BB0832 : Escape from the Madness

Thursday 9th October 2008

Each new day seems to bring another escalation of the crisis in the financial markets, reaching a point where even us laid-back pensioners begin to take notice.

As we gathered at Kendal Bus Station, Stan regaled Tony and I with his sure-fire strategy to restrict the losses on his bank shares – buy some more at the “bottom” of the market! When he said it this seemed a pretty sound idea; after all the Government had only hours later put billions into the banks to shore them up and the price had risen, so – good plan.

Today, as I write this, the story looks a lot different. Bank shares hammered down again. Sit tight and hope now seems to be the solution.

But, as always, the good part of being a pensioner is that you can forget all about it and get out into the hills. Even better (for Stan and Tony anyway) you can get there on the bus for free! So today’s plan was to catch the 09:50 service 505 bus to Coniston and walk back along the Cumbria Way to Skelwith Bridge and then on the Ambleside for the bus home.

The Coniston area is a subject of much discussion on BOOTboys walks as it has played a major part in Tony’s life. His courting days took place there, and he knew many of the local residents. So our first stop on arrival was to visit the grave of one of them - James Hewitson, who was awarded the Victoria Cross for capturing one German and killing sixteen.

The forecast had suggested high cloud and some sunshine but the hills were shrouded in mist as we set off. Tony’s memories of the area are also often related to drinking escapades (similarly enshrouded? Editor.), with the Crown Inn retaining particularly fond memories (which I agreed not to disclose in today’s notes!)

Mist shrouded tops above the Crown Inn

Stylish Kennels

Not long after leaving the village and starting our climb we passed the old kennels on the Monk Coniston Estate. A splendid building which has been nicely restored by the National Trust and now has information boards inside as well as seats for a rest or escape from the rain should it be necessary.

But it was too early for us and we pressed on with the sun even appearing for 10 minutes – the only time we would see it that day.

We passed a couple of Americans who asked us for directions for their afternoon walk on to Holme Fell. They were from Maine; New England and said that their winter’s were in snow of up to 20 feet deep and lasted all winter. We told them we’d be lucky if we got 20 inches that lasted all day!

The path wound steadily upwards and my mind began to ponder on what song Don would be thinking about today to keep him going had he been with us. I alighted upon the old classic from the Clash – London Calling. The chorus seemed particularly apt today…….

    The ice age is coming, the sun's zooming in
    Meltdown expected, the wheat is growing thin
    Engines stop running, but I have no fear
    Cause London is drowning and I, live by the river

As I was pondering this we arrived at the very busy car park at Tarn Hows and joined the masses as we walked along the lake shore. Although it is an artificial lake, encircled by very artificial paths, and very busy with tourists, it is still a very nice place. The designer did a good job.

Tarn Hows

Lunch at last!

As we set off along the lake shore the first bleatings of “I want to stop for my dinner now” began. Stan and I ignored it for a while then, as you would with a young child, coerced him to keep going “until the next bench”. On reaching that we said we couldn’t see the lake and perhaps we should continue to the next one. Eventually we ran out of reasons and stopped at the next bench where we had lunch and took the team photo.

The route now took us down to the Ambleside/Coniston road where we crossed over and headed up towards High Oxen Fell. We should have turned off this track after a few hundred yards but we were chatting and not looking at the map and overshot by quite a bit before realising. So we opted to continue to Hodge Close and use the path that passes Great How on the West side. We then took the optional diversion to take in Colwith Force – quite spectacular after the heavy rain we’ve been having lately.

Lunch at last!

From there it was a steady walk downhill to Skelwith Bridge, passing the many farm tracks that had caused us counting problems on BB0811. It was now decision time. Should we go to Ambleside via a route over Loughrigg, or should we take on the traffic and hope there was a path alongside the main road (there wasn’t one shown on the map).

It was beginning to look like rain, Stan needed to get back earlyish, and Tony was tiring so the road was the choice. It started OK. There was a footpath; then a track; which were safe and gave nice views over the River Brathay. At one point we passed a field with a couple of llamas in it

The next mile or so however was much more serious. The road is narrow, with overhanging trees and bends with limited visibility. It felt quite intimidating at times as we squeezed in to the wall.

Llamas in field near Skelwith Bridge

Stan battles the traffic

Thankfully we reached Clappersgate in one piece and from there a nice pavement led us into Ambleside in time for the bus back to Kendal (but, sadly, with insufficient time for a pint) before arriving home in time for another dose of depression on the news.

Bryan, 9th October 2008




10.9 miles

Height climbed:

1,595 feet




If you have Memory Map on your computer, you can follow our route in detail by downloading BB0832.

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
  • BB0830 : Mist Over Pendle
    Wednesday 10th September
  • BB0831 : Luncheon Chez Monty
    Thursday 2nd October
  • BB0832 : Escape from the Madness
    Thursday 9th October
  • BB0833 : Only on a Thursday
    Thursday 16th October
  • BB0834 : YIFT
    Wednesday 29th October
  • BB0835 : Reflections on Thirlmere
    Thursday 6th November
  • BB0836 : Reet Grand Randonnées
    15th - 18th November


 The Comback Trail

  • CBT01 : Helm, direttissimo
    Monday 22nd September
  • CBT02 : Cunswick Fell and back in the dark!
    Monday 29th 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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