: Badgers on the Line
wins the Reginald Perrin "Badgers on the Line"
award for the best excuse for not coming on a BOOTboys
walk this week?
word of explanation for those who don't remember the
TV programme. Reggie Perrin was always late for
work and had a different excuse each day. On this
occasion the actual quote was "Twenty-two minutes late, badger ate a junction box at New Malden."
This was later unconsciusly parodied by British Rail
with excuses like the lines being covered with "the
wrong type of snow".
to the award.
might have been in contention for having taken in lodgers
whose furniture had been sent to New Zealand, but they
have now followed their goods so he was able join us.
thought about opting out on account of a strain in my
left knee and a newly discovered clicking noise in the
joint but thought I should chance it.
who had threatened to make an appearance, gave his apologies
but no excuse, plausible or otherwise, so ruled himself
out of consideration.
there were three strong entries.
third place was Bryan with a double excuse of flying off
to the the Atlas mountains at the crack of dawn the following
day and nursing a wife with a broken arm from slipping
on ice walking their children's dogs.
place goes to Pete who bought a new Audi and promptly
pranged it so escaped to Tenerife to drown his sorrows.
the clear winner is Tony who discovered that petrol
spilled whilst removing a motorbike's tank is still explosive
when brought into contact with a hot article like a
halogen inspection lamp.
resulting conflagration destroyed his
collection of bikes, his garage and nearly his wife
but fortunately she escaped in time! As
his builder said, we might curse the rigour
of the building safety regulations but,
in this case, they saved his house from
December 2013: The Westmorland
did have a video of the carnage on its website but sadly
it has been removed. However two photos taken
by Steve Barber still remain:
the following text:
fighters are tackling a house blaze in the Kendal.
car within the garage of a property on Hayfell Rise
set fire this morning. Its interior is burnt out and
there are scorch marks up the side of the house.
appliances from Kendal are currently at the scene.
Rise has been cordoned off while fire fighters damp
down the area.
surprisingly therefore, BOOTboys this week had a somewhat
different team formation with Stan and me being augmented
by Roger, who has followed our
progress for quite some time- joining us on CBT02
and making a surprise interception on BB0904, undertaking his first
full BB appearance.
was rather taken aback by what Roger was carrying. Whereas
I have a rucksac stuffed with spare fleeces, three sets
of gloves, two sets of crampons, and ice axe, an emergency
tent, space blanket, goggles and balaclava, he just
had a tiny bumbag. Seemingly he doesnít feel the
passes at the ready, we mounted the 555 from Kendal,
not entirely sure where we were heading. Much
would depend on our collective view of the weather conditions
slightly constrained by my need to get back earlyish
in order to stand through an evening of Fairport Convention
at the Brewery in Kendal. However,
when we learned that Roger had never been
up Helvellyn, that settled it.
was a lovely morning as we were taken along
Englandís finest trunk road, sitting in
pride of place in the double deckerís upstairs
front seat. Windows were a bit steamy
so the photo of snow on the ground at Lowwood
as well as on the Langdales is a little
through a steamy window
Crag with its Howitzer
gain maximum advantage we alighted at the
top of Dunmail Raise and headed up Raise
Beck towards Grisedale Tarn. The path
up Steel Fell, on the other side of the
road, looked mighty steep and I was so glad
we were not headed that way. The Howitzer
atop of Helm Crag stood out proudly.
path became increasingly icy so Roger and I put on my
two sets of Grivel Spider Instep Crampons. How
Stan manages to skip along without, defeats me. On
reaching Grisedale Tarn, well above the snow line, we
reconfirmed the decision to turn left for Helvellyn.
Stan opted to go direttismo by the wall whereas
we lesser mortals thought that looked hard work in the
soft snow and so traversed around to the path.
Grisedale Tarn and Seat Sandal
the time we met up again it had become decidedly grey
and we resolved to keep together from there on. It
was snowing on Dallywagon Pike and the visibility was
poor. It was even worse on Nethermost Pike where
we met two guys who were hoping we were heading down
to Glenridding so they could tag along. These
cheerful souls said that you could see nothing on Helvellyn
and the shelter could not be found. Stan was having
none of it and we left them traipsing in the direction
of Wythburn although they said they were going to Grisedale
was interesting to contrast Stanís navigational style
with that of Bryan. Whereas Bryan focuses on planning,
regularly referring to maps if unsure and generally
ensuring he knows where he is at all times, Stanís approach
is much more instinctive. He navigates primarily
by memory and intuition, relishing the challenge of not
needing maps but is confident of his ability to use
them as a last resort.
course, he has the advantage over me of many years of
recrossing the same ground in all sorts of conditions
but I have to admit that at this point, I was not convinced
about Stanís chose line of attack. I also have to concede
that despite the thick mist and, to me, seemingly virtually
featureless terrain with any tracks long obliterated
by snow, he led us directly, unerringly to the summit
was taken and my hands did their usual winter trick
of losing all feeling in the cold.
a pair of handwarmers
in what is becoming an ongoing field trial. This
time White Rock Hand Hot packs (see
reviews of other brands).
There was no instant relief so I was fairly glum
as I packed up and tried to get my gloves back on- certainly
too cold for a team photo even if we could have seen
Rock Hand Hot handwarmers
decided to descend by the Helvellyn Ghyll path
to the High Park Wood car park. Disorientated, we went
slightly awry at first and came to the Swirral Edge
cairn where some brave souls were descending. Out
came the map and Stanís compass, a bearing was taken
and we quickly found the right way off the mountain.
As we dropped down near the ghyll and still in
quite deep snow, the mist started
to clear and we could see over Thirlmere and then up
to Skiddaw and beyond. Time at last for a team
photo, using the ice axe as a camera platform.
picture with Thirlmere and Skiddaw appearing
back up Helvellyn Ghyll
now that the temperature had risen several degrees,
my handwarmers were pumping out mega heat! Perhaps
is a lesson here. I used the handwarmers as a
solution to a problem after it had arisen and maybe
not the way they work. I must try to remember
to open them at least half an hour before I actually
need them! But so far, the Grabber Mycoal
handwarmers used on BB0902
have given the fastest relief.
reached the car park just as the 555 sailed by without
stopping. However, that was a bonus. It
meant we could saunter along to the Kingís Head at Thirlspot
and have a noggin before the next one arrived.
again we took pole position upstairs and enjoyed yet
another fine journey on what was becoming a glorious
suffering from Badgers on the Line had missed an exhilerating
outing. And, for us, it had been the right type
Pike, Nethermost Pike, Helvellyn
you have Memory Map on your computer, you can follow
our route in detail by downloading BB0908.
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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