BB0820 :  The Bannisdale Horseshoe

Wednesday 11th June

Bannisdale.  The Hidden Valley.  It must be twenty five years since I was last there so on a day when a late start had been necessary, Bryan’s suggestion of the Bannisdale Horseshoe, only six miles out of Kendal, sounded just right.

Mind you, he did warn that Wainwright had said “this is a walk only for the superbly fit”. That nearly put Tony off until reminded that the Outlying Fells book was written when he was in his dotage and was intended for pensioners.  Real pensioners- those drawing their old age pensions, not those youngsters like us living off company pensions!

Last week, while I was away, the boys had felt cheated by the forecasters getting things completely wrong and the envisaged dreadful day had turned out, too late to take advantage, to be one of the best of the year so far.  This time, MWIS and the Met Office could not agree.  MWIS was quite optimistic but the Met Office Mountain forecast, which had the benefit of another 12 hours analysis, envisaged showers.

There was a most unusual sight as we headed up the A6.  A bicycle made for four!  It seems they were emulating Bryan's LEJOG and trying to break the record from Land's End to John O'Groats. Presumably the four-up record.  But how many four-ups have made that trip?

There was plenty of cloud about, albeit high and unthreatening, as we turned down the secret lane that leads to Bannisdale. We did not go far but parked near the junction for Mosedale Farm.


A bicycle made for four!


Whiteside Pike


Kendal from Whiteside Pike

At this stage I had not been paying too much attention to the route, lazily leaving it all for Bryan, so I was a little confused as we mounted Whiteside Pike to discover that what I had presumed was Bannisdale was in fact Longsleddale and we were doing the horseshoe clockwise.

Looking back to Whiteside Pike and lower Longsleddale

Capelbarrow and upper Longsleddale

The route along the west side of the horseshoe is complicated by a couple of walls (where we did as AW suggested and used the cross stones as stiles) and various fences with vicious barbed wire on top- some recently renewed and one, at least, not marked on the map.  AW complained back in 1973 that the farmer had not provided a stile and wondered if the Kendal Ramblers might help?  Sadly no help was apparent other than at last finding a good use for the bar towel that Tony has regularly clipped to his rucksack. Wrapped around the barbs it gave just enough protection to fell that if the worst came to the worst, the nether regions would not be ripped to shreds.  

One crossing, however, was better achieved by precariously standing on top of the fence post and jumping down onto ground that was dipping away- it seemed a long drop!  Tony preferred the more traditional straddling technique. 


Is it better to jump....


.....or to straddle?

Overcoming these obstacles allowed us to take in Todd Fell, Capelbarrow and the highest point of the day, a seemingly unnamed peak of 1,819 feet situated above Crinklebank Crag Lunch was eaten in a hollow, almost out of the wind then we continued around the head of the valley (of which we could see little) over Long Crag and White Howe.  


Bannisdale remains substantially hidden


White Howe cotton fields

The ground in parts might at other times have been exceedingly boggy but there has been so little rain lately that it was quite dry. The "White" in White Howe was presumably inspired by the multitude of cotton tufts abounding in the area. 


Approaching White Howe


White Howe Team photo

Bryan and Tony reaching unamed top after White Howe

It was a long drop off over Lamb Pasture, an area where Bryan recalled his great achievement of coming third in the British Ski Orienteering Championships back in the early 80s when the Lake District still had skiable snow.

Bannisdale (or as much as you are likely to see) plus most of the Horseshoe from Lamb Pasture

We could see, mostly hidden in some trees in the valley, a very large house.  The map described it as Lowbridge House. Research subsequently discovered it to have been described in History of Westmorland by P J Mannex 1849 as the “seat and property” of Richard Fothergill, Esq, “a neat mansion, occupying a pleasant situation at the foot of Bannisdale, six and a half N. of Kendal and half a mile W. of the turnpike road,  It is in the Elizabethan style of architecture and was erected in 1837.”  Further research showed that in 2007 it was still in the Fothergill Family although a rather “Uptairs Downstairs” address of Eaton Terrance, London is also shown.

When we reached the “old turnpike road” we discovered we had been on a section of The Miller's Way, of which none of us had heard but I can now reveal that it was created by Carrs Breadmaker in 2006 to commemorate the 175th anniversary of Carrs.  According to their website The Miller's Way is a glorious 51 mile walk from the heart of Kendal to the centre of Carlisle. It was inspired by the original journey made by Quaker miller Jonathan Dodgson Carr - who founded the Carr’s flour, bread and biscuit dynasty in Carlisle on June 29 1831 after leaving his home town of Kendal. It offers the visitor a taste of the Shap Fells, the Howgills, The Pennines and the tranquil Eden Valley en route to Carlisle.

How come we had never heard of it?


Lamb Pasture via.....


..... The Miller's Way

After a sunny period, it tried to rain on the way back to the car but it was no more than a token.  We completed the round well inside the seven hours allotted by AW.  We did not feel that the accomplishment quite merited the suggested “ribald rejoicing” but then we are not quite old enough yet.  As a light training exercise for Scafell Pike in the near future, it was a good day out.  But as for Bannisdale, other than glimpses of bits every now and then, its charms remained largely and frustratingly hidden throughout the walk.

Don, 11th June 2008





11.0 miles

Height climbed:

2,236 feet

Wainwrights: (Outlying Fells)

The Bannisdale Horseshoe

If you have Memory Map on your computer, you can follow our route in detail by downloading BB0820.

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!


E-mail addresses on this web site are protected by

 Spam Trawlers will be further frustrated by
 Spam Blocker: help fight spam e-mail!  



BOOT boys


Home Page








2008 Outings

  • BB0801 : Avoiding the Graupel;  
    Wednesday 16 January 2008
  • BB0802 : Lyth in the Old Dogs;
    Tuesday 22 January 2008
  • BB0803 : That's Lyth;
    Sunday 27 January 2008
  • BB0804 : Tony's Memory Lane;
    Wednesday 30th January 2008
  • BB0805 : Fell's Belles!  Thank You Mells?  
    Wednesday 6th February  2008
  • BB0806 : The Langdale Skyline and a Fell Race!
    Wednesday 13th February 2008
  • BB0807a: An Outbreak of Common Sense;
    Thursday 21st February 2008
  • BB0807b: Askham Fell and  the Lowther Estate;   
    Thursday 13th March 2008
  • BB0808 : Thanks to the MWIS
    Wednesday 19th March 2008
  • BB0809 :  High Street and Kidsty Pike but no Fairy
    Friday 28th March 2008
  • BB0810 :  Prelude to Spring
    Wednesday 2nd April 2008
  • BB0811 :  Spring in Lakeland
    Sunday 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
  • BB0818 :  Pensioners’ Day Out
    Thursday 22nd May 2008
  • BB0819 :  The Northern Tip
    Thursday 29th May 2008
  • BB0820 :  The Bannisdale Horseshoe
    Wednesday 11th June 2008
  • BB0821 :  Black, White or Grey Combe?
    Thursday 19th June 2008
  • BB0822 : Thunder on the 555
    Thursday 3rd July 2008
  • BB0823 : We'll Give It Five
    Thursday 10th July 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!

If you want to contact us, click on