Author Topic: Great Gable 11th Nov 2018  (Read 524 times)

gunwharfman

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Great Gable 11th Nov 2018
« on: 20:29:15, 15/11/18 »
I camped at Chapel Farm in Borrowdale from 10th November2018. On the morning of the 11th November I set off from 07.00hrs to climb to the top of Great Gable for the 11th November WW1 commerations. I soon walked and climbed with loads of other people all going in the same direction. The weather was not good from the start and it only got worse as we all climbed to the top. When I reached the summit there were hundreds of people already there and a lot more were coming up from behind me. I have no idea how many people actually made it to the top. A group of 4 soldiers also arrived and one of them had Hotpoint fridge on his back!

The weather was dreadful, misty, very windy, cold and lots of horizontal rain. I arrived at the top at 10.40hrs, the Silence took place at 11.00hrs, everyone clapped and then we all scarpered down the mountain as quickly as possible.

I made it back to my tent and stayed in it one more night. I'm glad I made the effort even though the weather was bad.

I had a disappointment, my clothing and boots just seemed to fail on this occasion! My Paramo Alta 2 zip failed on the way up, couldn't zip it down, only up. I also wore a new rainskirt, bought the new 'waterproof' material recently and it proved not be waterproof! Thats already in the bin! What did surprise me was that my feet became wet though as well. My boots (Bergaus Superlights) have never leaked before but they did this time.

I'm sure the horizontal rain didn't help, I just seemed to be wet through by the time I returned to my tent again. First time I have been wet for a long time.

BuzyG

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Re: Great Gable 11th Nov 2018
« Reply #1 on: 21:41:51, 15/11/18 »
Well done on making the effort. Maybe some one up there wanted you to experience just the smallest fraction of what is was like, where they gave their lives for us. O0 

Hillhiker1

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Re: Great Gable 11th Nov 2018
« Reply #2 on: 22:12:41, 15/11/18 »
Well done on making the effort. Maybe some one up there wanted you to experience just the smallest fraction of what is was like, where they gave their lives for us. O0

Absolutely! Every credit! O0

April

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Re: Great Gable 11th Nov 2018
« Reply #3 on: 23:33:57, 15/11/18 »
Well done on making the effort.

Totally agree. I've heard the weather was dreadful on Sunday in the Lake District.
"Who would've thought...... you are light and darkness coming through" words by Tim Armstrong

jontea

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Re: Great Gable 11th Nov 2018
« Reply #4 on: 07:48:13, 16/11/18 »
Well done for making the effort Reg. especially in such bad weather conditions. I’m sure it was a memorable experience.


Kit malfunction is so annoying,  >:( [size=78%] [/size]
Walking is the world’s oldest exercise and today’s modern medicine.

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April

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Re: Great Gable 11th Nov 2018
« Reply #5 on: 08:24:48, 16/11/18 »
GWM wasn't the only one suffering adversity on Sunday. Paul Sharkey deserves extra credit for spending the day with Karl  ;)
"Who would've thought...... you are light and darkness coming through" words by Tim Armstrong

Lakeland Lorry

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Re: Great Gable 11th Nov 2018
« Reply #6 on: 08:27:01, 16/11/18 »
I was manning the car park at Honister on Sunday for the Great Gable memorial service and saw the man with the fridge on his back leave there.  It must have been hard work carrying that all the way to the top of GG.


I've heard estimates that there were over 1500 people who attended the service up on GG, which I'm not surprised at given the number of people who turned up at Honister.   When we arrived at 6:45 to set up the parking, there were already about 20 or 30 vehicles parked up and by 8am the car park was full and we had to start turning people away.   I think it was a combination of it being the centenary and also being people avoiding parking at Seathwaite after what happened last year.   


I know that some people aren't too happy with Honister because of the zip wire, but every year they hand over their car park to us (the Lake District Voluntary Rangers) and in lieu of car parking charges, we accept donations in aid of the British Legion Poppy Appeal.   This year £1350 was put into our donation buckets. 


