: A Wicked Hike???
21st January 2009
anyone asks me what I would like for Christmas, I usually
say to buy me a book that I would not buy myself. Over
the years this has exposed me to a considerably wider
set of literature than might otherwise have been the
case, with some great successes. This year Emma
gave me two books.
The first obeyed the rules.
“Wicked” by Gregory Macguire (not to be confused
with “Wicked!” by Jilly Cooper!). Subtitled “The
Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West”, this
is the story, now transformed into a West End musical,
of how she earned her name and it melds into the Wizard
of Oz story for its conclusion.
Despite the rave
reviews for the novel, I regret to say that I found
it far from enchanting. Perhaps I
don’t have sufficient understanding of Oz, having seen
the film umpteen times over many Christmases but never
having managed to stay awake throughout!
well enough written but basically I had no empathy with
any of the characters and was unable sufficiently to
suspend my disbelief. It was an interesting exercise
to expose me to this genre but Lord of the Rings it
is not. Or for stories melding into other works
(fact and fiction), I prefer Flashman.
Emma gave me a second book; one that did not obey the
rules. This one, she announced, not only could
I have written, I almost had. When I removed the
wrapping, I understood. “THE HIKE and every
damn thing else!” by Don Shaw.
The story of a group of grumpy old men in search
of a good walk and some answers. Except for a
geographical near miss in location (Peak not Lake District)
and phonetic near miss of author (Shaw not Shore), it
bears some resemblance to these pages!
of the hikers seem to enjoy winding each other up whilst
the author remains neutral between them. A further
passing resemblance there perhaps but, so far, (three
chapters - representing months - into the book) there
are only three walkers and the participants are fictional
whereas I have the pleasure of the company of real live
characters and a sometimes changing cast.
week both Tony and Stan stood down, one to make sure
he was fit for Sunday’s big one and the other to ensure
he was not fit to enter Sunday’s big one. All
will become clear in time which was which so for the
moment I will leave you to guess (as if you didn’t know!).
the other hand, our numbers were boosted by Pete and
Martin again joining Bryan and me and this time Roz
was well enough to release Ian for his first BB outing
for many months.
weather forecast had promised sunshine at 9 a.m. but
it was raining. No great surprise as it had promised
a night of snow on Monday but we had had none (maybe
Kendal did) and a sunny afternoon on Tuesday but that
turned out to be wet and gloomy.
Scar from near Raven's Lodge
However, by the time we parked
at Raven’s Lodge (near the Gilpin Bridge Inn on the
A591) the sun was starting to make its presence felt.
Mind you, our first 3½ miles would
mostly be through Forestry Commision land so it didn’t
matter that much.
Commission at work
We followed the path we had
taken on BB0610 but this time the ruts were nowhere
near so bad. Clearly they had taken our reprimand to
less rutted junction!
forest paths can be confusing as they do not always
correspond with the map. The markings are infrequent
and sometimes just lying broken on the ground. Consequently
we took a couple of wrong turnings before rectifying
the situation. Pete was perplexed as to how Bryan could
navigate with remarkable accuracy in thick mist but
was having such problems in broad daylight.
to do with literally not seeing the wood for the trees?
on BB0610 we carried on down to Row. I was particularly
interested to see the house in which I spent my first
winter up here in 1969. It had changed a bit but
was still recognisable unlike the many agricultural
buildings around it that are now smart dwellings. What
I didn't remember was the fine lime kiln just above
fine Lime Kiln
Don, Winter 1969
dropped down past the Lyth Valley Hotel where we had
offered Tony a long liquid rest but he had still declined
to join us. Behind the hotel is a path that follows
ancient lanes across the valley, past lovely little
bridges, over to Crosthwaite.
pretty little bridge.....
However, even though
Church was looking fine in the sunshine, we didn’t quite
go that far, turning back towards Esp Ford instead.
Mary's Church, Crosthwaite
the wood above Durham Bridge Farm an altercation broke
out on reaching a junction.
Bryan and I seemed to be
disagreeing on which way to go.
The problem was
identified as being due to Bryan navigating “girlie”
fashion, turning the map round with the direction travelled
so that he knew which was left and right whereas I prefer
to have my map North upwards and recognise left and
right as rotations, not directions.
