Drawing 340: The Napes, Great Gable

Direction of view: ENE

Notes: From the south traverse path.

Comments: I first took this photo (image 1) on slide film on 26th May 1992, on a walk with Peter Messenger.  My diary describes it as “a classic summer mountain day: shorts and T shirts for rocky scrambling to the tops, grand views of fells and lakes, fresh green colours and uninterrupted sunshine”.  We did the walk described in the book “Classic Walks”, and got no less than 11 sketches.

I took the picture for the digital project on 29th October 2017 – my 60th birthday.  I was lucky to have a day of excellent weather, and set out from Seathwaite via Taylorgill gorge and Sty Head, then round the south traverse, where I met some climbers, who were “threading the Needle” as I was at the Dress Circle, and they climbed Needle Ridge as I had lunch near this viewpoint.  After taking the picture (image 2), I continued to Beck Head, then Gable summit (where I met the climbers again), Westmorland’s Cairn and down Aaron Slack.  I got four new sketches (161, 254, 242 and this one) and one improvement (174).  The walk felt tough – I must be getting old or something.

Surprisingly, the only other place in Wainwright’s published work where this view appears is on page Great Gable 14 in The Western Fells.

Quite apart from the famous Needle, the Napes is one of the classic climbing grounds of the District: as the climbing guidebook states, it “provides climbing of all grades in superb surroundings with its unique ridges and steep walls overlooking the upper Wasdale Valley and the Scafell Range”.