BB0714  Ease Gill to Great Coum

Thursday 3rd May 2007

“Something less taxing” had been the request after last week’s big one BB0713.  For Philip, that meant golfing in Scotland.  Tony, on the other hand, was trying to drink Manchester dry. Stan guaranteed a shorter day by announcing he had to be back by half past four on pain of divorce.  Bryan’s recommendation was for a trip to Limestone country for a change and so the three of us parked up in Barbondale, by Blindbeck Bridge.

The weather recently has been quite superb and inevitably this is being attributed to global warming, but I am not convinced.  My recollection, going right back to school camps, is that in most years, sometime in April or May, there is a long settled period of fine weather around the lake district- often when the rest of the country is suffering with rain.  And after that comes payback time.  It remains to be seen when payback will arrive but the forecast suggests it is coming soon so it is essential to make the most of these beautiful days, whatever the cause.

 Bull Pot

  Pot hole Cover

Gale Beck emerges

Our route was the easy trail that led south to Bullpot Farm- named after the nearby pothole- and now a caving centre.  From here we continued south and onto the tongue that descends to the confluence of Ease Gill and Gale Beck.  

The point of interest here is the way that, in weather like this, Gale Beck looks to be a dried up river but then suddenly and effortlessly appears as a seemingly static pool before gaining momentum and hurtling down the hill. 

We started the ascent of Ease Gill.  The path got rather scary at one point as it overlooked a deep pool.  One slip and you would fall quite a way into the water.  That itself wouldn’t kill you, but there was no obvious way out of the pool- it was in a deep and smooth vat and the cold of the water would finish you off long before any help with a rope might arrive.

Next was Ease Gill Kirk.  Stan managed to climb up from the lower hall to the upper hall but Bryan wasn’t able to do it.  Which left me with a dilemma.  On the one hand, if Bryan couldn’t make it, it was most unlikely that I could.  On the other hand, a serious attempt to get up was to be preferred to retracing our steps past the killer pool.  Fortunately there proved to be a third way, an easy scramble up the hill outside the entrance to the Kirk.

We reconvened in the upper chamber and were faced with another climb.  Although superficially it looked simple, the rocks were quite smooth and there were no hand holds on the ledge and so neither Stan nor Bryan was able to make it.  I didn’t try!

  Ease Gill Kirk Lower Chamber

  Ease Gill Kirk Upper Chamber

  Cow Hole

Round the outside again and on we went up the gill.  For a while it was fun, skipping from rock to rock and it reminded me a bit of the Rouvas Gorge.  Cow Hole was interesting- a vat you can enter and into which a waterfall was flowing.  But there was no way out and again we had to find a way round to carry on up the gill.  And on.  And on and on and on.  It became quite dreary, mainly because it was unrelentingly all the same apart from its occasional disappearances and reappearances and the end was never in sight.

Still, noon came and as Tony was not with us, we had no reason not to stop in a pleasant sunny glade for a much needed lunch.

Eventually we emerged onto the fell, not quite at the top of Great Coum and on terrain that was very difficult walking- tinder dry tufted grass and moss, requiring big pickings up of the legs to make progress.  

  At last the open fell!


At last we reached the summit and took in the view. Ingleborough, Whernside, Howgills and in the distance the Lakeland fells.


  Team picture

 The route back

The return to the car was much faster.  Virtually level to Crag Hill and then gently downhill thereafter.  And back in good time for Stan to avoid his divorce.

Don, 3rd May 2007

Footnote for Tony:  Sorry, mate, for inducing apoplexy.  
We didn’t really eat at noon!  It was well after one p.m. at a cairn near the summit.

Distance: 10.1 Miles

Height climbed: 2,359 feet

Wainwrights:  Great Coum




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Click on the photos for an enlargement or related large picture.

This page describes a 2007 adventure of BOOTboys, a loose group of friends of mature years who enjoy defying the aging 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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