking north-west towards the Ennerdale valley. The River Liza flows through the valley to reach Ennerdale Water which can just be seen in the distance.


The summit of Green Gable, height 801 metres (2628 feet), backed by Great Gable.


The Ennerdale valley as seen from Green Gable. Buttermere and Crummock Water are also visible on the right.


Gable Crag on the north face of Great Gable.


The view south-east from Windy Gap down to Styhead Tarn and over to the higher Sprinkling Tarn.


Windy Gap, the col or saddle between Green Gable and Great Gable.


The mountain range which divides the Ennerdale valley and the Buttermere / Crummock Water valley includes, from front to back, Hay Stacks, High Crag, High Stile, Red Pike, Starling Dodd and Great Borne.


Another view of Styhead Tarn and Sprinkling Tarn. To the far left of the picture on the horizon are the knobbly peaks of Pike of Stickle and Harrison Stickle in the Langdale Fells.


The climb to the top of Great Gable.

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The summit of Great Gable, height 899 metres (2949 feet). The plaque attached to the rock reads as follows:

FELL & ROCK CLIMBING CLUB

IN GLORIOUS & HAPPY MEMORY OF THOSE
WHOSE NAMES ARE INSCRIBED BELOW-
MEMBERS OF THIS CLUB-WHO DIED FOR
THEIR COUNTRY IN THE EUROPEAN WAR
1914-1918 THESE FELLS WERE ACQUIRED
BY THEIR FELLOW-MEMBERS & BY THEM
VESTED IN THE NATIONAL TRUST FOR
THE USE & ENJOYMENT OF THE PEOPLE
OF OUR LAND FOR ALL TIME:
J.S.BAINBRIDGE: J.G.BEAN: H.S.P.BLAIR:
A.J.CLAY: J.N.FLETCHER: W.H.B.GROSS:
E.HARTLEY: S.W.HERFORD: S.F.JEFFCOAT:
E.B.LEES: S.J.LINZELL: L.J.OPPENHEIMER:
A.I.PRICHARD: A.M.RIMER: R.B.SANDERSON:
H.L.SLINGSBY: G.C.TURNER: B.H.WHITLEY:
J.H.WHITWORTH: C.S.WORTHINGTON.


Wast Water as seen from Westmorland Cairn on Great Gable.


The view south from Westmorland Cairn towards Scafell Pike (centre, horizon). To the right of Scafell Pike is Sca Fell and to the left is Broad Crag and Ill Crag. Lingmell sits in front of Sca Fell.


Looking west from Westmorland Cairn over to Kirk Fell, backed by Pillar.


Back on the top of Great Gable after our detour to Westmorland Cairn.


Amazing views during the north-west descent of Great Gable, but care is needed as the steep mountainside is covered with loose, slippery scree.

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Looking back at Gable Crag from Moses’ Trod.


The mountain range on the southern (left) side of the Ennerdale valley includes, from front to back, Pillar, Black Crag and Scoat Fell.


Buttermere and Crummock Water come back into view as we make our way over to Fleetwith.


Honister Slate Mine, the last working slate mine in England. Quarrying for Westmorland green slate has been taking place in the area since 1728. Apart from the mining it is also a very popular tourist attraction in the Lake District.


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