BB0802  Lyth in the Old Dogs  

Tuesday 22nd January 2008

A split in the ranks??  

Stan, who due to man-flu had not been able to get out this year, wanted to do a recce for Sunday's big one (That’s Lyth: 23.5 miles around the Lyth Valley).  Bryan most decidedly did not and would not be part of it, preferring the spontaneity of navigation on the big day.  Tony did not want the punishment of a training session and asked to be left out until the madness had passed.  Stan started making other arrangements to get his recce with his son, Martin the doctor and his dogs who has also entered for Sunday, despite the fact that said son would want to travel twice as fast as him!  Meanwhile I was trying to thread a way through all this to keep the team united.

The weather, or at least the forecast, helped.  The only time that could reasonably be relied upon to be rain, snow or gale free was Tuesday morning.  Bryan was away on the Tuesday. And a morning was not too long to deter Tony, especially if we tempted him with the possibility of ending at a local hostelry where a car had previously been delivered. Problem seemingly solved.

But then Tony announced that he had to go to Otley to make good some plumbing he had seemingly cocked up whilst also being in bad books for giving away valuable household contents to passing gypsies but was OK for Thursday.  And Martin the architect who had been unfortunately temporarily omitted from the loop announced he too was OK for Thursday. However when he saw the forecast he declared himself a fair weather Bootboy!

So, in the end it was arranged that I would meet Stan, son Martin the doctor and his dogs, Harvey and Axl, at 8:45 a.m. on Tuesday at the Underbarrow Punchbowl. Unfortunately none of us realised that this location is not covered for mobile telephone signals, or at least not for O2. Consequently when things did not go to plan, Stan was unable to contact me.

Eventually he turned up, minus Martin and dogs, explaining that he had tried a dozen times to contact me to let me know that Martin had been delayed.  The revised plan was that Martin would park at Scout Scar and would run the route so we would be caught up very quickly.


Dawn as seen from Scout Scar

I should mention that I was trying out my new Salamon X-mountain shoes with their kindergarten “Quicklace” lacing system (no knots- just pull on the toggle) and my new Nora Batty styled Sealskinz waterproof socks.  Stan was trying out his new Innov8 running shoes that Martin (son) had rejected because they rubbed his heels.


The day was grey and dry but only just above freezing.

Stan and I set off across the fields past some moorhens to Kirkby House and Blakebank then down to Crosthwaite School where the first check point would be.  

Already the recce was proving useful as two places had been found where the descriptions were weak and time was lost trying to find the right way through. 

From Crosthwaite we dropped down to Esp Ford and over to the A5074 Lyth Valley Road and then up to Dunham Bridge Wood and the top of the Row road.  As we turned into his field, we met a farmer who kindly adjusted his sheep pen to let us through.  He was not too impressed to learn that 300 people were heading that way on Sunday!

Looking back from Township Allotment

We lost a bit of time not identifying the quickest route across the Township Allotment. We lost more time because Stan was having problems with his shoes rubbing his heel! He put on my spare socks over his so now he had greater protection but not enough room in the shoes for his toes!  These delays enabled Martin and dogs to catch us up just in time for the team picture at Lord’s seat.  

Stan with foot trouble

Team picture at Lord's Seat, Whitbarrow Scart

We galloped down Whitbarrow scar to the Hall- this is going to be a dangerous pinch point on Sunday- there are some steep drops that overtaking runners could be pushed down!

Past the Hall Farm and on to Lawns House and Yewbarrow where there was an interesting conundrum.  Facing us were horses, sheep and bullocks.  For sheep, dogs should be on a lead.  For bullocks they should be off the lead as bullocks are attracted by dogs but dogs can run faster. “On or off the lead?” was the question.  They are pretty well behaved dogs and not sheep worriers so they remained off the lead.  No problem with sheep.  Bullocks had a look but decided not to bother.  Then the smallest of the horses came over and tried to take on two hefty retrievers!  Fortunately no harm to anyone or thing.  Shortly afterwards Martin decided that the old dogs (Stan and I) were not moving fast enough and ran off with his own.

