I was up from my bunk just after 6am on Day 2, Tuesday 28th August 2007, and
straight into the members' kitchen to make up today's soup - Heinz Beef Broth -
and fill the bladders. While waiting for Jimmy to surface, I compared plans with
the other early-rising hostellers. Everyone seemed to be heading for Great
Gable, and I must admit it was nagging at me that it wasn't in my original list,
given that we were staying at Honister. We were originally going to do
Scafell Pike G/LD-001 from Seathwaite today, but
looking over the maps and checking with other hostellers, I considered walking
from Honister, over Great Gable to Scafell Pike.
Most it seems, take the direct climb from behind the slate mine to approach
Great Gable. I didn't fancy such a punishing start to the day, so walked up the
disused tramway from the mine up to the top section where the slate mine tour
bus ferries the customers. Here, we branched left along a well established
mountain path that took us into the heart of the Lake District fells. This was
great stuff. Immediately before us were Kirk Fell
G/LD-014 and Pillar G/LD-006. Kirk Fell looked a fairly doable proposition,
whereas Pillar just looked enormous! "Why don't we scrap Scafell Pike for today,
and do Great Gable with Kirk Fell?" suggested Jimmy. Still not convinced that my
idea of following Great Gable with Scafell Pike was altogether sensible,
"Splendid idea son" was my reply.
Curling around to the left opened up the view of Great Gable with Green Gable
to its left, separate by the steep looking route up to Windy Gap. This was my
original intended approach, but I decided we would continue around the path to
the western flank of Great Gable and ascent from there.
The steep ascent just seemed to keep going up and up, but eventually the
gradient eased and I could see a clutch of people on the summit - including
Jimmy. Simon M3IWN/P was heard calling from Skiddaw
G/LD-004, so he was our first contact for the summit-to-summit. We then had
a break to enjoy the Beef Broth soup, and more importantly, the views. I had
heard it said that Great Gable afforded the best view in the Lake District, but
I had to disagree. For me, this was the best view so far from any UK mountain.
It was simply stunning, with contrasting panoramic vistas in all directions.
Turning one's head a few derees revealed yet another stunning view.
Several others from Honister YHA were on summit, so we said hello to them
again, before returning to the radio and making a further seven QSOs, including
GW0DSP, now with 4 out of 4 and expressing his personal target to work us on
every LD activation of our trip.
Descending from the rocky summit was time-consuming, but care was needed. Even following the cairned path, some minor scrambling was necessary on occasions. I advertised the summit view enthusiastically to those ascending as I passed them. Once on horizontal ground, it was a very short walk across to where the ascent begins for Kirk Fell G/LD-014. It still looked pretty steep, but not in the same league as Great Gable. I kind of liked the idea of another 8 pointer for little more than 150m of ascent! Before commencing the main ascent, we sat down and enjoyed the fabulous view out to Wasdale.
Thanks to the following stations, all worked on 2m FM with 5 watts of power: