Wet, Wet Sleddale to Mosedale Cottage
10th April 2008
old Tony. He was so worried that we were heading for
another marathon and an unearthly hour start that he
arranged to supervise a delivery of fish to stock one
of his club's ponds rather than face the agony. As
if I was going to put myself through that sort of BB0811
agony again so soon! However, once reassured that
he could have a lie in, that we would not be going silly
on mileage, plus the guarantee of- regular readers will
know what is coming- yes- lunch at noon, he managed
to delegate the fishwork and join us on a rather more
was another reason why I didn't want another marathon.
They take so long to write up. So today, dear
readers, you will be as relieved as I am that this report
is relatively brief!
we convened we did not actually have a plan. However
Bryan had a couple of suggestions up his sleeve, one
of which involved Wet Sleddale. Now, I have lived
here for the best part of 39 years and never once have
I been to Wet Sleddale. I have frequently thought about
it whilst driving past the sign to the reservoir near
Shap but it has always looked so desolate, so bleak
and uninviting. And yes, very often, so wet. Something
inside me today made me blurt out “I’ve never been to
Wet Sleddale, let’s go there.”
we approached Shap and the rain was threatening to set
in, it didn’t seem such a good idea. It looked,
well, wet. However, I have to say that as we drove
up to the reservoir, all my preconceptions were dashed.
It is actually a very pleasant little valley,
with the odd house, plenty of barns, fields and trees
plus an attractive reservoir with an interesting dam
parked and started to get changed. Last Sunday
(BB0811) I had been indecisive about what clothing to
take. Today I had been very decisive. But
not necessarily logical. As we set off and the
weather deteriorated with rain turning to light hail,
I could not stop thinking of an old A A Milne rhyme:
had great big Wellington boots on,
John had a great
big waterproof hat,
John had a great big waterproof
and that, said John, is that.
the version going round my mind was rather different:
had great big waterproof boots on,
Don had his waterproof
cag and hat,
Don had forgotten his waterproof overtrousers,
Don, said Don, is a prat.
legs soon got wet and a bit shivery. Bryan was particularly
concerned about me, given last Sunday’s showing,
but funnily enough the wet did not get me down. In
fact I found the little ditty going round and round
my brain made an excellent marching song. It was
a bit of a boor when Tony and Bryn decided to explore
the barns at Sleddale Hall whilst Bryan and I waited,
to shelter under a tree that, of course, had no foliage.
A bit like an umbrella made of spokes and no material.
derelict farmhouse by the water
Hall plus reservoir
bit about “waterproof boots on” did not hold good. Unfortunately
if you slip into a stream deeper than your ankles there
is a tendency for water to find a way down to the toes!
But the legs kept working and I was in good spirit.
original plan had been to cross over to Swindale but
given the nastiness of the weather we decided to head
on up the track that led up the valley and over to Mosedale
with the intention of lunching at the Mosedale Cottage
at the head of the valley.
Tony asked had I plenty of suitable adjectives
to describe the conditions for the report? I told
him I had. Wet, wet, wet.
rain eased off as we dropped into a very boggy Mosedale
and by the time we reached the cottage it had stopped.
Our hopes were realised. The cottage, recently
painted white, is an official mountain bothy and was
open for us to use. Those who could got out of
their wet things and we had lunch indoors- a BOOTboys
Stan and Bryan were swapping yarns about
great bothies they had known. Bryan delighted
in reading the bothy book- tales of folk who had over-nighted
there and their hopes and disappointments about their
fellow residents! Unfortunately we were unable
to light the stove so when the sun came out and we realised
it was warmer outside than in, we made to leave. Apart
from Bryan, that is, who wanted to play at tents.
and Bryan play at tents
sunnier Mosedale Cottage
may recall that on BB0804
Tony had found a fly
sheet and Bryan took it home to make it into an emergency
tent. However, for what ever reason, he has not
felt able to test it at home and he decided this
was the ideal opportunity. Much time was spent
experimenting with different configurations of walking
poles as makeshift tent poles till some of were getting
so cold that we made him put it away.
