Grey Knotts, Brandreth and Base Brown

Name of walk Grey Knotts, Brandreth and Base Brown
Date of walk 2009-10-24
Distance walked (miles) 6
Duration of walk 6 hours 30 minutes
Weather Mist and rain
Peaks on walk Grey Knotts, Brandreth and Base Brown
Walked with Ged and blind Kas
Parking Roadside Seathwaite

Yesterday Ged, Kas and I went to Seathwaite in Borrowdale to climb Grey Knotts (2287ft), Brandreth (2344ft) and Base Brown (2120ft). Friday was forecast as the best day of the week. Heavy showers in the hills, but good to moderate visibility, except in hill fog, and sunny intervals, getting better as the day goes on………PAH!


The weather wasn`t too bad on arrival. We went through the farm archway and crossed the bridge where we could see Base Brown and Seathwaite Fell quite clearly.


We were heading up the steep fell-side of Seatoller Fell, weaving amongst the spoil heaps of the Plumbago mines (black lead, wad and graphite) that had been abandoned for over a century.


Looking up Grains Gill.


Just under the trees in the ruined building was a mine entrance.


An entrance.



The next one we came across looked more interesting so we had a little look.


The tunnel lead to a deep shaft that went straight down, there were some fixed ropes so it must be used by pot-holers/cavers. Looking back to the entrance from the side of the shaft.


Ged looking down into the abyss.


The fell side was not getting any less steep! Base Brown on the left with Green Gable and then Brandreth to the right.


We then had to locate the stile I guessed it would be off left and luckily I was right. From the other side, the wall is over six feet high with a two foot fence on top. Not easy to climb over with a dog!


There was then a long trudge over grass and bog, the mist had obscurred the view, but we managed to locate the Honister Pass path next to the fence, that would take us up to Grey Knotts. It had taken two hours to reach! Admittedly, a lot of that was spent exploring the mines. Looking down Seatoller Fell that joins Grey Knotts, we joined the path from the far right.


Grey Knotts summit with Brandreth ahead. Nothing to see, and it was pouring with rain still......a very long shower!


Then there was just a glimpse through the mist of Crummock Water and Rannerdale Knotts. Looking very different from last Friday! We moved nearer to the edge so that Buttermere came into view but then the mist obscurred Crummock Water and then everything!


Brandreth summit. There should be a great view of Green Gable and Great Gable ahead....grrrr! I checked the compass and headed off due south which should take us almost to Green Gable summit before we then turn 90 degrees and head off towards Base Brown. If the weather had been better we may have included Great Gable and Green Gable, but there was no point today.


It was a relief to have confirmation of my map reading skills when the mist cleared enough for Base Brown to come into view. That sunny interval that the weather forecast had promised then appeared in the valley just above Kas!....Grrrr!


When we got lower we could see into the Gillercombe Valley, Grey knotts and Brandreth, on the left, were still in the mist.


We headed for Base Brown.


It was still raining on the summit.


The mist was starting to clear and Borrowdale came into view.


So this is what Grey Knotts looks like!


Looking down at the Plumbago mine spoil heaps we passed on the way up


Grains Gill, but Great End is still in the mist.


Within a few minutes it was a lot clearer. We could see the car! It was still raining though.


Because it was so wet we decided not to go off the end of Base Brown but to descend via the valley


Start of the descent for Sour Milk Gill.


One of the many waterfalls.


The pitched path down by Sour Milk Gill is a nightmare to come down in the wet. I don`t know why they build paths and place the stones at 45 degrees. It just makes them so dangerous to stand on when it is wet and slippery. You have to spend time deciding where to place each foot, looking for a flatish stone to give you purchase. It took us ages to climb down. It wasn`t all path, there were some rock sections which were also very slippery in the rain. Please excuse the blurred photo. Light levels were too low and I had to use a slow shutter speed, but couldn`t hold it still enough. At least it shows the difficulties in descent with a blind dog!


Some more cascades.


Heading back over the bridge to Seathwaite Farm.


We stopped off to say "hi" to the girls.

A pity about the awful weather! There should have been some great views today. So this is another walk I will need to repeat, but next time I will do it in reverse and go up Sour Milk Gill (having no wish to ever come down it again!) and do a direct ascent of Base Brown, having spotted the path on the way down, which should save some time.
The walk was about 6 miles but took us six and a half hours to complete.