BB0907 : Binsey Can Wait (but Uncle Monty Can Not)
Thursday 12th February 2009

Our objective today was to get back to the serious business of completing the Wainwright books, something that, for several months, the weather has conspired against us achieving, seeing as we now have to travel longer distances to reach unclaimed peaks.  If we could just manage Latrigg, Ullock Pike, Long Side and Binsey then Tony, Stan and I would each have completed all the Northern Fells.  

The aim was to take Ullock Pike and Long Side then return to the car, drive to Binsey, knock that off and then, if time permitted take in Latrigg from the car park near the summit- an easy stroll as Margaret and I could vouch from our visit there (the hard way) last Sunday (CW09).

However, before I relate the tale of a day of excitement and contrasts there is a bit of business to which I need attend.


Uncle Monty's Cottage: Inspection Report

We promised you an update on the sale of Uncle Montyís Cottage (as featured in the cult film Withnail & I), a.k.a. Sleddale Hall. Tony and I attended a viewing on Tuesday afternoon.  

It was a beautiful day.  Hardly a cloud in the sky and plenty of snow still left up Wet Sleddale.  Access via the farm track was better than I expected.  

We were greeted at the entrance to the grounds by a pleasant young lady with a delightful cocker spaniel that was relishing being out in the open- I think they both were.  

The road to Uncle Monty's cottage

We had discussed our cover story.  Should Tony be a wealthy Arab seeking a remote retreat for tired footballers from a certain club in Manchester where they could find rest and recuperation far away from the prying eyes of the paparazzi?  I would be his lifestyle advisor.

Or maybe I was an aging rockstar and Tony my roadie?

Or perhaps stick pretty close to the truth.  We were interested locals who knew the place and had actually made an earlier unofficial visit (BB0831).

The truth is generally easier to maintain and more convincing!

We were taken up to the house and, for the first time, entered by the front door. Downstairs was pretty much as we had seen it previously although the ouija board had been moved to a new position (or had it moved itself?) and some of the rubbish and old clothing had been removed.

Welcome to Monty's

The lounge

The kitchen

Dining room

Upstairs was out of bounds, we were told, but the young lady tactfully kept out of the house so was unable to see us climb over the half hearted attempt by United Utilities to fence it off.  Armed with wind -up torch, we had a cursory examination.  Not much to see really but you did need to be careful of the holes in the floor!

Room  with a view- click for the view

Bedroom  one

Bedroom  two

Bedroom  three

The outbuildings were also open.  There is an interesting small building with fireplace and cauldron for mashing up food for the pigs and some quite large byres, one of which, most unusually for such a building, has a rounded corner and elsewhere has rather grand cut sandstone edging stones and lintel.  Presumably acquired from a derelict house of some stature.

There was also a wheelbarrow, ready for the rebuilding work. Just the job for a one armed builder!!

Pig's kitchen

Wheelbarrow for one armed builder

"Were we going to bid at the auction?" we were asked as we left.  

Have we got half a million spare cash with which to do it up after we have paid £145k or more to buy it?  Not sure.  Will have to check my wallet.

A TV company was expected to arrive to film the premises on Wednesday, presumably to report on the auction, which is next Monday.

We saw no sign of Kate Moss, an allegedly interested purchaser.  Anyone who does place a bid ought first to check how the dispute lies between Lowther Estates and United Utilities.  The former believes it has a right of pre-emption should the property be put on the market and the latter argues that that right was forfeited some time back when the property was sold by United Utilities to an associated company with similar name.  If I were the judge I would find in favour of Lowther Estates on the grounds of the sale not having been an open sale or one leading to a change of ultimate beneficial owner, so be warned.

You can find more information about the property at Savills (or if that fails, try Savills) and at Visit Cumbria.  

Or indeed at BB0831.

On the way back to the car, Tony was waxing lyrical about the view of Shap Abbey and what a fine gothic old building it is.

Decide for yourself.  Click on the photo.

He did say he was having trouble with his eyes!

Shap Abbey or what?  Click to find out.

Stan read this report in draft and advocated that we all club together to buy it and turn it into the BOOTboys bothy!  I thought there must be a ditty there somewhere but I couldn't get beyond:

    I put my booty in a BOOTboys bothy
    And the
    BOOTboys said dah dah dah dothy
    deedle dum, deedle dum, deedle dum. dee dahdle dee

The rhyming opportunities are too limited to make an epic poem.

    Frothy? Mothy? For thee?  Doth he?

Or with the popular asonantic substitution of "ff " for "th"

    Coffee, trophy? Joel Joffe?

Stop digressing!  Back to the mission.


Binsey Can Wait Resumed

It was a bit of a shock to find that it was snowing as I left home on the pick up round. First stop Tony who was cheered by his success in buying an African Twin motor bike on e-bay.  Then Stan.

