Where is this walk?

Great Gable from Honister Pass

April 21, 2017

Great Gable is one of the best known mountains in the Lake District. The approach of Great Gable from Honister Pass is excellent with good views and an interesting varied descent over three more Wainwrights.

The Walk

Sometimes described as the cheats way to the summit of Great Gable (due to its high start), I find it a sensible alternative to the unending steep slopes from which the summit is gained from all other directions. The views on the walk in down first Buttermere, then Ennerdale and finally Wasdale are excellent and to be savoured. The spiral wheel of the Lakeland valleys are best seen on this approach and there is nowhere the topography of the entire Lake District is better laid out.

However this does not mean that the rocky slopes of Great Gable on its summit cap are avoided. It simply means there is more pleasant walking before getting there. The outbound and return routes meet at Windy Gap between Great and Green Gable. From here it is a rocky path that climbs to the iconic summit. On the summit look out for the bronze plaque where the local mountaineering club erected the memorial in memory of those club members who died in the First World War. On the return I always like to keep high for as long as possible with on this occasion Green Gable, Brandreth and Grey Knotts adding to the tally of Wainwrights. By the time you have returned to Honister Pass you will not feel you have cheated at all.


Spend some time exploring the slate community that has grown up at Honister Pass. The Via Ferratta rope day is excellent. So is the tour of the mines but last time we stuck to a simple mug of tea!

The traditional and most satisfying route up Great Gable is from Seathwaite.

Navigation Tips on Great Gable from Honister Pass

The summit area of Great Gable is rocky and paths are difficult to follow. It is compass territory in the cloud.

  • I am NOT good at map-reading, famously so, despite my long experience in the hills. I am 88 years old and need to start off earlier than my ‘guided’ party. I need to summit Great G. by noon on the 8th June to send messages to the RGS in London at that time.

    How can I be sure of the route, without an experienced guide?



    • Jonathan says:

      I am not sure which routes the rest of your party is taking so difficult to answer accurately!
      However the paths are all clear but the question is choosing the correct one. My favoured route heads towards Fleetwith Pike on the wide track before turning south at the quarry. It then climbs gradually until half way to Great Gable where it veers left and climbs steeper to the col before Green Gable and on to Great.
      An alternative is to climb south to Great Knotts from Honister slate mine at the start of the walk. The path is again good and just keep heading south over Great Knotts, Brandreth and Green Gable to Great.
      If the weather is bad/cloudy it is easy to miss people though if you have not the route planned and agreed with the others.

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