Here's some info about the history behind the Great Gable memorial service:


The Lake District, the birth place of modern climbing, is also home to an exceptional memorial to members of the Fell and Rock-Climbing Club (FRCC) who fell in World War I. 3000 acres of Cumbrian fell mark the passing of 20 of the founding fathers of modern climbing – all of whom were cut down in their prime during the 14-18 war – their fitting epitaph is the largest war memorial in the world – Great Gable.
On the cessation of hostilities, the remaining members of the Fell and Rock-Climbing Club (FRCC) raised funds to purchase a fitting a memorial to mark the passing of their friends and comrades.
On Whit Sunday, 8 June, 1924, 95 years ago, the remaining members of (FRCC) achieved their aim and gifted the rocks and recesses of Ling Mell, Great End, Allan Crags, Green Cable, Great Gable, Kirk Fell and other peaks east and west of Sty Head Pass to the National Trust as a memorial to the club members who died in the first world war and “for the enjoyment of the people of our land for all time.”
The speech of dedication was made to a gathering of about 500 people from the summit box, by none other than Geoffrey Winthrope Young… a member of the FRCC and the Godfather of British climbing and mountaineering (Young himself was a veteran of the PIAVE Front, where he lost a leg but that didn’t stop him climbing!).
 
Young inspired many a climber and two in particular stood out – themselves becoming exceptionally well known in climbing circles.  This pairing consisted of Siegfried Herford, renowned as the greatest rock climber in his generation, (who was killed in action in 1916) and the none other than George Mallory of Everest fame.  Both frequently climbing together and were firm friends, indeed if the war had not claimed Herford it is likely he would have climbed on Everest with Mallory.   

By a strange quirk of fate on the very same day that Great Gable was dedicated as the world’s largest war memorial by his old tutor Young, marking the passing of their friends including Herford; Mallory and Irvine famously set out to ascend Everest and disappeared never to be seen alive again…

sunnydale

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Re: Great Gable 11th Nov 2018
« Reply #7 on: 08:29:34, 16/11/18 »
Some members of the walking group I'm in attended the service on G.G and said how awful the weather was.
Credit to all for showing willing and battling with the elements! O0
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Strider

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Re: Great Gable 11th Nov 2018
« Reply #8 on: 20:07:06, 16/11/18 »
Not all those who wander are lost

richardh1905

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Re: Great Gable 11th Nov 2018
« Reply #9 on: 15:36:16, 17/11/18 »
Good that you made the effort, Gunwharf. Perhaps the sombre weather fitted the occasion, as others have suggested.

dav

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Re: Great Gable 11th Nov 2018
« Reply #10 on: 16:00:23, 17/11/18 »
Slogger posting.I too was on my annual remembrance visit to Great Gable on 11th November. As said the weather could have been better. We were going from honister Slate Mine car park. However with cars parked at every conceivable spot all the way up Honister Pass it was obvious that the car park would be full. It was, so we had to continue down almost to Buttermere before we found a spot. That made for a long steep climb up the road back to the slate mine to begin our walk via Grey Knotts,  Brandreth and Green Gable to Great Gable. We arrived at the summit with 5 minutes to spare.I wore a Buffalo smock beneath my Goretex jacket, this proved far too warm and was soaking with perspiration by the time we reached our destination. Goretex walking shoes and gaiters. Unlike the Gunwharfman, apart from perspiration I remained completely dry beneath my few layers, feet included.As soon as the silence ended we were off trying to be and succeeding to be in the first lot to descent the scramble section to Windy Gap.
It was the busiest Ive ever known gathered on the summit and was easily more than 3,000, 2,000 being the norm and with so many descending there are usually rocks flying everywhere during that scramble.Back at the slate mine we had soup and a brew before walking back down the pass to the car. A shortish walk this year but a thoroughly enjoyable one.

