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Seathwaite, Hanging Stone, Base Brown, Green Gable, Stone Cove, Great Gable, Sty head, Cumbria.
[11.3 km]  Wed 09 Jan 2019

Lat/Long: 54.500117, -03.181852
OS Grid ref: NY 23559 12287
I had a clear & easy ride up the M6 to Penrith where I turned off west to Keswick. Thankfully it was coming light as I drove south by Derwentwater to Seathwaite. At the farm I parked by the road as there was only one other car there in the parking area. I would normally have parked in the farmer's field in the parking area. I set off along the path that goes through farm buildings over the infant River Derwent and heads up the side of Sour Milk Gill. It is interesting to climb the slanted wooden style over the wall. The stoned steep path was easy but steep however some sections were steep slabs and not for the novice. At the top of the waterfalls the path levels off as it heads towards Gillercomb but I wanted to leave it and head for my first objective of Hanging Stone.

Looking back down Seathwaite

Hanging Stone in Wainwright's book

Hanging Stone this morning
There is supposed to be a branch path but there was no sign on the ground. I headed up through the grass and on to an area of boulders where a path became evident. Up ahead I could see some large boulders that A. Wainwright mentions in his ‘The Western Fells’ guide book. He also mentions the ‘Hanging Stone’ which is mentioned on the Ordnance Survey map. He goes on to say:
“The Stone occupies a startling position balance on the rim of a crag, apparently half its bulk being unsupported and overhanging the void, but it is smaller than one is led to expect (a few tons only) and the special distinction given to it on the O.S. map is not really merited.”

Crummock Water and Buttermere from Green Gable
There was now a good path below the rock but it followed a route heading along the contour and I wanted to head up to the rock. I climbed a steep grass slop but it soon reaches a rocky slab with ice on it so I descended and found a safer route up via the grass. I reached the rock but it didn’t look as impressive when I got there. Over Base brown there were occasional bits of path but the ground was easy going and the walking pleasant in the chilly (-2degC) air. After the summit cairn I descended to the ridge where the main path comes up from Gillercomb. The path up ahead became steeper as it approached Green Gable. The clear weather continued but there a chilly wind so I had to search out some shelter to have my sandwiches.

Great Gable summit War Memorial plaque
There was semi frozen gravel on the descent to windy Gap so I needed extra care. I turned right to continue descending to Stone Cove. It was equally difficult going. To my left I could see the large boulder where I’ve had several camps in the past. I turned left to follow an easy path to Beck head where I turned left to head steeply up towards Great Gable. It’s been many years since I’ve been on this path and have no recollection of it. I was easy at first and then wound intricately though the boulders becoming more difficult to follow. Eventually I emerged on to flatter ground and could see the Great Gable summit cairn and boulder ahead. I always find it interesting that there is no trig post on the summit. I stopped at the War Memorial plate fixed to the large boulder and was pleased to note that the many small wooden crosses that are left here each November had been cleared away.
Stretcher Box
Even though it was sunny it wasn't particularly photogenic as the light was quite glaring. I took my time on the descent which was mostly a substantial stone track descending down to Sty Head and it wasn't as bad as I'd expected. I stopped briefly at the Stretcher Box then turn left to follow the path down past Styhead tarn and then along the side of the gill. When I reached the gate just before Stockley Bridge I noticed a sign saying the footbridge up grains Gill was being replaced. I stopped briefly at Stockley Bridge as it is always a pleasant spot whatever the weather . I continued along the track for just under a mile to return to Seathwaite. When I got back the sun had just reached my car. It was a pleasant drive home.
Stockley Bridge