BB0738  An Adventure and a Test

Wednesday 12th December 2007

When words like “adventure” and “test” are bandied around about your proposed route before you have even got out of the car, you know you are in for something serious!

Our first objective was Birkhouse Moor.  Most people, if they bother with it at all, approach it as a short and easy detour from the Mires Beck path to their main objective, Helvellyn. But as Birkhouse Moor, for us, was a primary target in order to finish the Eastern Fells we thought it deserved to be approached as a mountain in its own right.

That meant the direct approach from Glenridding up the nose of the Nab.  This is the route on which Wainwright commended the “beautiful view in retrospect” and he was right with virtually the whole of Ullswater gradually being revealed.

Glenridding Dodd to the left, Ullswater ahead and Place Fell behind

He also described as it an adventure (albeit prefaced with the adjective “mild”) and a test in route-finding amongst low crags.  

And so it proved.  Stan, in rampant form, took the direct approach on one particularly challenging crag and called triumphantly from the top not to go that way.  Bryan ignored his advice and also went direttisimo.  Tony and I took the flanks.  I suspect I had the better of it.  My route was essentially a grass staircase. Heart pumpingly steep but totally safe. Tony's route was more exposed and particularly challenging for those who are a little short in the leg department.  

Once the crags were out of the way, the summit cairn came as a bit of surprise with Catstyecam and Helvellyn in the background which, given the wintery conditions, looked as if they had escaped right out of an AW sketch.

The Nab crags approach to Birkhouse Moor.

Birkhouse Moor cairn with Helvellyn behind.

We dropped down to take shelter behind a wall for a coffee stop, or in Tony’s case- Oxo which enables him to last a little longer before the hunger pangs kick in.

Next we contoured round almost to Red Tarn before taking the path that climbs to Swirral Edge where we started to meet real snow on the ground.

We did not, however, climb Swirral; our second objective was Catstycam which Tony needed so on meeting the high level path we turned right for the easy climb to its summit.

Approaching Catstycam

.....and on the summit

Stan tried to tell us that our way down was to the north-west to the old dam.  Perhaps he had forgotten that I had been up that way on BB0720 and knew how steep it was. These were definitely not the conditions to be descending that sort of terrain. I like to think that he was only joking! We returned by the path on which we had arrived, however, for the first 50 yards or so, it seemed much more treacherous going down than it had been the case going up.  I almost had to resort to the instep crampons that I had bought yesterday on seeing the Met Office warning not to venture out without your crampons and ice-axe!

Red Tarn with Striding Edge behind and Helvellyn to the right.

We headed down towards Red Tarn, taking lunch at a dining table sized rock whilst watching quite a few folk making their way very carefully along Striding Edge.  We met a Ranger who had come down Swirral Edge and he confirmed that it was OK but you really needed crampons and ice axe up there.  Perhaps he files the Met Office reports?  

After lunch we bore left down into the Glenridding Valley and the trail back to the car. A relatively short walk, but as someone once said, an adventure and a test!

Don, 12th December 2007


Distance: 7.1 miles  (Garmin/ Memory Map)

Height climbed: 2,428 feet (Anquet)

Wainwrights:  Birkhouse Moor, Catstycam

For the latest totals of the mileages, heights and Lakeland Fells Books Wainwrights see: Wainwrights.

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



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BOOT boys

Home Page







2007 Outings

  • BB0701 Loughrigg - the GPS test
  • BB0702 Whinfell- Castle Craggs
  • BB0703 Wansfell Pike or the Stockghyll picnic
  • BB0704 BOOTboys Cancelled Day plus High Altitude Report
  • BB0705 Out of the Mist and into the Cloud
  • BB0706 Cockups and much much more
  • BB0707 Equipment testing day - High Rigg
  • BB0708 Seat Sandal
  • BB0709 Circling Hollow Moor
  • BB0710 Latterbarrow
  • BB0711 Eagle Crag and Sergeant's Crag
  • BB0712 Bakestall, Great Calva and the Great Divide
  • BB0713 Helvellyn- the range; North to South
  • BB0714 Ease Gill to Great Coum
  • BB0715 Stone Arthur, Fairfield and Apocolypse Now
  • BB0716 Caudale Moor and Hartsop Dodd
  • BB0717 High and Low Rigg or maybe a Rival?
  • BB0718 Oh No!  Not Steel Fell Again?
  • BB0719 Mad Dogs and Easedale Tarn, Codale and Tarn Crag
  • BB0720 An English Munro:  Helvellyn via Catstycam
  • BB0721 Levers Water Circuit
  • BB0722 By Steamer to Hallin and Place Fells
  • BB0723 The Dove and The Deep Dales Round
  • BB0724 Wainwright's Worst Wet Walks!
  • BB0725 To Hell in a Bucket.  And Back!!!
  • BB0726 Wrinklies on the Crinklies and the Return to Hell!
  • BB0727 BOG OFF- Pen-y-Ghent & Whernside
  • BB0728 Shipman Knotts and Half a Horseshoe
  • BB0729 Pikeawassa and the Fusedale Round
  • BB0730 A Gray Day
  • BB0731 Another Gray Day
  • BB0732 Gable and a Great Deal More
  • BB0733 To Monroe or Not to Monroe?
  • BB0734 Nabbing the Nab
  • BB0735 Helm Crag and a Question of Ethics
  • BB0736 Gowbarrow Fell and Glenridding Dodd
  • BB0737 Middle Dodd and Red Screes
  • BB0738  An Adventure and a Test
  • BB0739  Ticking Off Langdales
  • BB0740 The Calf Revisited


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



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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