Skip

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Re: Great Gable 11th Nov 2018
« Reply #11 on: 00:11:38, 19/11/18 »
I walk up Gable on Remembrance Day most years and this was one of the wettest.

We started from Seathwaite Farm and there were still parking spots along the road and plenty of paid-for parking at the farm.
We started walking just after 08.00 and got to the summit at 10.35. At first we walked in cloudy but dry weather and got up the steep ascent above Stockley Bridge before the rain. From there it was increasingly wet and we donned waterproofs. From the Styhead stretcher box, the rain really closed in. On the ascent there was increasing low cloud and hill fog from 650 metres. By the time we got to the summit the wind had got up and there was very poor visibility at summit.  Not good conditions for standing around but observing the silence on Gable is always a very moving and rewarding experience.

The rain persisted until early afternoon, driven by gusting wind and there was significant chilling. But by the time we'd walked down and driven to Keswick and had a welcome cuppa it had brightened up. So we nipped up Lattrigg in the dusk and watched the lights come on  in Keswick.
As far as gear goes, my ME jacket wetted out but its Goretex layer kept me dry; my overtrousers did pretty well; my boots slowly let water in from the top (should've worn gaiters). All in all, I stayed comfortable and dry-ish.

It was the busiest Ive ever known gathered on the summit and was easily more than 3,000, 2,000 being the norm
Not sure where you get that figure from - it's usually about 500 AFAIK.  The BBC has reported up to 600 in past years. But, yes, there were more people than usual this year.
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gunwharfman

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Re: Great Gable 11th Nov 2018
« Reply #12 on: 16:23:51, 19/11/18 »
I watched the new film 'They shall not grow old' yesterday. If you get the chance please watch it, it is very, very good.

A lot of it is in colour, the creators have added voices to some footage but the BEST thing of all is that a lot of the orginal jerky, fast film has now been slowed down to the speeds that we are used to looking at. Its quite amazing how the view of that war now can be absorbed and become very meaningful to the viewer.

forgotmyoldpassword

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Re: Great Gable 11th Nov 2018
« Reply #13 on: 17:39:21, 19/11/18 »
I was also up GG this year, a first for me due to the centenary - decided if I didn't make an effort this year it was unlikely I'd do it any time later.  Woke up at 4am and made my way there, an absolute procession of traffic even by 6am on a Sunday morning made it a strange start to the day. Driving past Blencathra in low-light set the tone and by the time I was driving towards Borrowdale at 7am it had that lovely quiet Lakeland feel when you're getting set for an early walk.  This subsided as soon as I joined the line of traffic heading for the slate mine.  There were about a dozen on their way up and as many again behind me.  Threw some cash in the buckets on the way in and was amazed to see how many were already there.  I intended to chill, listen to the morning news and have a nap before leaving a little later (around 9), but by 7:30am I had my boots on and started to head over Grey Knots.  It was pleasant enough and with the forecast uncertain I figured I'd make the most of what views I could get.  Was quite pleasant, just started in lightweight trousers - no long johns, base layer and driclime vest only.  Looking back (at about 7:45) there was a line of traffic all the way up from the valley, it was quite a sight - and people were being made to queue due to the lack of space in the mine itself.


By the top of Grey Knots it was starting to blow a little which wasn't a surprise, but the rain changed from an occasional light dusting I shrugged off to more of a constant drizzle.  Usually I fly up mountains but I ended up ambling, joining a group and chatting with people.  By the time we got to Brandreth it was pretty poor visibility and my original plan to fly off to Base Brown before getting to the top of GG was feeling a little pointless.  Ended up putting on waterproof trousers on the pull up to Green Gable as it was really starting to come in now, passed some lads at the summit wanting to get a pic and offered to get them both in the shot.  It was amusing as the vis was shocking, but they looked cheerful enough.  Finally put gloves on and carried on past a party of young walkers taking a rest and it was blowing a hoolie across the gap itself - there were a few sheltering and presumably biding their time.  The route up seemed pretty benign despite there being a fair few people, I was behind a fast walker with sure footing which I always like - and ended up at the summit at 9:30am, rather surprised there were around 30 people there already.  Gave the cairn a kick then found somewhere out of the wind to rest in the constant rain. 


