BB0815 :  The Bowland CROW

Thursday 1st May 2008

In January 2001 the Countryside and Rights of Way Act (C.R.O.W) was passed by Parliament. This provided a new right of access in England and Wales such that…

    Any person is entitled … to enter and remain on any access land for the purposes of open-air recreation.

This “right to roam” as it has become known was, however, limited. It only applied to areas that…  

    consist wholly or predominantly of mountain, moor, heath or down and registered common land.

Because the definition was so ‘loose’ it required a major exercise over the next few years by DEFRA and The Countryside Agency to map those areas where free, responsible, access was to be allowed. There were lots of appeals by landowners to have areas excluded and the process took several years.

In the meantime Scotland took a more logical approach and in 2003 passed The Land Reform (Scotland) Act.

Their Act gave…

    a presumption in favour of access, if taken responsibly, over most areas of land and water.

The exceptions were very limited...

    the curtilage of buildings and farmyards, quarries, railway property and airfields.

Even the biggest exclusion in England, land which is growing crops, has a right of access in Scotland…

    along field margins, along tramlines (tractor drills) and between rows of vegetables was within the right so long as no damage or disturbance was done.

But for hill lovers CROW is still a major step forward. One area close to us that was opened up in September 2004 is the Bowland Fells; 312 sq. miles of wild moorland primarily owned by the Duke of Westminster and the Duchy of Lancaster, to which only extremely limited access had been allowed so as to preserve it for use as grouse moors.

The MWIS forecast was for a wet morning, but clearing up to provide a sunny afternoon.

Don and Stan were away but Tony decided to forego the jobs that needed doing at home and have a day in the hills to test out his new bargain (£5) rucksack bought the previous day at the Lowe Alpine sale, whilst I took the opportunity to try out my £15 bargain cag bought at the same sale.

We were joined on his first Bootboys outing by Stuart H.

The rain was hammering down as I set off to pick them up before heading south for the Bowland fells and the chance to exercise our Right to Roam on the lands of Dukes and Royalty.

We had decided on a route on the Western side of the fells, starting at the car park next to the Jubilee Tower near the village of Quernmore. There was a chill wind blowing as we set off along quite roads for the first three miles of our route towards the hamlet of Tarnbrook.

One feature of today’s walk was to be the bird life. As we walked down the road we saw lots of lapwings, to me the bird I always associate with the arrival of summer. We also spotted curlews, an oystercatcher, and a woodpecker. I suspect Tony and I would have missed most of these, particularly the woodpecker, had it not been for Stuart’s experience as a twitcher.

The area is also famous for being home to the majority of the hen harriers resident in England but sadly none were seen today.

At Tarnbrook we left the road and headed up the fell on a good track towards Ward’s Stones. Just beyond the farm we saw a very different line of "washing" to the ones Don usually photographs

!By this time we were getting the odd periods of sunshine and were warming up. We also started disturbing the grouse and they were to be a feature of the rest of the day as they exploded out of the heather.


"Washing Line" at Tarnbrook


Inside the luncheon hut

Today was to be a real treat for Tony. Not only did we stop for lunch at 12 o’ clock, but it was also to be taken in luxury. The map showed “luncheon huts” half way up the climb. In the event there was only one but it had benches to sit on and was out of the cold wind. Perhaps Prince Charles had sat on just this bench before going out and shooting a few peasants (sorry, pheasants)!

Not long after leaving the hut the path petered out and we had to negotiate a way through an area of heather and peat bog.

It was going OK when suddenly Tony ‘exclaimed loudly’ as he collapsed in the heather with his leg nowhere to be seen. It had gone into a 2 feet deep gully hidden by the heather and for a while we feared that he might have damaged his knee badly. But he’s a tough lad and after a few minutes he carried on, cursing me loudly under his breath for my ‘navigating’ (yes, I did hear you!)

After a while the climb began to level out and we escaped the worst of the heather before reaching the first of the large gritstone boulders that litter the top. Unusually the top of the fell has two OS trig columns and we made our way to the eastern one of the two.


Team  Photo on Ward's Stones


Morecambe Bay from Ward's Sontes ridge

The view from the top was extensive. In particular the full sweep of Morecambe Bay was visible, with of course Blackpool Tower standing out to the south and beyond it the hills of North Wales could be seen.

Our route now took us down towards Grizedale Head through more peat bogs and little pools before climbing again to the top of Grit Fell. Tony’s knee was holding up well, although there were occasional ‘exclamations’ as he stumbled on the boggy ground.

The top of Grit Fell provided more splendid views. The full sweep of the Lakeland fells could be seen (covered in a lot of cloud, vindicating our decision to head South); then the Barbon Hills; and the real Three Peaks (the Yorkshire ones), with Ingleborough particularly dominant.

Sadly the photos Tony and I took do not do justice to the views from these fells. The day was fairly overcast and hazy so the light for photos wasn’t very good. On a really clear day the views from here will be absolutely spectacular.

Ingleborough from the top of Grit Fell

From Grit Fell it was simple, although very wet underfoot, descent back to the car.  

It had been a pleasure wandering these wild hills that lie so close to major cities such as Preston and Lancaster yet still seem so wild and remote. Proof that there are still quite places to be found in our crowded island. Thank you Mr Westminster!

Bryan, 1st May 2008





10.3 miles

Height climbed:

1,600 feet




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








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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