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View of Great Gable from Wasdale Head

View of Great Gable from Wasdale Head

Moses Trod, the high-level path that skirts the base of Great Gable's impressive north face (Gable Crag), owes its existence to a colourful quarryman known as Moses Rigg. Before the establishment of a proper road network in the district he devised the route as the shortest way of conveying slate from the quarries at Honister Pass to Wasdale Head from where the valley road leads to the port of Ravenglass. But slate was not the only thing his pony-drawn sled carried. Hidden among the loads, he concealed his own illegally distilled whisky, which he smuggled for sale on his travels. The remains of a hut high on Gable Crag have been linked to Moses and suggested as a site of one of his stills - it is located in a very exposed position midway up the buttress to the left of Central Gully. The site is known amongst climbers as 'Smugglers' Retreat'.

This superb path climbs a steady course from the broad col between Fleetwith Pike and Grey Knotts around stone Cove to gain the base of Great Gable's northwest ridge. A high-level crossing of Great Gable can be completed by returning over the subsidiary peaks of Green Gable and Brandreth.

Route Information

Time/Effort 3 out of 5
Navigation 3 out of 5
Technicality 3 out of 5
Height gain/loss (metres) 679
OS map OS Landranger 90, OS Outdoor Leisure 4,

Route Essentials

Duration: 5 - 6 hours

Miles: 6

Route Details

1. Climb the bridleway from Honister Pass to the broad col between Fleetwith Pike and Grey Knotts.

2. Pick up Moses Trod by starting at the remains of the Drum House and Tramway. Take it South avoiding the paths to Grey Knotts and Brandreth, and follow it as it slowly climbs South West then South East around the western flanks of Brandreth. It then heads South below the col of Gillercomb Head and the crags of Green Gable to Stone Cove.

3. Moses Trod then turns West and traverse across Stone Cove to gain the base of the northwest ridge Great Gable. Follow the rough crest of the northwest ridge onto the very rocky summit plateau. Look out for Westmorland Cairn (a short distance to the South West), constructed by two brothers by the name of Westmorland, which marks what they thought was the best view in the Lakes.

4. From the summit descend the path that picks its way steeply North East to Windy Gap. From Windy Gap make the short, sharp ascent North to the summit of Green Gable.

5. Descend North East then North down the rounded ridge to the col at Gillercomb Head. Cross the col and climb to the summit of Brandreth.

6. Descend North West to rejoin Moses Trod and regain the bridleway at the ruined Drum House and Tramway. Then retrace your steps back to Honister Pass.

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