BB0914 : Companions of the BOOT

Thursday 30th April 2009

And in the darkest hours of urban depression I will sometimes take out that dog's-eared map and dream awhile of more spacious days; and perhaps a dried blade of grass will fall out of it to remind me that once I was a free man on the hills.

My thanks to exiled Lancastrian Steve G for this quotation from Arthur Hugh Sidgwick's Walking Essays, written nearly 100 years ago and more of which, later.

It's a fine quote but was he dreaming of the sort of day that we expected today with its gales and heavy rain?  And how true is it that we are "free men on the hills"?

The beauty of doing the Wainwrights is that they can take you to places that you would not normally go.

The trouble with doing the Wainwrights is that they can take you to places you would not normally go.  

Artificial walks.  Not even walks- contrived outings.  In other words, the compulsion to complete the books renders us no longer "free men" but slaves to an arbitrary discipline.

That was certainly true today.  I doubt whether any of us, in our most outlandish moments, would otherwise have proposed the outing that we undertook, especially given the weather forecast!

But, to quote again from Sidgwick, it demonstrated how we are "Companions of the Boot".

Hugh ought not be confused (as I was until Andrew Belsey informed me of my error) with his father, Arthur Sidgwick (1840-1924), who was a fellow of Corpus Christi College, Oxford, and university reader in Greek. He published many books on ancient Greek authors and other classical subjects.  Andrew informed me that:

Arthur Hugh Sidgwick (1882-1917) was always known to family and friends as Hugh (because his father was Arthur), and published his books as A H Sidgwick. After graduating from Oxford University he was a civil servant at the Board of Education from 1906 to 1915, when he joined the army. As a Captain in the Royal Garrison Artillery he died of wounds on the western front near Ypres on 17th September 1917. He can be found on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission database on its website. He published the following books (the last posthumously):

  • Walking Essays (Edward Arnold, 1912)
  • The Promenade Ticket (Edward Arnold, 1914)
  • Jones's Wedding (Edward Arnold, 1918)

I like to think that were Hugh Sidgwick alive today, he would be blogging his walks, more or less in the BOOTboys fashion.  But, limited by the technology of the day, he resorted to prose and poetry.  His Walking Essays are introduced by a poetic dedication entitled COMITIBUS.  I have no Latin and no doubt someone will enlighten me as to what comitibus means but I prefer to call the poem by a name taken from one of its lines- To the Companions of the Boot.  A selection of stanzas reads:

    You who walked the ways with me
    On hill and plain and hollow;
    I ask your pardon, frank and free,
    For all the things that follow.

    Let me at least make one thing clear;
    In these I know no name for them
    These dreary talks on futile themes,
    Dim visions from a dullard's dreams,
    At least you take no blame for them.

    Therefore, companions of the boot,
    Joint-heirs of wind and weather,
    In kindness take this little fruit
    Of all our walks together.

    For aught it has of wit or truth
    I reckon you my creditors;
    Its dullness, errors, want of taste
    Inconsequence, may all be placed
    To my account, the editor's.

Just how I feel but much more eruditely expressed!

You can read the full poem at BB09index.

So what was so odd about today’s outing?  Well, at long last we returned to the serious business of finishing of Wainwright’s Northern Fells.  Tony and Stan needed Latrigg and Binsey.  I only needed Binsey and Pete, wisely, has opted out of this game but still joined us.  Bryan needs Latrigg but is saving it for his last great round-up but nonetheless came along on the trip.  

Binsey and Latrigg are at opposite ends of the Skiddaw range, too far apart to make a continuous walk and each only a quick up and downer.  So to make the day worthwhile we added Sale Fell and Ling Fell, which are in North Western Fells on the other side of Lake Bassenthwaite and were needed by all bar Bryan.  Three separate walks with transport by car inbetween.  The idea was to travel fast and light with rucksacs and food left in the car.  Consequently the order was critical if we were to satisfy Tony’s (and Pete’s) eating requirements.  Binsey first, then lunch.  Next Sale and Ling Fells and second lunch.  Finally the short gallop up Latrigg.

Binsey is only 1.5 miles up and down, 593 feet from the road.  However it was grey, cold and very windy on top.  

Approaching Binsey

Companions of Binsey

Sale and Ling Fells looked uninviting in the distance.

We drove to the foot of Sale Fell where the sun came out whilst we had a picnic amongst the gorse bushes which were giving off a pleasant perfume, a bit like vanilla.  

Sale and Ling Fells from Binsey

Binsey from Sale Fell

On setting off, we discovered St Margaret’s Church, Wythop. Very different to those we saw last week on BB0913- no false ceiling, open to the rafters and all the better for it. We were surprised to learn it was built in 1866.  It looked much later Victorian with its steep roof line.

St Margaret's, Wythop

Inside St Margaret's

There is no easy path up Sale Fell so we did it the hard way.

Direttissimo!  It’s quite a while since we have tackled such a steep slope.  

At the top, we were joined by a Scottish Hungarian chap who pulled out a small device, looking a little like a gps. This read the barometric pressure and the wind speed which he dutifully noted for his diary.  

I am not sure if he was able to forecast what happened next but the weather changed quite suddenly and as we walked along the ridge towards Ling Fell, we were bombarded by nasty cold heavy rain. Having left my waterproof trousers in the car, my legs got quite soaked.  

The others had been much more sensible!

Scottish Hungarian

Ling Fell from Sale Fell

However, on reaching the valley bottom at Brumston Bridge the weather had changed again and it turned into a beautiful sunny afternoon.  We ascended the appropriately named Ling Fell by the Corpse Road and by the time we reached the summit, I had quite dried out again.

Sale Fell from  Ling Fell

Companions of Ling Fell

There was a fine view over to Skiddaw, and no sign of the intervening lake- it looked like the continuation of the range on which we stood.

Binsey, Sale Fell and Skiddaw

Wythop Sunday School

We returned to the car using the road that ran past Wythop Mill and, just before St Margaret’s Church, discovered a strange little building that turned out to be Wythop Sunday School.

Second lunch was taken at the same picnic spot as the first following which we drove to the car park on the shoulder between Latrigg and Skiddaw.  

This left us to perform a round trip of 1.4 miles and only 254 feet of climbing.  Some might regard this as cheating, but that argument can only be sustained by those who start all walks from sea level!

Bryan, opting out to save Latrigg for later, was left at the car where there was a great view of the Mells in the distance.

The Mells from the Latrigg Car Park

The wheelchair path on Latrigg; Skiddaw behind

We loosely followed the wheelchair path to the surprise viewpoint- where Derwent Water suddenly comes into view and panorama is superb, even though it was starting to cloud over again.

Derwent Water from Latrigg

A gentle stroll to the top completed the Northern Fells for Stan and Tony (I had been there on CW09 and had therefore completed the book at Binsey).

Back home in Kendal we discovered the clag was down on even the low fells- had it been like that up north it would have been a very depressing day but as it turned out we had had a somewhat unusual but unexpectedly satisfying outing.

My message for Bryan, Pete, Stan and Tony is that the test of real Companions of the BOOT is that they turn out in all sorts of weather, on walks that they would not themselves have chosen and still cheerfully support each other to the achievement of individual goals.

Gentlemen, today you truly deserved the title!

Don, 30th April 2009

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Thursday 30th April 2009


7.9 miles

Height climbed:

2,435 feet


Binsey, Sale Fell, Ling Fell, Latrigg

Other Key Features:

A H Sidgwick


If you have Memory Map on your computer, you can follow our route in detail by downloading BB0914a, BB0914b and BB0914c .

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