BB0824 : Shelters from the Storm

Thursday 17th July 2008

It was in another lifetime, one of toil and blood
When blackness was a virtue and the road was full of mud
I came in from the wilderness, a creature void of form.
"Come in," she said, "I'll give you shelter from the storm.

Other parts of England, such as the Open Golf Championship, were being devastated by storms. For us however, shelters, rather than storms, were to be the recurring theme of the day.

It all started with last week’s debate (see BB0823) about the meaning of “bield”.  This set Bryan thinking what is the derivation of “Nan Bield Pass”?  The shelter of the Indian Bread Makers?  After a little research he found that Gatescarth Pass means "Goat's Enclosure" whilst  Nan Bield Pass means "Ann's Shelter".

Could it be that this is the “she” about whom Bob Dylan was singing? Had he, in another lifetime, passed this way before and chanced upon the saintly Ann? And was it she who moved him to add:

And if I pass this way again, you can rest assured
I'll always do my best for her, on that I give my word
In a world of steel-eyed death, and men who are fighting to be warm.
"Come in," she said, "I'll give you shelter from the storm."                              

It was in search of traces of Ann that today we set off up the Nan Bield pass.  We did of course find the modern seat shelter still there, unmoved from last week at the top of the pass, but no sign of the legendary lady, unless she was in some way connected with the Victorian graffitists who left their mark in the valley during the 1870s.

Nevertheless, two other shelters were to play a part in the day’s outing.

Today was, of course, scheduled to be the "big one"- the ascent of Scafell Pike but we saw no point in travelling 40 miles to climb greasy rocks and not see anything when we could do likewise much closer to home.  Or in Stuart and Philip’s case, to opt out completely.

The day was damp but not as bad as last week as we parked up by Kentmere Church. Rather than wade across fields, we took the road route to the Nan Bield Pass, passing by some remarkably docile and idyllically situated cows on the way.  


Cows with a view


Industrial scar

Despite the industrial scars, Kentmere is a delightful valley in almost any conditions and surprisingly long.


Looking up the Nan Bield Pass


The view back to Kentmere from the shelter

We reached the top of the pass and the Nan Bield Shelter without incident apart from me leading Stan up a wrong route over the Tongue and waiting for a non-appearing Bryan and Tony until Stan pointed out my error.


Nan Bield lunch stop.  Again!


Small Water and Haweswater in Mardale

Lunch was taken at the shelter, as per last week, but without Bryan needing to get out his tarpaulin.  Tony looked down at Mardale and started singing the The Horn of the Hunter as per the Houghton Weavers, recalling the exploints of the Lake District's second most famous huntsman, Joe Bowman, in the now drowned Mardale.

When the fire's on the hearth and good cheer abounds,
We'll drink to Joe Bowman and his Ullswater hounds,
For we ne'er shall forget how he woke us at dawn
With the crack of his whip and the sound of his horn

Tony had discovered a fascinating, albeit bizarrely designed, website Mardale Green about the drowning of the village to make the reservoir.  Bryan and Stan debated where the two original lakes, Low Water and High Water had been before being flooded to create Haweswater.  Eventually we set off again and this week we did go up Mardale Ill Bell and over to High Street.  

Looking back over to Harter Fell from Mardale Ill Bell

On the way we encountered a man with a JCB creating a motorway.  


Digger in the distance.....


.... and close up

We remain unconvinced about these scars crawling across the hills.  Later examination of the ones spotted on BB0618 showed that two years later, they have not grassed over or taken on a more natural appearance.  The counter argument is of course that they will prevent further erosion.


High Street


Thornthwaite Beacon

We had a brief pause at the top of High Street and likewise at Thornthwaite Beacon before crossing the divide to Froswick.

Kentmere, Froswick and a glimpse of Windermere from Thornthwaite Crag


Yoke, Ill Bell and Froswick


Motorway to Froswick


Looking back to Thornthwaite with hint of Thirlmere


Langdales make guest apperance

It was now starting to rain cold rain and the climb seemed rather tougher than we had previously been up, though nowhere near as bad as the extreme way Bryan had brought us up Over Cove on BB0516. I showed the route to an amazed Tony.  Meanwhile, the clouds briefly cleared to allow the Langdales to make a dramatic guest appearance.

Ill Bell was another cruel pull up onto very greasy summit rock that proved the wisdom of not going up Scafell Pike today.  On the descent, Bryan pointed out various other even more extreme routes that he was determined to try one day.  Not with Tony and me, that’s for sure; Stan seemed game, however.


