Loop of Giants • Summit and Beyond
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Loop of Giants

Ennerdale Water

Loop of Giants


Distance – 38.78 km / 24 Miles

Ascent – 1961 meters / 6433 ft 

Difficulty – Extreme

Route Categories 

The routes I am documenting here will all include 6 figure grid references and a GPX file. If you are going to use the GPX on an app or alternative GPS device, please ensure you also have basic map and compass skills so that you can continue following the correct route in your GPS device fails or you need to divert the route for safety reasons. 

The routes are categorised into Easy, Difficult, Extreme. 

Easy routes have minimal ascent and remain on easy to follow established trails. 

Difficult routes require basic map and compassions skills because the trail will not be obvious in places and the ascent may be more intense than Easy routes. 

Extreme routes include up to or above marathon distance, very steep terrain that should only be negotiated if you are confident and have the relevant experience to tackle that terrain. A map and compassions will be necessary and ascent will be substantial. 

Loop of Giants 


The Loop of Giants starts at Seathwaite Farm grid NY 235 122. There is parking pretty much all the way down the road to the farm, however I recommend parking in the field next to the camp site and paying the £5 into the honesty box. The family that work the farm are extremely hard working sheep farmers with a flock that roams right up on to Great End and further. I cannot imagine the scale of work these folk have to do to keep their sheep safe and healthy. When it is busy with hikers it must be stressful because moving about the farm becomes hazardous for the farmers, therefore £5 is a small donation to give out of respect. The farm also has a camp site with showers, so may be consider spending the night there so you don’t have to mission off straight after the trail ends. 


Section 1

From Seathwaite Farm follow the main trail next to the river heading south to the ancient bridge at grid NY 234 109. Stockley Bridge is an ancient pack horse bridge which has been restored over the years to withstand the heavy foot fall of tourists in modern times. 

Stockley Bridge

Once you are over the bridge there is a gate. Go through the gate and turn immediately to the left. At this point, if it is a busy day, most people will be heading through the gate and continue straight on. Do not follow the crowds and make sure you turn left through the gate. This path contours round the base of Seathwaite Fell following Grains Gill to the foot bridge at grid NY 234 099. 

After the foot bridge you are now following Ruddy Gill which eventually turns into a steep feature with some awesome looking cliffs. Near the top of ruddy gill turn and look, you should see mountain ash growing on the cliff face. At this point please keep your eye closely on the drop off to your right. It becomes very steep and exposed quickly and the risk of slipping near the edge is high so walk with care. The scenery starts to unfold as you ascend Ruddy Gill and eventually the first giant will reveal its self. 

At grid NY 229 086 you will see the huge crags of Great End towering above which marks the end of the Ruddy Gill ascent. 

Great End

Section 2

Now head north west under the Great End Giant following the trail down to Sprinkling tarn on your right at grid NY 226 090. The trail continues north west for about 500 meters before turning to head west and opening up clear views of Sty Head Tarn and Great Gable. Follow the trail until you see the silver stretcher box at grid NY 218 095. 

The stretcher box marks the start of the descent to Wasdale Head. The trail hugs the side of Great Gable heading south west and weaves its way towards Wast Water. Keep looking up to the right for views up to another giant and host of Napes Needle a classic Lake District pinnacle rock climb. 

Wasdale Head

At grid NY 186 087 you will arrive at the Barn Door Shop. This is a good spot to grab some food and a drink before continuing along the road and bank of Wast Water. 

Wast Water

Section 3

As you make your way along the road following the bank of Wast Water look left and you’ll see the next two giants, Scafell and Scafell Pike. From the Wasdale valley these two mountains, the highest in England, look impressive and from this distance they look impassable. Now look to the right and you will see Yewbarrow. Yewbarrow isn’t the highest peak but from here it looks exactly how a mountain should, steep, pointy and like a drawing.


At grid NY 158 063 there is a sign pointing ‘2 miles to Haycock’. Follow the slightly boggy trail which handrails Nether Beck. Nether beck is host to some beautiful water falls. There are a number of tempting camping spots up here, however there are signs at the start of this section of trail advising ‘No Camping’.  Continue up the trail heading north all the way to the saddle between Haycock and Scott Fell at Grid NY 148 108.  

Lake District

Once at the saddle Ennerdale Water comes into view. The trail over Tewit How and onto Lingmell is not obvious in places and just before reaching Ling Meek Plantation the map does not accurately show the hight of the path. I have checked this on the GPS and I was correct. The Map and GPS show the path to be 30 meters or so lower than the actual path. If you venture towards the path marked on the map you will find yourself on very difficult terrain with loose boulders and long grass. Try and remain high on Lingmell and hollow the shoulder of the concours to a good path and descent into Lingmell Plantation. 

Ennerdale Water

When you reach the valley and the trail junction at grid NY 133 137 turn left and follow the trail east for 100 meters where you will see a foot bridge crossing the river. Use the foot bridge and then follow the trail for another 300 meters before walking north up the track with Ennerdale Water to the left and the Ennerdale valley weaving off to the right. 


Section 4

When you reach the track junction turn right on to the forest track grid NY 130 142 and begin the hike up the Ennerdale valley. This forest track leads all the way to the base of Green Gable and windy gap. Keep the river to your right and enjoy the views of Pillar another impressive Giant towering over you. The forest trail is just under 10km / 6 miles from the junction mentioned above to Windy Gap 


At grid NY 194 123 you will reach Black Sail Hut. From here the ascent of Tongue begins. Follow the trail up Tongue and remember to keep looking back and enjoy the view of Ennerdale valley winding away with the Solway, and if you’re lucky the hills of Scotland in the distance.

Ennerdale Valley

Eventually you will reach another junction at grid NY 211 108, turn right here and southwards for about 50 meters. Up and off to the left you will see the red slopes leading into Windy Gap. Follow the scree trail up into windy gap at grid NY 214 105. Now head north to the summit of Green Gable grid NY 214 107 and enjoy the views. On an exceptionally clear day look at Great Gable from the summit of Green Gable. Look to the right of the Great Gable Crags and out to the coast. If you can see the silhouette of an island you are looking at the Isla of Man.

Section 5

From Green Gable summit the trail heads north east. It is important to make sure you are following the correct trail here because the terrain off Green Gable can be confusing in poor visibility. At grid NY 221 111 the trail swings down to the east and then as you descend very quickly swings back north. You are now descending into Gillercomb a vast and beautiful valley framed by Base Brown up to your right and Grey Knotts off to your left. 


Eventually you will arrive at the fast flowing Sour Milk Gill. If it is clear you will see two stiles off to the left and out in front. It is tempting to head over to them but do not. Instead head for grid NY 227 121 and follow Sour Milk Gill into the valley. There is a decent path to follow once you begin the descent. Nevertheless, be aware that there are some extremely steep sections while descending Sour Milk Gill which involve some gentle scrambling. 

At the bottom of Sour Milk Gill you will find the most fun stile in the Lake District which is a fantastic agility test for the dog if you have one with you. After the stile you will reach a foot bridge at grid NY 233 122 which takes you back into the car park at Seathwaite Farm completing the Loo of the Giants.  


Added Extra

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