BB0837 : Back to Real8ty

Wednesday 26th November 2008

Oh! The joys of international fame.  

Just one exposure on Menton Daily Photo (see BB0836) of Jilly's excellent photo of us happy, colour co-ordinated BOOTboys meant Angela from Nice and Elaine from California were impressed with our sartorial elegance, whilst Karen and Virginia from Paris were more or less offering themselves to us. Guy from Natland, Tim from Dorset, plus Ian and Alan, both from Stockport, all saw fit to mark our new found celebrity.

Elaine also thought that she spotted BOOTboys officiating in another of Jilly's photos, this time on the Monte Carlo Daily Photo (Everything you imagined - and more).

Is our secret out at last?

Jilly's BOOTboys team photo in Gorbio

BOOTboys in Monaco?

Pasi from Finland solved the mystery of the car. ARIANE, not ARLANE (see also BB0836 Afternote).  

Keith from Manchester, who has a place in Menton, had been told by the locals that the viaduct on the way to Sospel was in fact a Roman aquaduct and that there was a plaque nearby to that effect.

I remained convinced it was for trains and was sure I had seen an old photo of it in use, pre-war, but couldn't find it.

We asked Jilly to settle the argument.

She kindly agreed and managed to establish that it had actually been a narrow guage tramway built around 1914 and discontinued in 1931.  She also found the photo.

It is called the Viaduc du Caramel.

Viaduc du Caramel

And then..... what next after all that five minutes worth of fame?  

Well, it was rumoured that we would have been invited onto the Jonathan Ross show had it not been cancelled.  And we are considering offers to appear on Strictly Come Clog Dancing next year.  But meanwhile, it was back to what we do best- deciding where to go to avoid getting too wet in the soggy old Lake District.

Plan A was to follow up from our circumperambulation of Thirlmere (BB0835) with the same of Windermere.  There is a Windermere Way that does just that, but at 45 miles it would need to be done in four stages.  Ambleside to Ferry House via Loughrigg seemed a good way to start until we discovered that the ferry is out of action.  As the WW guide leaflet says "Don't get caught out on the West side, it's a long way back."  Very true!

Plan B was the circumperambulation of Grasmere and Rydal Water via a figure of 8 (so that each would be circumdooferred separately).

We parked at the White Moss car park that used to be free for National Trust members but made so much money that Lowther Estates didnít renew the lease and now charge everyone a fiver for the privilege of leaving your car in a muddy old quarry yard for the day.

Our first objective was Alcock Tarn so we needed to find the path that took us up to the minor road from whence we could get on the fellside proper.  We passed an unintimidated heron and found that at the entrance to the path were a couple of workmenís portable huts and a warning that the path to Rydal was closed.  As we were not going to Rydal for a few hours we pressed on up by the stream to emerge by a bridge which was half heartedly half roped off with a typical Nanny State Health and Safety warning that the footpath to Rydal was closed for engineering works.

The unintimidated heron

Nanny says closed

It was quite damp in the air as we climbed but there were very ďatmospheric" views of Rydal Water and Grasmere.

Rydal Water and Grasmere

Rydal Water


When we reached the Alcock Tarn Infinity Pool and saw the patterns on the water, I realised that actually it was raining quite hard and I was now too wet to put on my overtrousers!

Alcock Tarn.....

..... Infinity Pool

Next, the steep descent to Greenhead Gill.  We were no longer in rain but rainbows were appearing.  Care was needed on the very greasy rock steps. 

Grasmere with rainbow on Greenhead Gill

We passed the Swan Inn and through the outskirts of Grasmere Village......

Helm Crag from Grasmere

.....before climbing up past Allen Bank towards Silver How.  

Similar view from higher up!

We had intended to take lunch on the top but Tony was threatening rebellion so instead we stopped on a crag with a fine view over Grasmere and a distant Rydal Water.  

Lunch time view

Silver How Team  Photo

After lunch, a rejuvenated Tony lead the charge on Silver How- well, for a short way!  We made our way across potentially confusing terrain, past a couple of tiny tarns.

Tarn 1 looking north

Tarn 2 looking south to Windermere


After dropping down through the woods to Loughrigg Terrace, for the umpteenth time I took a picture of this classic view looking over Grasmere to Dunmail Raise.

Finally, for this part of the walk, we crossed the river in the bluebell woods between the two lakes and returned to the car for second lunch, there to ditch our sacs so we could travel fast on the shorter, easier circuit of Rydal Water.

But, would we be able to do it?  

Would we have to turn back due to the footpath closure?

I was getting quite worried because if we were unable to complete the figure of eight around the two lakes, it would quite ruin my title for todayís walk- Back to Real8ty!  

There was no need to panic. We found a different way up to the higher path- the coffin route from Rydal to Grasmere. This by-passed the closed bridge and we made the trip to Rydal Mount with nothing more worthy to note than meeting a couple with happy faces and a beautiful Gordon Setter.  I remarked on what a lovely dog it was and they smilingly thanked me.  Then, a few yards later, Stan asked if I had noticed the aroma.  I hadnít but sniffed the air and there was a strange sweet smell hanging, definitely not perfume or aftershave.  No wonder they were so smiley.  They had been smoking reefers.  Or so Stan assured me.

Rydal Water

Tony was keen to see inside St Mary's Church, Rydal with all its Wordsworth connections.  Inside was remarkably simple with a nice stained glass window at the eastern end.

St Mary's Church.....

..... and window

We crossed the main road at the bottom of the lake and made our way up to Rydal Cave.

I was quite taken aback to find that the entrance was barred by a wooden fence and a notice asking people to keep out as there had been rockfalls from the cave roof recently.

Rydal Cave party!

Ignoring this second set of entreaties from the Nanny State, we entered to see what had changed.  

However, the light was starting to fade and it was very damp inside- much drippier than I remember.  So we just took a team photo.  

Because I used flash, it picked up on the water droplets and it quite looks as if we were having a birthday party or something with lots of silver balloons but I assure you we werenít.

We headed along the terrace on the south side of the lake and back to the car to complete the second cirumthingy of the day.

On the way home we were discussing our next lake circy.  I suggested we did Windermere as in Plan A above- i.e. in four independent sections- but Bryan insisted that it would not count unless we completed the round in one epic.  He and Stan started reliving old triumphs.  The 45 miles was even referred to as a Bob Graham for pensioners. It would be no problem if properly supported.  Those not wanting to do the full round would have to join in as support crew for various sections.

Ho Hum.  What are these guys on?  No wonder Stan was able to recognise that smell referred to earlier!

Don, 26th November 2008



26th November


10.8 miles

Height climbed:

3,119 feet


Silver Howe

Other Key Features:

Grasmere, Rydal Water, Alcock Tarn


If you have Memory Map on your computer, you can follow our route in detail by downloading BB0837.

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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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,
or to have your @ddress added to the notification list of new
BOOTboys reports, click on


Home Page








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 :  
    Pensionersí 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 :
    Tonyís 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
  • BB0838 : Ladies Invitation Day
    Thursday 4th December
  • BB0839 : Why Mungrisedale Common?
    Wednesday 10th December
  • BB0840 : Breast High in Bretherdale
    Wednesday 17th December


 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.



To download a log of which Wainwrights have been done by which BOOTboy in the "modern" era, i.e. since the advent of BOOTboys 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