20th July 2013

Base Brown to Fleetwith Pike


Walk Overview
Time 8:00am to 3:55pm
Duration 7 hr 55 min
Distance 10.3 mile
Ascent 3700 ft
Walking with Paul Sharkey
Seathwaite - Soutmilk Gill -Gillercomb - Base Brown - Green Gable - Wind Gap - Great Gable - Wind Gap - Green Gable - Gillercomb Head - Brandreth - Grey Knotts - Fleetwith Pike - Honister Quarries - Honister Pass - Seatoller - Seathwaite
Fells visited
Directory places visited

Starting Point Information Centre
Roadside parking leading to Seathwaite, Borrowdale

The popularity of the fells around here are more than reflected in the number of cars you find lining the road from Seathwaite Farm working back in the direction of Seatollor. I'm almost tempted to say that this is somewhere you'll never fail to get parked. Simply join the back of the line on the grass verge.

Parking is free and there is a tea room and toilets at Seathwaite.


Route Map

After a chance meeting near Sheffield Pike in May, emails were exchanged and today I met up with Paul Sharkey for a walk over the fells above Seathwaite. The route was sort of agreed. However, as seen as though the country is in the grip of a much welcome heat wave, the final outcome would depend on how hot it turned out to be. As we walked along the road leading to Seathwaite the skyline is dominated by Base Brown. You can get to the top by a more direct route then ours by heading up the front of the the ridge you see here. Our chosen route was to walk through Gillercomb; one of Lakeland's many hanging valleys..

It was warming up nicely as we walked through Seathwaite Farmyard. At this point I couldn't see us completing the whole of the route we had in mind or at least not in the most comfortable of conditions.
Those wishing to walk to Stockley Bridge and the high fells beyond, need to continue straight through the farmyard. Our route onto Base Brown meant that we needed to turn right just after passing the truck.

Seathwaite Fell seen from the bridge over a very dry looking beck.

The lack of rain doesn't seen to have bothered the bracken much. Maybe it can get by on less water then some other plants such as grass, , , , I don't know, I'm just guessing.

It's a good job we hadn't came here specifically to see the waterfalls.

A very hazy view back down to Seathwaite.


A little way past the waterfalls the path leaves the side of the beck and heads across to the left hand side of Gillercomb. No doubt the path ended up over here due to people avoiding the wetter area of the valley. Today it wouldn't have mattered where you walked you would have kept your feet dry.

We're almost out of Gillercomb now and ready to take the short out and back to Base Brown summit.

Over there are Green Gable and Great Gable. We'll be heading across there shortly.

A hazy view northwards from Base Brown summit.

Looking back to Base Brown.

Heading up to Green Gable, the bit in the sunshine. The darker slice of fell is the top of Great Gable.

What a fantastic viewpoint. Straight ahead you have Kirk Fell and to the right of that is Pillar. The valley you see is Ennerdale.

It's decision time now and as there was a nice cooling breeze, we decided yes, lets head across to Great Gable as well.

Paul admires the view from the side of Green Gable. It's slightly hazy in the distance but not enough to spoil the closer views.


Heading down to Windy Gap which certainly lived up to its name today. I'd have paid for as breeze like this on some of the other walks I've been on recently.

As with all the other routes at the top of Great Gable it's a bit rough under foot but more than worth the effort.

It's not very often you see the top of Great Gable this quiet. Three blokes that seem to have been camping out overnight, another couple, and us two. I wonder where everyone is.

Wast Water seen from Great Gable summit.

Kirk Fell in front of the Mosedale Horseshoe.

, , , , on the other hand, this could have been an elaborate plan to fool people into thinking the plaque was being removed for a good cause when it was really on its way to be melted down.
Only joking, I'm sure Mr Barrett knows all about this, , , , ,

I guess there was more green grass and less red scree over there when 'Green' Gable was named. Of course the person who named it may well have been colour blind.

A close up of Styhead Tarn.

The view from Windy Gap.

Mmmmm, this looks familiar, I must have been here recently. We followed this path and then turned left towards Brandreth on the path you can see down there.

A close up of Borrowdale.

A close(ish) close up of Ennerdale.

Lots of good mountain scenery on this walk. Here you see Pillar and Scoat Fell above Black Sail Pass.

It looks like someone has finally broke open the bundle of fence posts that have been at Brandreth summit for as long as I can remember. There's another load of posts close by so perhaps some DIY enthusiast could come up and build a wooden summit shelter. Someone seems to have had a go already but they haven't managed to make a very good job of it.

While you're walking across the ridge you treated to this view down to Ennerdale and Buttermere / Crummock. I can't think of many other places where you get such a clear cut view of two valleys separated by a ridge in this way.

A little bit of zoom and here you have Buttermere and Crummock.

Looking ahead to Grey Knotts. Just follow the fence; more or less.

Grey Knotts was used our lunch spot today. As there were no other people about we broke good fell walking etiquette and hogged the summit.

Crossing the old tramway which cuts stranght through our route between Grey Knotts and Fleetwith Pike.

Looking over Dubs Bottom to Grey Knotts, Brandreth and Great Gable.

Perfect timing, as we reached Fleetwith Pike the clouds broke up and the sun returned. Sunny and hot at the start, cloudy and cooler along the hardest section of the walk and then to finish, the sunshine and heat came back.

On one side of Fleetwith Pike you have views across to Hindscarth, Robinson and the Grasmoor fells.

On the other side of the ridge you see Pillar, Haystacks, High Crag and High Stile.

Near the edge and looking down to the Buttermere side of Honister Pass. Not a good place to loose your balance.

I'm not sure what they've lost but I hope they put everything back when they've finished.

Down to Honister we go.

"Hurry up our bus is here"
"What do you mean have I got the bus fare. You said you were going to bring, , , , , , "
  "right, okay, now it looks like were walking down to Seatoller after all"

Paul wanted to play on the train for a while but thankfully I managed to talk him out of it. There was already a young lad in the drivers seat and I really couldn't be bothered with some irate parent having a go at me because her child had ran off in tears.

A view down Honister Pass. Roller skaters and skateboarders stand a better chance of seeing tomorrow if they get off and walk.

I think this bridge has seen better days and the beck has seen fuller days.

Straight off Honister Pass and you find yourself in downtown Seatoller.

Seatoller Farm B&B.
From here we made our way back to the cars in the afternoon heat. According to the weather lady on TV, the temperature had been in the high 20s in Cumbria today.

David Hall -
Lake District Walks