We came down through the woods and round to the second check point, Witherslack Parish Hall.  

The next section was a bit of a puzzle because the guidance notes gave no indication of distance between instructions and they turned out to be literally miles apart, which led to us wondering if we had gone wrong.

We had not.  

We rounded the lower end of Whitbarrow Scar, along to the Gilpin Bridge Inn where the path is marked by a totem pole!

What followed were the tediously straight roads across the Lyth Valley bottom and up to Cotes.   


Totem Pole marks the path!

You may have noted, Tony certainly will, that so far there has been no mention of food. As the route passed by Robert and Diane’s house in Cinderbarrow, we half hoped that after 13.5 miles, someone might be in, that they might take pity on us, that we might find ourselves having our butties in front of a roaring fire and that we might even be offered a lift back to the car at Underbarrow.  It was not to be. No one there! We decided to press on and take lunch at Helsington Church.  It was a mercifully gentle climb up to Helsington, bar one short steepish bit which was extremely slippery due to the sodden ground.  It will be virtually impossible after 300 people go up it on Sunday.  But then that applies to several places on route.

Whitbarrow Scar from Helsington

At St John's Church, Helsington we found a bench in the graveyard and some five hours and fifteen miles after setting off we had our first stop proper and our lunch.  

St John's Church interior

The view from our lunch stop

The twenty minute stop left us both stiff and it took some time to walk it off- Stan still suffering with his shoe problems.  We crossed on to Scout Scar where we left the Sunday route and dropped down to Barrowfield and then back past Tullythwaite House to Underbarrow where it started to rain.

Was the recce worthwhile?  Yes.

What did we learn?

Firstly if ever a meet is arranged at a location that has no mobile phone signal, there is merit in the first arrivee checking this out and then seeking a suitable signal receiving place from which to warn the others!

Secondly, that the recce has potentially saved us about half an hour wasted on wrong route interpretations.

Thirdly that the 23 miles on Sunday is achievable if the weather is decent and we can keep the same pace- 18 miles in 6 hours travelling.  The main worries are pinch points (queuing for people to get over stiles) and the paths deteriorating into slippery mudbaths.

Fourth, that Stan will have to go back to his PBs but that my Salomon / Sealskinz footwear should be OK.

And Finally, as they say again on the reinstated News at Ten, we need to brief Robert and Diane at what time to have the reception committee on their garden wall to clap and cheer us as we burst by on Sunday.   18 miles from the start so it should be around 2:15 p.m. give or take 15 minutes, all being well!

     Don, 22nd January 2008


Distance: 18.1 miles  (Anquet)

Height climbed: 2,572 feet (estimated- Anquet)

Wainwrights:  Whitbarrow Scar (Outlying Fells)


 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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2008 Outings

BB0801 : Avoiding the Graupel;  
16 January

BB0802 : Lyth in the Old Dogs; 22 January

BB0803 : That's Lyth;
27 January

BB0804 : Tony's Memory Lane;
30th January

BB0805 : Fell's Belles!  Thank You Mells?  
6th February

BB0806 : The Langdale Skyline and a Fell Race!
13th February

BB0807a: An Outbreak of Common Sense;
21st February 2008

BB0807b: Askham Fell and  the Lowther Estate;   
13th March 2008

BB0808 : Thanks to the MWIS
19th March 2008

BB0809 :  High Street and Kidsty Pike but no Fairy
28th March 2008

BB0810 :  Prelude to Spring
2nd April 2008

BB0811 :  Spring in Lakeland
6th April 2008

BB0812 :  Wet, Wet, Wet Sleddale to Mosedale Cottage
Thursday 10th April 2008 

BB0813 :  What's It All About, Tony?
Thursday 17th April 2008 

BB0814 :  The Hidden Mountain
Tuesday 22nd April 2008 

BB0815 :  The Bowland CROW
Thursday 1st May 2008

BB0816 :  High Cup Nick:
The Gurt La'al Canyon
Wednesday 7th May 2008

BB0817 :  Travelling Light
Wednesday 14th May 2008


BskiB08 : Bootski Boys in the Sella Ronda  
23rd February - 1st March


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 an 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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