BB0724 Wainwright's Worst Wet Walks!

Wednesday 22nd August, 2007

Thanks to Julia Bradbury, Griff Rhys Jones and others, Wainwright’s favourite walks are getting a lot of attention lately.  However, I suspect that today we tackled four of his all time least favourite tops.

I confess that thanks to my old computer having died on me and the new one not yet arrived, I had not paid too much attention to Stan’s suggested route, except that it included the dreaded Armboth Fell.  Dreaded because I recalled from many years ago on first reading Wainwright’s description of the boggy terrain that he considered it one of the few peaks that did not merit visiting.  It was only after the event, knowing where we had been, that I discovered he had hardly a good word to say for any of our destinations.

The day started brilliantly.  Literally.  Threw back the curtains and saw something I had not seen for what seems like ages.  Sunshine and wall to wall cloudless sky.  For the first time this summer the most important thing to pack was the sun cream.


Helvellyn range across Thirlmere

We travelled up the west side of the newly opened up Thirlmere - much more accessible now that so many of the lower trees have been removed- and parked by the Launchy Gill bridge.  Stan described the route he had planned for us as “experimental” which meant he had not done it before and it does not appear in any recognised guidebook.  This is always a worrying sign as readers of BB0603 may recall.

Thirlmere looking south

Thirlmere looking north

Stan and Tony looking south from Raven Crag

It turned out that we had parked rather further south than intended and had to walk some 2.2 miles north along the lake before turning onto the path to tackle our first objective- Raven Crag.  This involved quite a steep climb up through the forest that AW detested so much before approaching the summit.  Bryan opted out of the final climb as this is another of the 7 that he is saving for his grand finale of this round of Wainwrights.

The views down Thirlmere and north to Skiddaw and Blencathra made it all worth while.

Skiddaw and Blencathra from Raven Crag

We retraced our steps down to the forest path and shortly afterwards came across Castle Crag which seemingly had been an Ancient British Fort.  

The path around to reach the summit emphasised its defensive advantages, which is another way of saying that one wrong step and you’re a dead man!

Again we retraced our steps and then tried to find a sensible route down to and across Shoulthwaite Gill.  

However as this was an experimental route, various obstacles had to be overcome on the way, including a deer fence at which some kindly soul had placed a piece of wood as a sort of plank to help you get over it. 

Bryan watches Tony get his leg over

Across the stream and we were faced with very steep ground where, near the top of which, again an experiment took place- to let Tony have his lunch much earlier than the normal punishment to which he is subjected. 

Unfortunately here I had a senior moment.  I put the cup back on the top of my flask of coffee and placed it in the side pocket of my rucksack which was lying horizontally on the ground.  Then I noticed that the stopper was still lying with my sandwiches.  Not the cleverest move of the day.

Lunch and spillages completed, we made our way onto the ridge where a decision had to be made.  

Team picture on High Seat

Should we head over to Bleaberry Fell (which I subsequently discovered AW rather liked) and then return or leave it to another day (and another route incorporating Walla Crag) and head south to High Seat.  We chose the latter.  The terrain up there on the strangely named Threefooted Brandreth is alternatively bog and heather.  The heather was looking very attractive as it was in full bloom. Sadly, millions of big, black clegs and flying ants thought similarly and they rather spoiled the enjoyment somewhat.

High Seat may have its demerits but the views, particularly from the Langdales round clockwise to Skiddaw were excellent. However the wind was quite fierce at the time and the summit was not a place to linger.

From High Seat looking south

From High Seat looking north

Armboth top with High Tove (left) and High Seat

From here to High Tove was a boggy route march by the fence.  This potentially could then have got a lot worse had we taken the direct route to Armboth Fell.  However we took the path that would eventually lead down to Fisher Gill to miss the worst of the bog before turning right to reach the top of Armboth Fell by the driest route possible.  The summit is a surprise.  After all that moss and bog and heather, it is a slab of bare rock which Tony convinced carried carvings by stone age man but Bryan tried to persuade him were entirely natural.

Another decision was now needed.  A seemingly safe and simple descent via Fisher Gill or the experimental route down Launchy Gill which would bring us out by the car but on the map looked rather too experimental for comfort.  We chose safety although once again we had an obstacle to tackle.

We were suckered into an enclosed area by a stile over the deer fence, but there seemed no path inside and having crossed the Gill, it was obvious the path ran outside the enclosure.  We had to escape which we did in the most responsible manner, hoping that wires did not snap and cause untold personal damage. Fortunately no damage resulted and from there it was the anticipated safe and simple descent back to the road and a mile or so more to the car.

Tony get his leg over a second time

Had AW got this group of peaks wrong?  This has not exactly been the driest of summers so some wetness was not a surprise; indeed I would not have been surprised if it had been rather worse.  All in all I found it quite an enjoyable outing but definitely not one for the rainy season.

Don,  22nd August 2007

Distance: 8.5 miles (Harveys / Anquet))

Height climbed: 2,507 feet (Harveys / Anquet)

Wainwrights:  Raven Crag, High Seat, High Tove, Armboth Fell

For the latest totals see: Wainwrights.  Stan has added a few more.  If anyone wants to claim other peaks, please let me know and I will submit them to the adjudication committee!



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Bryan has kindly produced a log of which Wainwrights have been done by which Bootboy in the "modern" era, i.e. since the advent of Bootboys.  

To download the Excel file click on Wainwrights.  

If anyone wants to claim other peaks, please let me know and I will submit them to the adjudication committee!


BOOT boys

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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