For some unknown
reason I came in for a lot of stick for this. Let
me tell you, this is the way real men navigate. I
am after all the Westmorland Motor Club Rally Champion
Navigator, 1977, and still the trophy holder. O.K.,
they haven’t run the event since but I put that down
to the way Keith and I devastated all opposition that
year. Nevertheless, I will readily admit that,
on the fells, Bryan is a far better navigator than me. Even if he is a girlie. Anyway, in this
particular instance we had both reached the same conclusion
as to where we were and which way to go. It just
seemed as if we hadn’t!
reached the top end of Row we took the track up and
onto Township Allotment. We had intended to take lunch
at Lord’s Seat, the summit of Whitbarrow Scar, but a
cold wind arose, surprisingly coming from the south,
and it looked as if we were about to lose the sun so
we found a convenient wall behind which to shelter and
I was preparing my packed lunch, I got some sliced ham
out of the fridge. It was ridiculously thinly
sliced. It called itself "wafer thin"
but that was unkind to wafers. You could virtually see
through it and it needed at least three layers to get a sufficient
thickness to be able to taste it. I asked the wall-side
diners what was the point
of such thinly sliced ham? Before I could deliver the
punch line, Martin beat me to it: “To give to
vegetarians.” He, too, obviously watches the Royle
told me later that it was on special offer. I'm
capped Howgills behind Scout Scar and Brigsteer
Seat Team Picture
Estuary beyond Horizontal Trees
paused briefly at Lord's Seat for the team picture and
admire the horizontal trees before making the descent
down the steep and somewhat exposed path down to Whitbarrow
Hall where two teams, presumably at least one being
of seriously naughty boys, were playing football.
Galloways with Strung Stornoway
path over Yewbarrow was blocked by some Belted Galloways
plus a brown cow with a similar but narrower waist tie-
a Strung Stornoway?
passed through Birks farm (where the boys insisted I
took a washing photo for Margaret) and then by the house
with splendid pond reflecting the Scar.
the prettiest washing picture ever seen!!
we rose up the incline through Buckhouse
Wood and across the end of the scar back to the car
at Raven’s Lodge just as the rain started to come in,
bang on schedule.
returning to the book theme, was it a Wicked Hike???
that comes in four days time and most of the second
half of today’s walk was a useful recce for Sunday’s
That’s Lyth big one.
21st January 2009
Crag: Anyone interested in buying Uncle
Country Cottage (as per Withnail & I - see BB0812 and BB0831) had better act
fast. It is to be auctioned on 16th February by
Savills. Guide price £145k. We will
report further once the brochure is available.
Meanwhile see Visit
Castle: Stuart F has secured more information
about this interesting little barn. BB0901
has now been amended to incorporate the detail. See
wondered what the BOOTboys
do when not walking the Lakeland Fells?
on the photo right and see if there are
any familiar faces!
actually, no! But we can dream.
can fly. It's amazing. But be
warned. It's a high adventure video, not
for the faint-hearted!
Scar (Outlying Fells)
The Hike, Row
you have Memory Map on your computer, you can follow
our route in detail by downloading BB0903.
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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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, and certainly not from any skin head associations or other
type of social group,
but is in memory of
the erstwhile landlady
the erstwhile Burnmoor Inn at Boot in Eskdale,
who enlivened Saint Patrick's Day
and other odd evenings many years ago!
If you want to contact us, click on
If you want to join
let us know and
of new BOOTboys reports.
: A Gordon Day Out
: Thank You,
Wednesday 14th January
: A Wicked Hike???
: Take a Mug With You
: Down in the Forest
: Not How But Where?
: Binsey Can Wait
(but Uncle Monty Can Not)
Thursday 12th February
: Badgers on the Line
: It's not a W!
: Up on the Roof
: Not the Blisco Dashers
Thursday 2nd April
: John's Comeback
Monday 6th April
: Two Churches, a Pulpit and a Cherry Picker
: Companions of the BOOT
: The Gale Force Choice
: The Comeback Continues
28th May - 2nd June
: Has Anyone Seen Lily?
Feet on the Greenburn Horseshoe
- BB0921 :
The Tebay Fell Race Walk
: For England and St George
: The Coniston Outliers
Friday 31st July
: Little To Be Said In Favour?
: The Third Night of the Rescue
: Long Wet Windy Monty Bothy Fun?
: Dear Mrs Scroggins
Friday 11th September
: An Ard Day's Hike
Thursday 17th September
A Canter of Convalescents?
International Autumnal Expedition
Sunday 27th September
- BB0931 : A Bit of an Adventure
Thursday 1st October
- BB0932 : Paths of Glory?
Thursday 8th October
: When Yorkshire Was Welsh
- BB0934 : Unlocking the Whinlatters
Thursday 22nd October
: A Tale of Crinkley Bottoms
: Aye Up What?
: Where Eagles Wade
: After the Floods
: The Mystery of the Missing Glove
: A Too Short Walk
: One Hundred and Onesfell
: Back to the Beginning
: BOOTskiboys in Saalbach
- 21st March
: Los Chicos
y las Chicas de la Bota
11th - 14th May
: Peaked Too Soon
Click on the photos for an enlargement or related large
download a log of which Wainwrights have
been done by which BOOTboy
in the "modern" era, i.e. since the advent
click on Wainwrights.
anyone wants to claim other peaks, please let me know
and I will submit them to the adjudication committee!