a solo effort would not qualify as an official BOOTboys
walk. However given all the games of e-mail
chicken that have been played lately during this period
of dire weather, Bryan deserves such status for today's
magnificent (or should that be "mad"?) effort.
His report reads:
Whinfell- Castle Fell
12th January 2007
The weather forecast was pretty grim.....
"Winds - Westerly 50 to 65mph, gusts in excess of 90mph. Continued very severe conditions, with
any mobility virtually impossible on some higher ridges and summits. Severe wind
chill. Heavy rain - Rain may well fall for most of
The rational thing to do therefore was to have
another day at home in front of a nice warm fire listening to the wind howling
outside. What did I do - got in the car and drove up the A6 to Hucks Bridge to
have a run along the Whinfell ridge! Crazy! But for me there's a perverse kind of pleasure to be had from being out in the hills
in bad weather. You get a real sense of the raw power of nature; and hills that
in normal conditions are quite tame suddenly require all the mental toughness
and skills normally reserved for the real mountains. And so it turned
The weather was dry'ish when I set off but the top
of the ridge was hidden by cloud which was being driven along by a very strong
wind. The intial climb was a bit sheltered but the ground underfoot was
completely saturated. Approaching the first top - Castle Fell - I began to feel
the strength of the wind. I stopped just short of the top to take the team
photo, a good decision as when I reached the cairn I was fully exposed to the
force of the gale and had to adopt a semi-crouched position to make
The route was easy to follow as the path was almost
a boggy river for much of the way. The descent down the little crag part way
along was a bit treacherous with water pouring down it and required some care to
ensure I didn't slip (I suspect I wouldn't see any potential rescuers up there
on a day like this!). On reaching the small hut/shelter I dived in for a quick
break before carrying on to the top of the final climb overlooking the masts.
I turned round at this point to retrace my steps.
The wind had strengthened further and stinging rain was driving straight into my
face. But I was actually enjoying myself. I trotted along merrily ignoring it
all and raced down the final slope and back to the car. An exhilerating morning
out. Must do it again some time.
12th January 2007
Comments: Had breakfast in bed as the wife
had to get up early to have her hair done. Listened
to the wind howling outside. Got up late. Faffed
around on the computer for a while. Carried the
dog out into the yard for a pee. Carried her back
in out of the gale as soon as she had finished. Had
a coffee, read the papers. Listened to the wind howling
outside. Wife returned with lunch which was eaten
round the fire. Listened to the wind howling outside. Fell
asleep watching TOTP2- Jethro Tull and Dire Straits. Woke
up to an hour of Top Gear. Carried the dog out
into the yard for a pee. Carried her back in out
of the gale as soon as she had finished. Went
back to computer to faff around some more. Listened
to the wind howling outside. Had a coffee. Received
Bryan's report. Did I feel envious? Answers
on a postcard (restricted to 5 words).
12th January 2007
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This page describes a 2007 adventure of BOOTboys, a loose group of friends of mature
years who enjoy defying the ageing process by getting out into the hills as
often as possible!
As most live in South Lakeland, it is no surprise that
our focus is on the Lakeland fells and the Yorkshire Dales.
As for the name, BOOTboys, it does not primarily derive from an
item of footwear but is in memory of Big
Josie, the erstwhile landlady of
the erstwhile Burnmoor Inn at Boot in Eskdale, who enlivened Saint Patrick's Day
1973 and other odd evenings many years ago!
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