Can you find Base Brown’s ‘other hanging stone’? Well, this route provides much interest and is in my top five walks in Lakeland, and it also includes my favourite scramble. Base Brown’s East Ridge is a grade 1 scramble and should only be climbed by people with experience in this activity. I have included many photos to help guide you along, but if you attempt this route please take care and avoid this ascent in mist at all costs.
You could, if you wish, choose to walk over Brandreth and Grey Knotts after Base Brown, however, I prefer to give all my attention to this superb scramble that is exhilarating all the way. The route I’ve provided is a linear walk which takes advantage of the ‘Honister Rambler’ bus service, however, it can be made circular by adding another 1.5 miles and walking down to Seatoller from Honister. Personally, I’d rather park in Keswick for free and use the bus service.
A nice cup of coffee awaits you at Honister Cafe.
Route 2 – Seatoller to Honister, via Base Brown – Map 1
“Base Brown marks the end of roads and farmsteads, of woods and green pastures, as one proceeds into the upper recesses of Borrowdale” Base Brown 2
The popular route to Base Brown via Sourmilk Gill and the ‘Hanging Stone’ continues ahead. However, we go left through the gate and follow the path along the east flank of Base Brown.
The trees of Taylor Gill appear ahead, with the East Ridge dominating the skyline on our right; excitement takes over here!
“On its way to join the Derwent, Styhead Gill falls steeply down a wooded and stony ravine. Here is a fine cataract, Taylorgill Force. But why Taylorgill? Clearly the ravine must be named Taylor Gill, yet both above and below it the beck is Styheadgill. Why not Styheadgill Force?” Base Brown 5
I disagree with two parts of the above quote from Alfred Wainwright. Firstly, ‘gill’ actually means ‘ravine’, so it’s impossible for it to fall anywhere. It should say “Styhead Beck”. Secondly, I’ve always believed that the beck above the force is Styhead Beck, and the beck below is Taylor Beck or Taylorgill Beck.
This scramble on our right, which continues through the gate above, soon turns into a “spectacular” path that leads to Sty Head.
“Walkers are again reminded that the spectacular (but rough) track through Taylor Gill is a far better way to Sty Head than that in common use via Stockley Bridge” Base Brown 5
This holly tree marks the start of our route onto the East Ridge, and where we leave the Sty Head path.
As we turn sharply right, a small grass terrace below the holly tree leads to a rock gateway, where the East Ridge starts for real.
Here we go, the superb East Ridge begins. From here, many rock turrets and terraces provide options for ascent. It is a joy, a playground for the adventurous fell walker who likes to have rock as company.
There’s many scrambling opportunities over these rock turrets, some easy, and some hard. At this second rock turret, we follow the grass terrace seen here on the right.
Just around the corner is this hanging stone; yes, not as famous as the one on the north ridge, but it is far more hidden and well worth finding.
There’s much to explore on the third rock turret, with a few options of difficult scrambles on its a large face. However, an interesting route through a steep gateway on the left draws my attention.
The view down into Taylor Gill from here is amazing! Maybe worth a visit in autumn me thinks? 🙂
From here another grass terrace provides a way around to the right; there are options of scrambles up the face, but these are too difficult when you have a dog, as I have today.
After skirting around the base of the fourth rock turret, we arrive at the most difficult scramble of the day. It is steep, but short and straightforward on a dry day like this.
A. Wainwright talking about the East Face just below these clefts:
“The attention of intrepid and well-insured explorers is drawn to the remarkable cleft vertically splitting the crag. It is not listed as a rock-climb, either because it is too easy or too impossible. It is certain to be dangerous. The author, still unnerved after his climb of Jack’s Rake in 1957, has no information to impart.” Base Brown 3
There’s a nice little cafe and gift shop at Honister, and the Via Ferrata if you are still feeling fit.
Thank you for visiting.