Walk up Great Gable from Seathwaite via Gillercomb
Visit Gillercomb on this classic Great Gable route from Seathwaite
|4.1 km||778 m||2 hours - One way.|
Calculate the time using Naismith’s Rule and factor in your own pace.
Start and Finish: Seathwaite Farm - Great Gable
Toilet block at Seathwaite Farm
No specific hazards
Though no public transport runs into Seathwaite, it is possible to get buses to Seatoller. The 78 runs an hourly service from Keswick to Seatoller (half hourly at weekends) while the 77/77A ‘Honister Rambler’ also calls at Seatoller every hour.Traveline for UK Public Transport
Parking and Post Code for Sat Nav (where applicable):
Free parking is available along the roadside to Seathwaite Farm. If it’s busy, make sure to leave enough room for passing vehicles – including farm vehicles and trailers or emergency vehicles. Try to avoid parking on both sides of the road – there is an alternative car park in Seatoller.
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Walk up Great Gable from Seathwaite via Gillercomb Route Map and GPX Download
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Walk up Great Gable from Seathwaite via Gillercomb Details
As well as getting to the Scafells, Seathwaite can be used as a starting point for routes up Great Gable. Unlike Wasdale, Seathwaite is a much easier location to reach and has proximity to Keswick. Combine this with ample free parking and fell walkers flock to the area in their droves.
This route to Great Gable’s summit takes the lesser-used path through Gillercomb, a fine example of a glacial hanging valley. You’ll also get to see the Seathwaite Slabs, a playground for boulderers and climbers alike. If these weren’t enough, you will cross Green Gable on your route to Great Gable which has superb views of Ennerdale and the immense Gable Crag. You will not be disappointed.
Walk up Great Gable From Seathwaite Route Description
1 – At the farm, enter the yard but take a right through an archway which gives access to a walled lane. Follow this lane to a footbridge over the River Derwent. You will see Sourmilk Gill rising ahead, tumbling down the hillside; this is the route into Gillercomb.
2 – Follow the pitched stone path alongside a wall before crossing it using a substantial stile. The path winds its way through Seathwaite Slabs, typically keeping to the left of Sourmilk Gill, which is home to numerous pretty waterfalls. Keep following the path as it steepens climbs a large, rocky gully before it reaches a flat rock ‘shelf’ at the intake wall (hands may be required in a few places).
3 – Follow the path alongside the wall a short distance to a gate and pass through. The path will pass close to some of the upper waterfalls of Sourmilk Gill as it climbs to the rim of Gillercomb.
4 – The hidden valley of Gillercomb is superb; a classic example of a hanging valley (where a small glacier fed into the larger glacier that formed Seathwaite). The path skirts the edge of the valley, below the flanks of Base Brown and gives a view of rarely seen crags of Grey Knotts and Brandreth.
5 – At a marker cairn, bear left to continue south where the path now starts to climb more steeply towards the col between Base Brown and Green Gable (this area is called Blackmoor Pols). Once at the col, take a right at a cairn along the path which makes from Green Gable. It will eventually meet the wide, worn track rising from Honister. This path is lined with cairns and will take you to the summit of Green Gable.
6 – 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.
7 – 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.
8 – A rocky outcrop marks the top, 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.