It was a further shock to see Stan carrying his ice axe.  

Finally Bryan who appeared carrying not one but two ice axes!

What was going on? Tony and I wondered. Perhaps Bryanís weekend activities whilst his wife was away had affected him.

Bryan had done his first ever proper winter climb last Sunday on Tarn Crag gully (the east facing side of Dollywagon Pike on the Helvellyn ridge). His mate from York took him up it. The roped-up part was four pitches long; about 550 feet in total. The first three pitches were relatively easy, but the last pitch was on vertical snow and ice and involved pulling over the cornice on top.

A pair of climbers following them up the gully had to have a top rope dropped to them as the lead climber felt it was too hard for him.

But Bryan got up it!!  

Bryan on ice

Not only did he get up it but he can now boast that he now features on a proper MOUNTAINEERING website!  See York Mountaineering Club and select report "Tarn Crag Gully 09".

So, perhaps it ought not to have been a surprise to see him with two ice axes!

The snow stopped as we left Kendal and it was pretty much as we expected as we drove through the lakes- high cloud but quite bright and a high snow line.

We parked near the Ravenstone Hotel on the quiet side of Bassenthwaite and set off up the steep climb to the ridge.  

Above the Ravenstonedale Hotel

A distant Binsey

To the north, we could see Binsey, our second stage objective, waiting for us, looking low and easy in comparison with what lay ahead- a sharply rising ridge getting increasingly snowy as it neared Skiddaw.  The views were good- open to the Solway, round the northwestern fells and down to Derwent Water.  

Derwent Water and the North Western Fells

To the east, the scenery was dominated by the bulk of Skiddaw and the steep drop to Southerndale.

Skiddaw across Southerndale

We met a lone walker coming down who told us he had turned back because he had no crampons and it was far too icy to carry on safely.  We were undeterred, we had assorted crampons, albeit only Bryan had full ones.  Eventually we saw what the refusnik meant. The path was hard packed snow and ice and potentially dangerous.  We applied the crampons, Tony producing a wicked looking pair of instep crampons that he had rescued from a car boot sale.  I had my Grivel Spiders.  And an ice axe!  

The second one with which Bryan had emerged from his house was for me to use and I was immediately given a lesson in how to carry it and how to use it for an ice axe arrest.

Fun when not done in earnest and, to be honest, a good confidence booster.  Talking of which, Tonyís confidence was sent into orbit by his wicked crampons and he was transformed into Winter Mountain Man as he shot up the ice field on Ullock Pike and Long Side.  He even, temporarily, forgot to moan about not eating at noon!

Ice Axe Arrest Training session

Ullock Pike team  picture

Skiddaw and Carol Side from Long Side

On to Carl Side, where Stan would have preferred that we followed a group of climbers up a snow field onto Skiddaw but that was not in the mission plan.  Whatís more, the weather was starting to close in and we felt it better to get off the mountain, or at least low enough to have lunch out of the harsh, bitterly cold wind.

The path down from Carl Side

Lunch stop view


After lunch we dropped down through Dodd Wood to the fine Mirehouse, closed at this time of year.

Around this time I received a telephone call from a worried Margaret.  It was snowing heavily in Kendal and sticking.  I think she was a little surprised that far from being 2,500 feet up in deep snow and ice we were leisurely strolling through the grounds of a stately home!

However her other concern was whether we might be able to drive back home or be stuck somewhere on the road.  

Initially we decided to press on with the mission and followed the Allerdale Ramble route through the grounds to St Begaís church, a little gem located close to the shores of Bassenthwaite.

St Bega's Church

Inside St Bega's

By the time we got back to the car we were in heavy drizzle and the prospect of traipsing up to Binsey paled rather.  Bryan pointed out that we could actually logically group Binsey with Sale Fell and Ling Fell from the North Western fells book to make a worthwhile day out.  Good call.  

We reached Kendal with no problem. The side roads, particularly up to Stanís, were a bit of a challenge but it just added to the fun of the day.  A day with a difference.  A day of contrasts of weather, scenery and terrain and, for me, the first use of an ice axe.  All very satisfying and yes, Binsey can wait.

  Don, 12th February 2009


Post Script:  I had a panic whilst preparing this report.  The Visit Cumbria website was out of action. Thankfully it is now back up and running.  It is a superb, privately run website promoting Cumbria and featuring many of its town, villages, churches and other places of interest.  BOOTboys reports have frequently linked to it for information and photographs.  If you are interested in any place or building of distinction in Cumbria, I recommend Visit Cumbria as your starting point for more information.


Afternote:  Uncle Monty's derelict cottage in the back of nowhere, without mains water, electricity or sewage, fetched £265,000 at auction- nearly double the guide price.