Bryan spots a crazy way up

Yoke, in contrast, was a much gentler climb, at the summit of which we had been promised that Bryan would unveil his latest acquisition- a four man bivi shelter.  However we were made to press on to a lower section before he called a coffee break and removed the bivi shelter sack.

First attempt

He involved us in what seemed like a strange tribal ritual.  We put the rucksacks in a group whilst we stood around them in a circle pulling the shelter over our heads.

To say it was a tight fit is an gross understatement.  We were so confined that I started to get cramp in my thigh.  

Bryan explained that it had been fine when he tried it out with Liz, his wife, at home and that Tony had taken up too much material on which to sit.  

We tried again and I just couldn’t get myself fully in it.  Bryan again insisted that there had been plenty of spare space when he and Liz erected it on his dining room floor.  

Yes Bryan. But it is one thing doing it on a carpeted floor with your wife when intimacy is not only not an issue, it might actually be a pleasure but, on a sloping fell, for four grown hairy blokes with boots on, finding places for legs and feet to fit without compromising or even endangering each other is a different matter. Especially plus four rucksacks.


Second attempt

I decided that this was a shelter from the storm that I could do without, particularly as, in my rucksack I had my own shelter, last used on BB0601 (with similar problems, it must be admitted- the report confided: "Stan reckoned I had my boot up his bum to which he responded by placing his firmly in my goolies.")

I therefore opted out, opened up my own shelter and sat happily and warmly in it supping coffee whilst not exactly a storm but certainly a rain shower passed through.  No interference from offending boots.  For some reason Stan preferred to sit by himself in the lee of a wall.

Don and Bryan playing at tents!

After the coffee break we headed down to the car by the “race route”, which we had climbed on BB0618, without further incident or need for shelter.

The weather had not proved too much of an obstacle and the walk had proved a good and much needed training outing in preparation for the “big one”, which awaits the arrival of summer!

Don, 17th July 2008




12.1 miles

Height climbed:

3,392 feet


Mardale Ill Bell, High Street,
Thornthwaite Crag, Froswick, Ill Bell, Yoke


If you have Memory Map on your computer, you can follow our route in detail by downloading BB0824.

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
  • BB0802 :
    Lyth in the Old Dogs;
    Tuesday 22 January
  • BB0803 :
    That's Lyth;
    Sunday 27 January
  • BB0804 :
    Tony's Memory Lane;
    Wednesday 30th January
  • BB0805 :
    Fell's Belles!
    Thank You Mells
    Wednesday 6th February  
  • BB0806 :
    The Langdale Skyline
    and a Fell Race!
    Wednesday 13th February
  • BB0807a:
    An Outbreak of Common Sense;
    Thursday 21st February
  • BB0807b:
    Askham Fell and
    the Lowther Estate;
    Thursday 13th March
  • BB0808
    Thanks to the MWIS
    Wednesday 19th March
  • BB0809 :  
    High Street and Kidsty Pike
    but no Fairy
    Friday 28th March
  • BB0810 :  
    Prelude to Spring
    Wednesday 2nd April
  • BB0811 :  
    Spring in Lakeland
    Sunday 6th April
  • BB0812 :  
    Wet, Wet, Wet Sleddale to Mosedale Cottage
    Thursday 10th April
  • BB0813 :  
    What's It All About, Tony?
    Thursday 17th April
  • BB0814 :  
    The Hidden Mountain
    Tuesday 22nd April
  • BB0815 :  
    The Bowland CROW
    Thursday 1st May
  • BB0816 :  
    High Cup Nick:
    The Gurt La'al Canyon
    Wednesday 7th May
  • BB0817 :  
    Travelling Light
    Wednesday 14th May
  • BB0818 :  
    Pensioners’ Day Out
    Thursday 22nd May
  • BB0819 :  
    The Northern Tip
    Thursday 29th May
  • BB0820 :  
    The Bannisdale Horseshoe
    Wednesday 11th June
  • BB0821 :  
    Black, White or Grey Combe?
    Thursday 19th June
  • BB0822
    Thunder on the 555
    Thursday 3rd July
  • BB0823
    We'll Give It Five
    Thursday 10th July
  • BB0824 :
    Shelters from the Storm
    Thursday 17th July
  • BB0825 :
    The Big Wind-Up
    Wednesday 23rd July
  • BB0826 :
    Tony’s Third (and wettest) Alfie
    Wedmesday 30th July
  • BB0827 :
    A Visit to Mud Hall
    Tuesday 19th August
  • BB0828 :
    The Tale of Randy Gill
    Tuesday 27th August
  • BB0829 : Mosedale Cottage Revisited
    Wednesday 3rd September



  • 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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