Potter Fell vanquished
How can such an insignificant little peak, only 1,279 feet,
cause so many problems?
You may recall
John and I (see BB0510) had failed utterly partly due to our inability to
identify the summit and partly due to the determination of the landowner to
stop people roaming up there.
Today's expedition almost fared similarly but thanks to
Bryan's determination and Stan's recollection this upstart of a hill was
eventually cut down to size.
It was only supposed to be a gentle little stroll; only 1.8
miles were needed in order to get Tony over his 200 BOOTboys miles for the year
and to qualify for the "2006 Best Newcomer" award. Indeed Tony was looking forward to starting late after tea and
crumpets at Wilfs and finishing there for a similar lunch.
However Wilfs was shut on arrival so the four BOOTboy and
one BOOTgirl (Emma, my daughter) set off from Staveley Mill
Yard towards Barley
Bridge, across the river and across the fields to Littlewood Farm and
Birkfield. From there we continued
until we came across the "No Entry - No Right of Way" sign discouraging people from
taking the Waiwright route. A long
debate ensued as to whether this was a lie or that the land had for some unknown but
not obvious reason had been exempted from "Right to Roam". Consulting the map determined the latter so
we carried on towards Potter Tarn but before reaching it detoured up the hill to try and find a
way through the walls onto the fell.
This failed so we rejoined the path to Gurnal Dubbs before
making another attempt with similar result.
Bryan was on the point of taking the group along to Gurnal Dubbs and
back for an early crumpet when, stung by moans about yet another failure to conquer
Potter Fell, he redirected us up the hill.
Stan was digging deep into his memory to recall just where
the stiles were that he had used in his running days.
Eventually we reached and legally
crossed a wall but as the mist was down
and we were not sure how many walls we had already crossed (legally) we were not entirely
sure where we were. Tony, however, was
sure that it was past his lunch time and despite this being a no-stop walk he
tackled the butties he had brought with him due to his lack of confidence that
we would be back at Wilfs in good time.
Once we had worked out where we thought we were we made our way along
and discovered a waterfall that was marked on Bryan's OS map but not on my
Harveys. That confirmed our location so
what we should have done at that point was take a bearing and follow the
compass (it now being quite misty) and count steps. However we didn't. We set
off in what we thought was the right direction and probably looped round to the
right without realising it and probably did not go as far as we thought we
had. Anyway we couldn't find the wall
that ran just behind the summit. Bryan,
fresh from the Brewery pantomime, enjoyed it so much that he was having a
pantomime discussion with himself. It's
this way. Oh no it isn't. Oh yes it
is! We changed direction like a yacht
tacking upwind. repeatedly confused by mounds of heather masqurading as a wall. However
it was eventually discovered and, with it, the summit which
by finding the kink in the wall exactly where it should have been.
Fell Summit. At last!
Coming back was more straightforward- we followed the wall
to the northmost corner and then down until we picked up the path to Brunt
Knott Farm where we helped the farmer herd his rainbow coloured sheep (there
must be happy tups in the valley) before
heading down to Staveley.
All this had taken much longer than envisaged at the outset
and Tony was fairly frothing at the mouth at the prospect of Wilf's
crumpets. But it was still shut. Fortunately however the Hawkshead micro
brewery was open, not only for beer but also for excellent butties from Pain de
Paris which rounded off the BOOTboyss year most suitably.
28th December 2006
Bryan has reminded me of another article about
the problems of scaling Potter Fell on the Natland web
Fell: the Challenge within the Wainwright Challenge.
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