According to the Daily Mail, the successful bidder, Sebastian Hindley, owns Mardale Inn, a pub popular with Withnail fans in the nearby village of Bampton. He intends to try to preserve Sleddale Hall, sale organisers Savills said.

Christopher Coleman-Smith of Savills auctions said: "We have had a huge amount of interest in the property and the auction was packed. We had good strong competitive bidding and are delighted with the result achieved."

Mr Hindley, 40, said his ideas to restore the building would depend on planning issues. He stressed that the farmhouse would retain its authentic look and that access would be only by foot. He said: "I have paid a high price for Sleddale Hall. I want to preserve its heritage which has been greatly increased by the iconic film. My big mission in life is for more people to recognise the beauty of the Eastern Fells here in the Lake District, which is underlined in the film. I want to see it back like it used to be in the film, and where scenes were filmed elsewhere try and incorporate those into the whole package. I live in this area because I love this area. One of things that makes it so attractive is the bleak beauty that was highlighted in the film."





12th February 2009


6.4 miles

Height climbed:



 Ullock Pike, Long Side, Carl Side

Other Key Features:

 Mire House, St Bega's Church

If you have Memory Map on your computer, you can follow our route in detail by downloading BB0907.

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, and certainly not from any skin head associations or other
type of social group,
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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2009 Outings

  • BB0901 : A Gordon Day Out
    Thursday 8th January
  • BB0902 : Thank You,
    Aunty Ethel!
    Wednesday 14th January 
  • BB0903 : A Wicked Hike???
    Wednesday 21st January
  • BB0904 : Take a Mug With You
    Sunday 25th January
  • BB0905 : Down in the Forest
    Thursday 29th January
  • BB0906 : Not How But Where?
    Thursday 5th February
  • BB0907 : Binsey Can Wait
    (but Uncle Monty Can Not)
    Thursday 12th February
  • BB0908 : Badgers on the Line
    Thursday 5th March
  • BB0909 : It's not a W!
    Thursday 12th March
  • BB0910 : Up on the Roof
    Thursday 26th March
  • BB0911 : Not the Blisco Dashers
    Thursday 2nd April
  • BB0912 : John's Comeback
    Monday 6th April
  • BB0913 : Two Churches, a Pulpit and a Cherry Picker
    Thursday, 23rd April
  • BB0914 : Companions of the BOOT
    Thursday 30th April
  • BB0915 : The Gale Force Choice
    Thursday 7th May
  • BB0916 : The Comeback Continues
    Thursday 21st May
  • BB0917 : BOOTboys Encore !
    28th May - 2nd June
  • BB0918 : Hello Dollywagon
    Thursday 11th June
  • BB0919 : Has Anyone Seen Lily?
    Thursday 18th June
  • BB0920 : Ancient Feet on the Greenburn Horseshoe
    Thursday 25th June
  • BB0921 : The Tebay Fell Race Walk
    Thursday 2nd July
  • BB0922 : For England and St George 
    Thursday 9th July
  • BB0923 : The Coniston Outliers
    Friday 31st July
  • BB0924 : Little To Be Said In Favour?
    Thursday 6th August
  • BB0925 : The Third Night of the Rescue 
    Thursday 13th August
  • BB0926 : Long Wet Windy Monty Bothy Fun?
    Thursday 20th August
  • BB0927 : Dear Mrs Scroggins
    Friday 11th September
  • BB0928 : An Ard Day's Hike
    Thursday 17th September
  • BB0929 : A Canter of Convalescents?
    Thursday 24th September
  • BB0930 : BOOTboys International Autumnal Expedition
    Wednesday 23rd to
    Sunday 27th September
  • BB0931 : A Bit of an Adventure
    Thursday 1st October
  • BB0932 : Paths of Glory?
    Thursday 8th October
  • BB0933 : When Yorkshire Was Welsh
    Wednesday 14th October
  • BB0934 : Unlocking the Whinlatters
    Thursday 22nd October
  • BB0935 : A Tale of Crinkley Bottoms
    hursday 5th November
  • BB0936 : Aye Up What?
    hursday 12th November
  • BB0937 : Where Eagles Wade
    Tuesday 17th November
  • BB0938 : After the Floods
    Thursday 26th November
  • BB0939 : The Mystery of the Missing Glove
    Thursday 10th December
  • BB0940 : A Too Short Walk
    Thursday 17th December
  • BB0941 : One Hundred and Onesfell
    Tuesday 29th December



  • BH0901 : Back to the Beginning 
    Thursday 13th August
  • BSKIB09 : BOOTskiboys in Saalbach
    14th - 21st March
  • BB09XX : Los Chicos y las Chicas de la Bota
    11th - 14th May
  • BB09Bav01 : Peaked Too Soon
    1st September



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