BB0912 : John's Comeback

Monday 6th April 2009

As far as I can recall, this must be the shortest BOOTboys outing on record.  John even suggested that it might more properly be described as a slipper stroll.  No way.  Perhaps the other John, (S), had it right when he described the plan as BOOTboys LITE before disappearing off to his native sod in order to avoid having to join us. Whatever, today was a significant event and a not insignificant climb.

For those who do not know him, I need to add some background.  John L is a powerfully built man.  In his youth he played a lot of rugby at a serious level, mainly at full back because, he says, you could hurt people there, legitimately!  However, this and other activities took its toll on his body.  John was a founder member of BOOTboys but became increasingly distressed with descending.  His last outing was on 6th April 2006- BB0606  A Bit on the Side......- not long after which he went under the knife to receive a new knee.  Sadly, it went wrong, thanks to a deep infection in the joint.  After many months of frustration and pain, the surgeons had another go- taking the new joint apart for deep cleansing then rebuilding it with even more titanium.  This time the operation was a success and John has diligently been following his physiotherapy programme to regain his strength and fitness.  Regular readers may have read of his efforts on the Comeback Trail in CBT01 : Helm, direttissimo and CBT02 : Cunswick Fell and back in the dark!

Some time ago, John set 6th April as his target date to tackle a real hill and his objective was Side Pike, three years to the day from his last BOOTboys experience and the same destination.

It was not because of lack of faith in John but as a precaution that I asked for as many support crew as possible- he is a big lad to carry off the hill!  

Fellow founder members Pete and Stan answered the call.

Side Pike from  Langdale

Side Pike from  the Bela Tarn road

To minimise the road slog we parked at Blea Tarn and took the path up from the high point of the pass.  After last week’s photographic extravaganza in more or less the same locality, I had vowed not to take any panoramic shots today but John insisted that I record the Oxendale and Mickleden view so how could I refuse?

Oxendale and Mickleden

A short climb Side Pike might be, but there is no doubt it is a real hill in miniature.  The terrain is often rocky and at many points almost a scramble.  For a man with two sticks and a newly acquired bionic knee, it was an awkward test, to say the least.  

Nevertheless he made steady progress and comfortably achieved the summit. Indeed you can tell from comparing the team photos that he was in much better shape than three years go.  Flushed with success, he even suggested that we carry on to Lingmoor Fell but the rush of blood subsided and common sense returned. One victory at a time.

John powering up the hill

Team photo 6th April 2006

Team photo 6th April 2009

We pioneered a new route down, rather grassier than the ascent but, if anything, steeper. Lunch was taken at 11:55 (that will upset Tony) overlooking Blea Tarn.  We then completed the descent and circumnavigated the lake.

Blea Tarn from lunch stop

Pike o'Stickle, Harrison Stickle and Side Pike

Mission accomplished, we stopped off at the Three Shires Inn on the way back to celebrate.  Welcome back, John.

Don 6th April 2009


Why is it that other folk's misfortune often provokes a reaction of laughter?  It seems an integral part of the human condition, which goes part way to proving that, contrary to the view of some who knew him in his working life, Pete is human.  My first attempt at a team picture ended with me getting tangled up with my camera strap as I tried to dash back to get in the frame.  I quite failed to make it but did capture the look on Pete's face!



Monday 6th April 2009


3.0 miles

Height climbed:

691 feet



Other Key Features:

Side Pike


 If you have Memory Map on your computer, you can follow our route in detail by downloading BB0912.

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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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