BB0835 : Reflections on Thirlmere

Thursday 6th November 2008

“Why are we not on the other side?” asked Stan, enigmatically.  

Before anyone could speak, he answered his own question with a dazzling display of Zen Buddhism.  

“Because we’re not here.”

Whilst this left Bryan and me somewhat perplexed, Tony had more practical issues on his mind, like where to stage a Pike fishing competition.  Are there Pike in Thirlmere and can you get at them?

In fact here, by Thirlmere, we were indeed but pike were not the purpose of our visit. In CW07 Margaret and I had identified the circumperambulation of Thirlmere as a potential poor weather walk and as the prognosis for the fells was not great, BOOTboys decided to check it out.

Actually, the day looked rather better than forecast and Bryan had suggest a horseshoe around the Wythburn valley as an alternative if the tops were clear.  Approaching the lake, we were unsure which to choose but it was the sudden unexpected downpour as we parked at Wythburn that clinched the decision.

Fortunately, the rain soon stopped and, although the sky was grey, the lake was remarkably still with endless reflections of the autumnally coloured hills.  It would be a day when it was difficult not to be click happy with the camera!  Unfortunately, whilst the eye filters out the greyness, the photos do not and are less impressive.  Nevertheless the photos below demonstrate the stillness.  The one on the right is not a photo of the Helvellyn slopes.  It is a photo of the reflection of the Helvellyn slopes shown upside down- hence the rocks in the sky!  As usual, click for an enlargement.

Dunmail Raise and Steel Fell

Reflections of Helvellyn, shown upside down!!

Full lake panorama

We were travelling clockwise and discovered, at Hause Point, steps up to a thoughtfully placed bench, ideally located for a coffee break.  This is the quiet side of the lake and an old buffer was quite taken by surprise to find that there was no room for him on his favourite seat!

Coffee break team  photo

Deergarth Howe Island

As we headed up to Armboth, the day was improving, the sun came out and, briefly, we wondered if we had made the wrong decision.

The north end of Thirlmere in the sun

But, irrespective of how wonderful or otherwise it might be on the fell tops, to see the lake so still in such conditions was a rare treat not to be missed.  


More of the same!

North end of Thirlmere

Slopes of Helvellyn

Then, to reinforce our conclusion, the weather deteriorated again and we thought we might get caught in another shower.  A low flying jet passed by; Tony thought it was a private one as it carried no markings.  It still looked armed to the teeth to me!

Unidentified plane

The length of Thirlmere from the north.

The path on the west side of the lake is surprisingly undulating and quite rough terrain, certainly not a soft lakeside stroll.

Our lunch objective was the half way point of the dam wall.  But you can’t sit on the damn wall.  So we had to make do with the recess in the road for the monumental sign commemorating the opening of the reservoir.

Lunch with the Aldermen

Rapunzel's Tower

On the other side of the wall is a strange Victorian tower.  I could not help but think of Emma's tape of fairy stories and Arthur Mullard saying, in his thick cockney accent, "Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let dahn yur 'air!"

Returning south, the path climbs a small knoll overlooking the lake before heading into land where the aftermath of forestry operations is all too plain.  After passing the hidden hotel of  Dalehead Hall, we climbed up to and crossed the A591, initially following the Helvellyn path but soon taking the forest trail that runs quite high above the length of the lake.  

Dalehead Hall Hotel

The path to Helvellyn

From here onwards, the ground underfoot was much more even but views of the lake were less open, except in the cleared areas.

Thirlmere through the clearings

Looking south.....

..... and north

Part way along we found two diggers enlarging the path, presumably to allow ever bigger forestry machinery to access the hill. Possibly because of the roadworks, we mislaid the path for a while and had to climb up by a beck to retrieve it.  From then on it was an uneventful stroll back down to Wythburn.

Roadworks ahead

Steel Fell and the Wythburn valley

The verdict on the Thirlmere round was that it had been an excellent walk in such conditions and maybe we should contemplate a new goal of walking round all of the lakes. But first, we still have far too many Wainwrights to knock off when the weather permits!

Don, 6th November 2008




11.1 miles

Height climbed:

1,495 feet





If you have Memory Map on your computer, you can follow our route in detail by downloading BB0835.

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 - 19th November
  • BB0837 : Back to Real8ty
    Wednesday 26th 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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