BB0822 : Thunder on the 555

Thursday 26th June 2008

How the BOOTboys were put to shame.  We had an ambitious outing planned involving bus to Kirkby Lonsdale, then a stroll over Middleton Fell to Sedbergh and bus back. When the weather forecast deteriorated leaving just a window of opportunity on the morning, we opted for a local walk, to be CROW warriors on Helm.

In fact, the weather did not fair up and so Bryan and I simultaneously decided to abort. Stan had already opted out. I then went into Kendal on an errand and what did I find on the drive on my return?  Son Jamie, at home for the week, disappointed at the decision and going solo up Helm in my anorak in the pouring rain.  Well, I suppose when you live in Crete a bit of cold, pouring rain is actually to be welcomed.

Talking of anoraks, the statistics for the BB08 half year reveal a record 21 outings, 253 miles and 52,000 feet, i.e. 3 outings, 112 miles and 9,000 more than any other year.

The following week, much as I needed the exercise for the upcoming big one, I was unable to join in the fun so Bryan takes over the story.

Don, 3rd July 2008

Thursday 3rd July 2008

A bit of chaos on our parts this week in getting arrangements sorted. Don e-mailed us all on Wednesday afternoon to say that the illness of a visiting friend meant he wouldn’t be able to manage a walk next day.

We (Tony, Stan and myself) reacted to this news by sitting at home waiting for one of us to take the initiative and e-mail a plan. In the end Tony cracked and at 21:09 on Wednesday wrote… “Not heard anything so see you all next week”. I read it at 22:00 and hastily resorted to the traditional method of voice communication via the telephone to sort things out.

One possibility for the day was to get "Two Ticks for Tony" by taking in the Low Pike / High Pike side of the Fairfield Horseshoe.

Stan suggested doing it by bus. I’ve noticed Tony, Stan and Don have become quite keen on bus walks since they all acquired their free Pensioner’s pass (I’m still far too young to qualify for one!).

So, at 9:45, Stan, Tony and I boarded the famous 555 bus to Keswick. Famous because it has this book written about it (see picture, right).

It’s always interesting to travel on the upstairs of a double-decker through the Lakes as the views are so much more extensive because you can see over the walls.

As we passed through Windermere and Ambleside the bus got fuller, and by the time we reached Grasmere there were only a few seats left.

It seemed to me that I was the only one that had paid – all the rest were on free pensioner outings!



Stan and Tony "enjoying the bracken

We got off at Dunmail Raise and headed off in nice sunny conditions to begin the climb of Raise Beck.

Initially I made the mistake of following a good, muddy, path through thick heather but realised after a few hundred feet that I was probably following the trail used by ‘"Bob Graham" contenders to climb / descend Seat Sandal. So we had to batter our way through the bracken to rejoin the beck.

It was then a pleasant climb following the beck, with good views back to Tony’s favourite piece of "vertical Lakeland" – Steel Fell.

After an hour or so we reached Grisedale Tarn. The sun had gone in by now but there was only the odd bit of cloud on the top of Fairfield as we began the climb.

Fifteen minutes later we felt the first spots of rain.

Should we stop and put waterproofs on? No, we’re near the top so we’ll hang on. One minute later it was no contest. The clouds had enveloped us and it started bucketing down. We passed a couple on their way down who asked Stan if they were on the right track to Easdale!


Passing Grisedale Tarn on the way to Fairfield


Clouds clearing on Fairfield

It was thirty minutes after the witching hour (Tony’s lunchtime) when we reached the top of Fairfield.

It was looking like a very wet sandwich stop today but, amazingly, just as we approached the wall shelter it stopped raining and the sun came out.

After a leisurely lunch stop we headed off to Hart Crag in glorious sunshine with excellent views all around. It was a day for putting the world to rights and we proceeded to do so as we ambled along.

 Helvellyn from track to Hart Crag

On over Dove Crag and then the descent to High Pike for "tick one".


Team  Photo – top of High Pike.


Strolling down towards Ambleside

As we descended towards Low Pike dark clouds began to appear out to the West. A quick look at the watch reminded us that we had better push on a bit if we were to get back to Ambleside for the 16:30 bus home.

Low Pike was soon reached but the clouds were beginning to gather and the sky was getting very dark. 


Weather closing in....


.... and in

This time there was no hesitation when the first raindrops appeared. On with the waterproofs and get moving. A few moments later, the first rumble of thunder echoed around the valley. We couldn’t see any lightening but the storm seemed very close. We hurried down off the fells and onto the lanes into Ambleside as the thunder continued and the rain poured down. The rain was bouncing off the roads as we got into the centre of Ambleside and we sheltered in a doorway for five minutes before racing for the bus shelter to await our transport home.

The bus arrived on time and Stan proceeded to entertain the other pensioners by making himself a cup of coffee as the bus twisted and turned along the roads from Ambleside. It is an impressive performance as he balances his cup on the seat; gets out his tub of coffee and spoons it into the cup; then retrieves the flask of hot water as it sets off to roll down the bus, before filling the cup; next he unwraps the plastic bottle of milk from it’s poly bag and adds this to the coffee; finally he drinks it (or attempts to – it’s a bit like drinking whilst stood up on a train!). Finally it’s all neatly packed away again and remarkably not a drop was spilt!

By the time we reach Kendal the sun is shining again and all that remains is the short walk home.

Bryan, 5th July 2008

Remarkably, Stan's account was quite consistent:

Bryan was talking about Ingleborough, or as an alternative doing Fairfield to get Tony, High and Low Pike, the latter of which would have involved a detour to collect Tony as he had no transport. Whilst talking to Bryan about the options I had the idea that if we all caught the 9:35 555 to Keswick and got off at Dunmail we could then could walk up to Fairfield via Grisedale tarn and then down the ridge to Ambleside returning via the 15:10 (very optimistic) or leisurely 16:30.  We had the odd shower just before the summit of Fairfield but had lunch on the top in sunshine with super views from thereon.  An odd shower threatened on the way back but essentially we stayed dry.   As we got into the centre of Ambleside the heavens opened and we sheltered in a doorway for 5 mins before making for the bus shelter to catch the 16:30.  

I don't know about Bryan and Tony but I certainly enjoyed the day and it started me thinking about all sorts of options for combining bus journeys so that we can start and finish at different points.  There are lots even from Dunmail itself eg the Helvellyn Ridge to Thirlspot - either way, or Thirslspot to Ambleside etc or, if you can face it, Steel Fell to Easedale!

Slightly annoyingly there is a very convenient bus stop at the end of Queens Road for Bryan and me but the return stop is either way back on Highfield or at the bottom of Windermere Road - I will have to take it up with whoever sites them!

 Stan, 4th July 2008




8.2 miles

Height climbed:

2,673 feet


3,236 feet


Fairfield, Hart Crag, Dove Crag, High Pike, Low Pike


If you have Memory Map on your computer, you can follow our route in detail by downloading BB0822.

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;  
    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
  • BB0824 : Shelters from the Storm
    Thursday 17th July 2008
  • BB0825 : The Big Wind-Up
    Wedmesday 23rd July 2008
  • BB0826 : Tony’s Third (and wettest) Alfie
    Wedmesday 30th 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