For part seven of their epic 10-mountains-10-months challenge, Jess Martin and her Border terrier Toby took friends up the pyramid-shaped Great Gable in Cumbria
The day was set to be a long one as we had three hours of driving to do before we got to the start of the walk at Wasdale. This was also the first walk in a while where the weather was set to be against us – we’ve been so lucky with all the sunshine and beautiful views, so it was bound to happen. For the majority of this walk we were walking inside a rain cloud.
For this walk we also had some other supporters: our friends Abby and Harry joined us, alongside my good friend Sophie, who planned and conquered all the walks in this series with us. We all did a charity walk last year up Scafell Pike in memory of Sophie’s friend Rob, who committed suicide. My brother, Phil, also took his own life aged only 26. We are doing the #10mountains10months challenge to raise awareness for the prevention of young suicide and to raise funds for charities PAPYRUS (Prevention of Young Suicide) and CALM (Campaign against living miserably).
It was great having additional people with us, as we have found on previous walks: the bigger the group. the more people seem to be inclined to talk to you and ask about what you are doing.
Harry and my dog Toby (the two walkers with the smallest legs) were absolute troopers through the whole walk and this was a tough old walk. They provided lots of motivation – usually in the form of comedy.
Toby found this walk fairly difficult, because there were so many sections that were just loose rock, which is his least-favourite terrain to walk on. As usual, he channelled his inner mountain goat and ploughed on. He hurt his leg on this walk, so he ditched his backpack and the first aid kits for a little while.
For this walk we didn’t actually plan a route as such. We had decided to start from Wasdale and many of the routes we could find didn’t allow for that. we managed to speak to a very friendly farmer in Wasdale who pointed the path out to us, and from there it was up, up and away.
We didn’t get to see much in the way of views or scenery as the weather was so against us, but the sections that we were lucky enough to see were utterly beautiful. The view from Great Gable is known to be one of the most beautiful in the UK – we got an idea why.
The low visibility did make it quite difficult to negotiate the last section as there isn’t a path as such to follow, you sort of pick your way over rocks in order to find your way to the top.
We stopped at the top (which is 899 metres/2949 feet above sea) in a little spot out of the wind to have something to eat and then retraced our steps (badly due to the weather) back over the rocks, trying our hardest to keep to the cairns so we didn’t lose our way. The fog and cloud lifted on our way down so we actually got to see some of the gorgeous views that Great Gable has to offer!
We spoke to a few people on the way down who were interested in our challenge, which climbs we had already done and which we had left to climb.
This was one of the more emotional walks for me, as the day before would have been my brother Phil’s 28th birthday. I had been thinking about him more over the past week and was remembering the challenge we completed the previous year in his memory.
This is a walk I would definitely recommend – especially if you are close by or in the area, if you get the weather it is truly beautiful.
The route is a fairly steep one, with a few difficult sections but as long as you plan for all weathers and stay safe and sensible it is very enjoyable!