At this point I was reconsidering my choice to leave early, but with 90 minutes to wait in conditions of around 2C and wind-blown rain I put some extra layers on, had a warm drink and got talking to people.  Some (like me) had started very early, yet the majority seemed to be somewhat local or stayed nearby last night.  Met some nice FRCC people and it was pleasant to talk about the 'culture' around the event which emphasized it is seemingly not just a memorial, but acts as a beacon for like-minded people to show their respect and support the surrounding areas, not to forget the chance to reconnect with some old friends every year too.   By around 10:15 there were some people looking very cold indeed, despite the seemingly never-ending line of people wearing waterproofs who were joining the throng, mostly from Windy Gap.  One woman popped an orange emergency bivvy and needed a hand to get in, others borrowed gloves from those next to them, and a woman next to me was struggling to have any dexterity in her fingers - so ended up doing up her jacket and pit zips for her.  As a SAR member we see a lot of hypothermic casualties, and early hypothermia symptoms were present in a good number that day - from simple shaking to slurring speech and lack of concentration.  I made a mental note if I go back to bring a couple of bothy bags, and in truth whilst comfortable I certainly wasn't toasty either after 90 minutes in the rain.


The speech was given and the two-minutes silence observed.  There was something quite powerful about all those people, wet through in the elements - each spending those moments thinking about those soldiers who were in far, far worse conditions with a very mortal threat to themselves and no option to just turn around and go home at the end of the day.  It was humbling, and at the point of a round of applause I was glad I went.  I think ordinarily on a better day some people who might otherwise have lingered, however most were by and large breaking up and leaving the way they came - recognizing the need to create some warmth through exertion.  As I was one of the earliest people up I was also furthest away from the route back down again - unfortunately despite having the fortune of getting up from Windy Gap with a competent group of walkers, the way down was a stand-still as some were taking it very carefully indeed - no doubt in part due to them being bloody cold.  I decided to skirt around an alternate route (the slightly more slippery but unused steeper section) as I'm comfortable scrambling, and fortunately managed to skip a few hundred this way.  Windy Gap itself was even windier on the way back, with me needing to 'shoulder' towards the wind to stay on my feet - the visibility was still poor so Base Brown was official ditched for the day. 


I ended up going at my normal pace and passed a lot of people, yet despite the rain and now damp layers I was warm.   Before Brandreth I cut to the west on the easier path, chatted with a few people and did some map reading for confused people - but as the weather was now clearing a little I decided to head up Fleetwith Pike by the 'ridge' route, which isn't particularly recommended when the normal path is so easy.  It was deserted all the way up, which was a surprise, and I spend a few minutes at the top -  enjoyed the views of Buttermere, finished the food I brought and gave everyone else some time to clear the car-park.  On the way down I passed a couple, and took the mine access road back to the car park.  During the last hundred meters passing the mine centre I saw a Mountain Rescue land-rover with blues on hurtling up from Buttermere - considered giving them a wave to jump in and assist, but the driver was already turning to head up the track I had just walked down, presumably sort out someone who had got into trouble on the slippery and crowded descent from GG.


As others have said, those sort of conditions are hard not to end up wet through when inactive - I ended up in a compression baselayer, driclime vest, windproof, synthetic vest and waterproof lightweight smock.  Basically same sort of gear I'd carry on a 3-season day out - for the Sunday conditions I'd have preferred a beefier shell, maybe swap the vest for a jacket - or something like the Buffalo/Montane which work well, but usually only come out for colder conditions for me.   
Edit:  Seems the MR callout info was made public, http://www.wmrt.org.uk/incidents/great-gable-sun-11th-nov-2018/