the return, Tony
got particularly excited by the number of puddles to
be found containing frog spawn.
down to examine them must have put his back
out as he was suffering for the rest of
journey back down upper Mosedale and over to Wet Sleddale
was in much brighter weather than on arrival, albeit
My trousers duly
dried out, causing a new rhyme
had great big water filled boots on,
Don had his
windproof cag and hat,
Don had his nice, dry, lightweight
and that, said Don, is that.
from the fact that my phone had been in my wet trouser
pocket and the screen was still misty with damp.
returned high above the north side of the reservoir,
by an old wall with strange holes in them that Stan
announced were “bee boles”.
later added that "Bee Boles are recesses built into stone walls until the late
1800's in wet and windy parts of the country to keep bees in straw
skeps. The wall we saw certainly fits the wet and windy criteria
but whilst they are usually rectangular (although they can have a curved
or pointed top), I can not find any examples with an aperture to
the back. Not sure what else they could have been? "
I had never heard
of the term and they looked more to me like slits for
archers but that did not make sense! See the International
Bee Boles Register or The
Dry Stone Walling Association of Great Briton
if you want to know more about Bee Boles.
picture on new bridge
crossed the river some distance below the dam by a fine
new wooden bridge, walked past the met office weather
station and up to the dam where we had parked.
Sleddale Dam - click photo to activate
overflow makes pretty patterns with the water as it
drops down the front, Tony in particular finds it hypnotic.
Click on its photo above to see it in motion (it
midght take a little while to load).
at the car we were all surprised at just how far we
had walked today. We hadn’t really intended such
a long outing in the rain but Wet Sleddale really is a surprisingly
nice area and well worth revisiting on another day.
A dry one of course!
10th April 2008
Steve G asks:
you know Sleddale Hall once featured as Monty's
Holiday Home in the cult movie Withnail
and I? See also Movie
an exiled Lancastrian not able to get to the Lakes
but once or twice a year I enjoy your weekly reports
and pictures. Keep up the good work!
seen the second photo of Sleddale Hall on Movie
Locations, I now wish I too had explored
it, rather than getting soaked waiting. It looks
much more interesting than Stan and Tony led us to think!
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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- BB0801 :
Avoiding the Graupel;
- BB0802 :
Lyth in the Old Dogs;
Tuesday 22 January
Sunday 27 January
Tony's Memory Lane;
Wednesday 30th January
Thank You Mells
The Langdale Skyline
and a Fell Race!
An Outbreak of Common Sense;
Thursday 21st February
Askham Fell and
the Lowther Estate;
Thanks to the MWIS
Wednesday 19th March
High Street and Kidsty Pike
but no Fairy
Prelude to Spring
Wednesday 2nd April
Spring in Lakeland
Wet, Wet Sleddale to Mosedale Cottage
What's It All About, Tony?
The Hidden Mountain
The Bowland CROW
High Cup Nick:
The Gurt La'al Canyon
The Northern Tip
The Bannisdale Horseshoe
Black, White or Grey Combe?
Thunder on the 555
We'll Give It Five
Thursday 10th July
Shelters from the Storm
The Big Wind-Up
Third (and wettest) Alfie
A Visit to Mud Hall
- BB0828 :
The Tale of Randy Gill
: Mosedale Cottage Revisited
: Mist Over Pendle
: Luncheon Chez Monty
Thursday 2nd October
: Helm, direttissimo
: Cunswick Fell and back in the dark!
- BskiB08 : Bootski Boys in the Sella Ronda
23rd February - 1st March
Click on the photos for an enlargement or related large
has kindly produced a log of which Wainwrights have
been done by which BOOTboy
in the "modern" era, i.e. since the advent
download the Excel file click on Wainwrights.
anyone wants to claim other peaks, please let me know
and I will submit them to the adjudication committee!
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!
If you want to contact us, click on