All the Fells: Green Gable


Green Gable – The Western Fells 2,603′ (35)

Date: 12 September 1985/12 July 1997/19 July 1997

From: Brandreth/Honister Pass/Great Gable

The mere fact that there was a Green Gable as well as a Great Gable, and that it was invisible behind its grander brother, made the fell inherently fascinating to me. I wanted to see it. The chance to see it, or at least a sliver of it that did not include the summit, induced me to avoid complaining for the first time in my walking boots, trudging up Sty Head Pass behind my Dad to the summit and that fractional, round the corner sight. If only I’d known there was an easier way: from Buttermere, the two Gables form a solid skyline, high and distant but very visible behind Haystacks, as I learned one rainy Friday when, with walking out of the question, the family went for a drive round the western lakes. I was always going to climb Green Gable, and as part of an ascent of Great Gable. And so I did, that hot, dusty day when I tricked myself along the ridge from Honister by reminding myself at every subsidiary top that the next one was only a short distance and a short height away, and that my legs would at least carry me that far. But Green Gable, despite its nice, compact top, and despite my enthusiasm for underdogs all my life, was only ever made to look up at Great Gable’s northern crags, for which it is the perfect place. On the way back, I side-stepped the ascent back to Green Gable and contoured around its flank, above Mitchell Cove – not the best idea I’ve ever had – to reach the ridge to Base Brown. My second visit was in altogether different circumstances, and had Green Gable as its primary target. Once again, I was starting from Honister Pass, though this time I took the car up to the slate mine, carefully hauled myself up to the Drum House and set off for the distant fells, keeping my eyes open for the indistinct junction with Moses’ Trod. I followed this to Stone Cove and then scrambled up the scree shoot beside the infant River Liza to Windy Gap and finished my ascent by sitting peacefully on Green Gable, before returning to Honister by the ridge. It’s weird to say that I have climbed Green Gable more often than Great Gable, but I have, for only a Saturday later I drove back to climb the latter via the Breast Route, and of course there was no doubt but that I would revisit the smaller top on the way back, before finishing the walk over Base Brown.

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