The railway line from Barrow in Furness to Carlisle hugs the coast most of the way, and has marvellous scenery of the Lake District mountains. The whole journey take two and half hours but you can get of at any of the 25 stations , some are request stops . On the train you tell the conductor , at a request station to get on you signal driver with your hand like you stop a bus. The second picture shows train route green and bus route red
South Cumbria has a rail link with more major parts of the country, the Furness Line. This is from Lancaster to Barrow-in-Furness and from Barrow connections can be made to head north up the Cumbria coast as far as Carlisle.
From Lancaster to Barrow the railway crosses the sands of Morecambe Bay twice by viaduct, firstly at Arnside and secondly from Cark to Ulverston. It's a picturesque route with vast expanses of sand and sea. Herons galore can be spotted as well as other sea birds.
Recently, the rail service was cancelled for a few months while vital repair work was carried out on the Ulverston viaduct. A bus service operated in it's place. Thankfully, things are back to normal now.
The Cumbria Coastal route is a slow one!! and doesn't run beyond Millom on Sundays. I seem to remember it took about 2 hours to get to Carlisle, if not more. Again, this is a scenic route and the line crosses the sands at the Duddon Estuary on yet another viaduct and again at Ravenglass on the Esk estuary.
This service is a request stop and you must make your destination clear to the ticket man!!
One thing that you Can say about Lakeland weather and that is “Changeable” !!
We say, you can get 3 seasons all in one day and this walk proved to be no exception to that rule !!
It pored down on the summit of Great Gable, Then faired up again but the cloud didn’t lift so that left us with poor visibility.
Never-the less we found our way Safely back down to Styhead pass and from there back down the zigzags to Wasdale Head.
If you look at the photos from the beginning of the day and then the ones from the end of the day then you probably wouldn’t think that they had been taken in the same month – let alone the same day – But they were !!
As we approached the summit of Great Gable the weather started to close in – rapidly, these next shots were taken within the space of 5 minutes !!
The morale is, Always be prepared for BAD weather when walking the Lakeland fells !!
Climbers Traverse path, This is further down than you think !!
Then continue following the path around the front of Great Gable until you get to Beck Head, from here you have several choices
1) Go down the path back to Wasdale head (As in The Assent on Great Gable)
2) Walk along the back Climbers Traverse to Arron Slack
3) Walk up to the summit of Great Gable (This is what we did)
4) Walk over Kirkfell
The Dress Circle is The place to get your Classic Photos, If you climb a little above it you get the Best view of Napes Needle, Just make sure you have plenty of film and batteries as it’s a Long way down to get more ;-)
From the Gully below Napes Needle you have to choices, either you can scramble around to “The Dress Circle” or drop back down to the Front Climbers Traverse path and either continue along to Beck Head or make the easier scramble back up to “The Dress Circle” from around the next corner,
The views from to “The Dress Circle” are among the Best in Wasdale – Hence the name ;-)
This is the ideal lunch stop, have a break and take in these awesome Views !!
Once on the Front Climbers Traverse path, simply follow it around the front of Great Gable, When you have crossed the scree bed of Great Hells Gate you will notice above you The Sphinx Rock and shortly after this Napes Needle comes into view, Napes Needle is actually before The Sphinx Rock but tucked away to the left so you need to keep an eye looking upwards, especially if it is your intention to “Thread the Needle”
Once past Napes Needle you need to leave the path and scramble up the gully to get a better view of it, or if you have decided to Thread the Needle it is best done form the Styhead side as the climb up isn’t as steep and the drop back into the gully is more manageable
From footbridge at the bottom of Great Gable continue ahead up the well defined path that angles fairly steeply across the scree beds as you head towards the Styehead pass. However before you get to the summit you need to leave this path at lower Cairn Knots Crags, This is a identifiable as the past climbs steeply up a watercourse at the side of the crag and there is a large level grassy area on the top of it, Just head straight up the side of Great Gable at this point and after about 15 minutes you will come across is the Front Climbers Traverse path going left to right in front of you, Turn left and follow this path.
If you happen to turn then head for the top of the pass and then dogleg left, My suggestion is a shortcut and will save you the dogleg !!
The first mile or so of this route is the same as The Assent on Great Gable, Start off from the Green at Wasdale Head, take the lane to the right of the Green, past St Olav’s church and through Burnthwaie farm and follow the good path along the valley bottom, but this time where the path splits you must take the left hand fork up the Scree towards Styehead pass. (Don't turn left off the path at The footbridge at the bottom of Great Gable but keep going straight on)
Another classic route on Great Gable is the Front Climbers Traverse, This route takes you past Napes Needle (Thread it if you like !!) and The Sphinx Rock, Arguably some of the best views in Wasdale.
Again check the weather forecast, (You can view the current weather on Great Gable by checking the link below) make sure that you have the right gear, Map and compass, good waterproofs, boots, and food and drink, Again make sure that someone knows your rout, So that the rescue services can be informed in the event of a mishap !!
The starting point for this walk is the same as The Assent on Great Gable, The Green at Wasdale Head.
From Beck Head there are 2 paths back down into Wasdale (You could also go over Kirk Fell and then down Black Sail Pass)
One path leaves Beck Head fairly high up to the left and is cairned and the other more minor path follows the beck down. The former is the better path but the latter is also a good route – the choice is yours, You then regain the Styhead path that you walked up, turn right onto this and walk back to the Green at Wasdale Head
From the Summit there are several ways down, you can return the same way that you came, take the path directly down to Beck Head or do as we did and take the path down to Arron Slack and walk the “Back Climbers Traverse” to Beck Head.
From the summit take the path heading towards Green Gable, this is a minor path and ios quite rocky but is well cairned. Just above Arron Slack the path swings to the right, this avoids a very Steep craggy section and is the recommended route.
On reaching Arron Slack the main path goes right to Styhead tarn, Left to Honister and there is a faint path that contours around the back side of Great Gable, this is the past that you want. It is quite narrow and rocky but the views are awesome and you are soon at Beck Head.
The Most dramatic mountain in Wasdale and indeed one of the most photographed mountain in the whole of Lakeland is Great gable, The following pages describe the walk to the summit from Wasdale Head, This is the shortest and quickest way up to the 2947 foot summit, Good paths mean that you don’t need any mountaineering skills, But never-the-less it is quite a demanding walk and you should allow at least 5 hours for the return walk from the starting point at the Green at Wasdale Head.
Make sure that the weather forecast is good before you set off and take a Good map, plenty of warm clothes, food and water and tell someone of your plans so that in the event of you running into trouble that rescue services can be alerted.
For an up-to-date view of the weather on Great Gable, log onto the link below to view the webcam.
Behind Styhead Tarn there is a Mountain Rescue Stretcher Box, the path to the summit T’s off steeply uphill behind this box, it is a good path and is paved most of the way to the summit.
Don’t forget to keep looking back as the views open up behind you
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