BB0908 : Badgers on the Line

Thursday 5th March 2009

Who wins the Reginald Perrin "Badgers on the Line" award for the best excuse for not coming on a BOOTboys walk this week?

A 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".

Back to the award.

Stan 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.  

I 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.

Martin, who had threatened to make an appearance, gave his apologies but no excuse, plausible or otherwise, so ruled himself out of consideration.

However there were three strong entries.

In 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.

Second place goes to Pete who bought a new Audi and promptly pranged it so escaped to Tenerife to drown his sorrows.

But 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.

The 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 total disaster.

Afternote December 2013: The Westmorland Gazette 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:

Plus the following text:

FIRE fighters are tackling a house blaze in the Kendal.

A 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.

Two appliances from Kendal are currently at the scene.

Hayfell Rise has been cordoned off while fire fighters damp down the area.

Not 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.

I 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 cold!

Bus 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.

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 indistinct!

Langdales through a steamy window

Helm Crag with its Howitzer 

To 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.

The 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.  

Fairfield, Grisedale Tarn and Seat Sandal

By 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 Tarn.

It 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.

Of 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 shelter.

Lunch was taken and my hands did their usual winter trick of losing all feeling in the cold.

I opened a pair of handwarmers in what is becoming an ongoing field trial.  This time White Rock Hand Hot packs (see BB0834 and BB0902 for 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 anything!

White Rock Hand Hot handwarmers

We 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.

Team picture with Thirlmere and Skiddaw appearing

Looking back up Helvellyn Ghyll

And now that the temperature had risen several degrees, my handwarmers were pumping out mega heat!  Perhaps there is a lesson here.  I used the handwarmers as a solution to a problem after it had arisen and maybe that is 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.

We 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.

Once again we took pole position upstairs and enjoyed yet another fine journey on what was becoming a glorious evening.  

Those suffering from Badgers on the Line had missed an exhilerating outing.  And, for us, it had been the right type of snow!



Thursday 5th March 2009


8.1 miles

Height climbed:



Dollywagon Pike, Nethermost Pike, Helvellyn

Other Key Features:




If 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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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!

If you want to contact us, click on



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he BOOTboys Inter-continental
Fan Club
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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