Out of the Mist and into the Cloud
1st February 2007
is difficult to describe today’s walk. “Out of
the mist and into the cloud” comes to mind as it sums
up what we were able to see.
the remarkable prescience of my fitness guru (JPL) has
to be commended:
“I guess most of
the muscles used in ski-ing are in the legs - walking
is good for this and Bootboys habit of finding the steepest
route and going diretissimo up it is definitely beneficial
--no other work needed”
the first stage most certainly was. You would
think that parking at the top of Dunmail Raise with
the mist below you in the valley would mean that you
had got the hard work over and could just saunter onto
the tops. However the route chosen to get up Steel
Fell was far from a saunter. The funny thing is
that it didn’t look so bad. Just a fairly even
paced grassy climb up by a fence leading up into the
clouds. But once you got on it you quickly realised
that actually it was quite steep and actually your heart
(or at least my heart) was booming away with the effort
and actually it wasn’t a fence at all but more lie a
banister to help keep your balance and then, actually,
it was more like a net which you used to haul yourself
up to give your legs some light relief.
Art on Steel Fell
photo not at Steel Feel summit!
then, after passing an interesting example of Modern
Art, we were up and at the summit of Steel Fell. Approximately.
And then at the real summit. At which point
Tony, who had found the climb every bit as hard as I
had, did something very strange. He started running.
He explained that as this formed part of the Bob
Graham route he wanted to be able to tell his pals in
the pub that he had run part of the Bob Graham route. It
must be said that although he looked remarkably nimble
for a man who only ten minutes earlier had been gasping
for breath- it was only a very short part of the Bob
Graham route that Tony ran.
plan was to work our way over to Ullscarf via Greenup
Edge and back to the car. Having taken the precaution
of an early start (pre 8:30 pickups are a problem to
some non-working types; Stan even gambled on me being
late and lost, so was caught out in his undies) we were
confident of completing the route and getting back to
the car in good time for us to get home, and for me
to get showered and changed for my 4 p.m. meeting in
we did not take into account (and to be fair the weather
forecast led us to believe it would not be such a problem)
was the unrelenting poor visibility on the tops giving
rise to frequent stops to check maps, take bearings
and generally wonder where on earth we were. Eventually
we found Flour Gill and made our way up onto Greenup
Edge where lunch was taken not long after noon but,
given the early start, it still seemed far too late
lunch the realisation dawned that if we were to tackle
Ullscarf (assuming of course we could find it) there
was not the slightest chance of me making my meeting
and indeed time was start to get tight even if we baled
A very handsome sheep
A debate ensued as to the best route
to take to return and despite Stan’s warning of the
bogginess of the area, Bryan, whose navigational skills
were being severely tested but proved to be comfortingly
sound, determined that going down by the side of Wythburn
was the best option, even if did mean first finding
again and then descending Flour Gill to the amusement
of a very handsome sheep- about the only creature we
saw all day.
of the cloud at lower Wythburn
a clear day I imagine this must be a very attractive
route. However in the continuing mist we could
only guess at the scenery until, at last, we came out
of the cloud in the lower Wythburn valley from which
point we could spot
a very full Thirlmere. From Steel End farm it was
an easy stroll back to the top of Dunmail Raise and
the car. Too late however for me to go home and change
so I arrived at the meeting apologetically in my muddy
hiking gear and no doubt reeking of sweat and worse. Perhaps
that’s why it proved to be shorter than expected!
had kept his GPS on during the walk and logged it as
8.95 miles and 2,057 feet of ascent. Tony was
anxious to have this checked so I plotted it manually
into the Anquet version of the Harveys computer map
and came up with only 8.0 miles but 2,119 feet of ascent.
Perhaps the difference in distance represents
our inefficiency as we tested different directions!
Shown below is the route as downloaded from Bryan’s
GPS into MemoryMap. Note the initial diretissimo!
1st February 2007
What a difference a day makes. By one of
life's strange coincidences I was up Dunmail Raise again
the next morning and what a morning it was. Beautiful
clear day with the fells screaming to be climbed.
time, however, I was on my way to Workington
and as I was being driven I could re-examine
the route we had taken up to Steel Fell.
I was quite taken by surprise by the
way the path by the fence appeared concave-
the part that had been lost in cloud yesterday
could be seen to be getting ever steeper.
You can just make out the line of
the fence to the right of this picture and
if you click on it, you will see in the
enlargement how it seems to scoop up the
hill! No wonder we were puffing!
2nd February 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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