Sunday, December 7, 2014

Base Brown, Green Gable, Brandreth and Grey Knotts

from Green Gablle looking down into Ennerdale and, further to the right, Buttermere

Sunday was always going to be the long run this week but as it got closer, the weather forecast got worse.  I picked out a route with a few options, the shortest of which being a run from Seathwaite up the Gillercomb valley to Base Brown and then back down via Stockley Bridge.  A longer option included continuing on up Green Gable and then on over Brandreth and Grey Knotts to Honister and then down the bridleway back to Seatoller.  As we drove to Borrowdale (through a hailstorm) the longest of the plans seemed ambitious.  We parked at Seatoller and took the Seathwaite road for half a mile before bearing off on the footpath which eventually leads to The Borrowdale Yews:

 I had read about these ancient Yew Trees, "The Fraternal Four" as Wordsworth dubbed them, now only three remain following a storm in 1866.  

The trees are thought to be about 1500 years old.  You can go into the little fenced off area and have a good look around. Understandably, you are asked not to climb on the trees.

They certainly look old, the trunks are hollow and the wood very knarled.  Some post run reading suggests that they are in quite a delicate state, particularly the oldest of the trees, which is probably not the largest.

The sign says that in 2005, the canopy of the largest tree was completely lost.  I think this is the one on the right.  Apparently, despite loosing so much of the tree, it will regenerate and there are certainly lots of green shoots coming from the old wood.

More information 


and here 

and perhaps more than you ever needed to know here 

about The Borrowdale Yews.  Fascinating.  
Now let's get going up some fells.

We carried on on the very wet path over to the footbridge over Sourmilk Gill, picking up the path along and over the wall before climbing the steep path up the side of the gill.  After the little scramble, made slightly more difficult by the wet conditions, we were into the Gillercomb valley, taking the nice track up to the top.  Here we doubled back to pick up the summit of Base Brown.

Gillercomb valley looking quite nice

Base Brown summit, quite windy up here

We ran back down to the col at the top of the Gillercomb valley.  I had suggested that we head down to Sty Head and down via Stockley Bridge but when we got back to the junction, we decided to carry on up to Green Gable and make a decision from there.  This point was probably the wildest the weather got, some sleet and hail.  We were warm enough though and chatted away happily through it up to Green Gable summit by which time, the conditions had mellowed.

Dean enjoying the conditions

heading up to Green Gable

Dean at the summit.  I told Dean that the summit behind (Great Gable) was the actual summit.  From the look on his face, he definitely believed me for a second.

From Green Gable we had options, carry on to Aaron Slack, taking this way down to Sty Head and back via Stockley Bridge.  However, I was quite keen to head over Brandreth (although I couldn't remember its name until I looked) and Grey Knotts.  From Green Gable the route finding is pretty easy as there are fence posts to follow.  We decided to get down to the bottom of Gillercomb Head and then make a decision whether to follow the Moses Trod path or go higher over the summits.  Our only slight concern was time (daylight) although we both had head torches, I really didn't want to be up on these fells in the dark.

Dean led the way and ran straight past the path junction.  I was happy to follow him and we had plenty of time anyway.  I had to get the GPS out to confirm the summit of Brandreth but I do remember the bundle of fence posts that have been up there for a long time, certainly since the last time I was up there.

Dean summiting Brandreth

and Grey Knotts (I told him that that bit of rock was the actual summit and it didn't count unless he stood on there).

From Grey Knotts we managed to pick out the track which took us down nicely to the Moses Trod path and over to the slate mine.  From here we took it easy down the Honister bridleway.  It was very wet here but I was thinking that my feet couldn't get any wetter so we just ran through.  We did a few laps of the car park to make the distance up to 10 miles.

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