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Walk up Great Gable from Honister Pass via Brandreth

By Dave Chick   

on December 17, 2018    No ratings yet.

Walk up Great Gable from Honister Pass via Brandreth

Further Details

Route Summary:

Make the car or bus do some of the work on this walk from Honister to Great Gable

This walk includes the 4 Wainwrights of Great Gable, Green Gable, Brandreth, Grey Knotts

This walk includes the 3 Hewitts of Great Gable, Green Gable, Brandreth

This walk includes the 4 Nuttalls of Great Gable, Green Gable, Brandreth, Grey Knotts

Route Start Location: Honister Hause - Great Gable

4.23 km 615 m 3.5 hours

Calculate the time using Naismith’s Rule and factor in your own pace.

Activivity Type: Hard Walk

Summits and Places on this Route


Toilets and refreshments at Honister Slate Mine


Some minor scrambling may be required on Grey Knotts and the final ascent of Great Gable. Other than this, there are no specific hazards

Remember that we cannot outline every single hazard on a walk – it’s up to you to be safe and competent. Read up on Mountain Safety , Navigation and what equipment you’ll need.

Parking : CA12 5XN

There is plenty of parking at the Honister Slate Mine which charges £5 for the day (refundable if you spend £10 in their gift shop).

Tucked away behind the youth hostel is a National Trust car park which is free for members.

Public Transport:

During the summer season, the 77/77A Honister Rambler runs a circular route from Keswick that also stops at Grange and Buttermere.

Traveline for UK Public Transport

Recommended Maps


Walk up Great Gable from Honister Pass via Brandreth Ordnance Survey Map and GPX File Download

Download file for GPS

Walk up Great Gable from Honister Pass via Brandreth

There has been a slate mine at Honister since 1728 and, in its current form, is the last working slate mine in England. At 350m above sea level, it’s a great place to start a walk to one of England’s favourite mountains; Great Gable.

Starting from Honister is could be considered cheating, though don’t let that put you off this superb route. The slate mine will give you a head start for an adventurous day in the fells and possibly time to enjoy a cake at the slate mine when you return. While the initial climb from Honister is steep, the sweeping ridge from Grey Knotts to Green Gable is superb with great, all-round views.

Walk up Great Gable from Honister Pass via Brandreth Route Description

1 – Climbing begins immediately from the south of the car park but the start point can be tricky to find. Avoid the obvious routes to the old quarry inclines, instead, make your way from the car park to the opposite side of the slate mine buildings. The stile is located at NY 22505 13490. Once over the stile, the path climbs steeply, following a fence on the right-hand side. There is one slightly tricky section where a short scramble over rocks is required before continuing on.

2 – You will reach a stile crossing the fence you have been following. Cross the stile and turn left, and continue on with the fence now on your left-hand side. Continue ascending towards the highest ground on Grey Knotts. You will not need to cross the fence again to reach the summit.

3 – From the summit of Grey Knotts, make your way south-west past a few small tarns, following the crest of the wide grassy ridge. You will reach the fence again, crossing it via another stile. From here, the summit of Brandreth is only a couple of hundred metres away, marked by cairn surrounding an old boundary post.

4 – The ridge connecting Brandreth to Green Gable narrows at Gillercomb Head with the path following the line of the ruined Ennerdale boundary fence. From Gillercomb Head ascend south up the northern side of Green Gable to its exposed summit.

5 – Green Gable has an enviable view of Ennerdale, almost straight down the valley, flanked by high fells on either side. Great Gable also strikes an impressive pose a short distance across Windy Gap, your next destination. From Green Gable, descend the red, eroded path to Windy Gap.

6 – Windy Gap can often live up to its name, so be wary as you reach it on a windy day. From Windy Gap, press on towards Great Gable. Here, the climb requires a bit of scrambling initially before it reaches the final steep plod. Eventually, you will reach the summit plateau which is surprisingly broad. You may also notice that the path becomes much more intermittent though cairns mark the way to the top.

7 – A rocky outcrop marks the summit, it’s easily recognisable among the sea of stones. A war memorial is mounted to the outcrop, commemorating the men of the Fell and Rock Climbing Club who never returned from the Great War. Make sure you make a short diversion to the Westmorland Cairn directly south of the summit at NY 21066 10229. It has an expansive view of Wasdale and the screes of the Great Hell Gate.

Dave is our Lake District local expert, often found in the depths of Cumbria he's the author of his own part on the web, All the Gear but no Idea.
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