BB0915 : The Gale Force Choice

Thursday 7th 2009

What do you do when the forecast is for gale force winds, gusting to 70 mph and making walking conditions extremely difficult?  

Answer:  visit Sallows and Sour Howes.  

Faced with the challenge of finding something interesting but lower and less exposed, I pondered over the map and realised that I hadn’t been there since 2005 (on BB0517 to be precise).  There had been another BOOTboys visit, BB0733, but I was missing on that occasion.  When I checked the reports, on both outings gales of 50 mph had been forecast.  So at least we are consistent.  Or predictable.

It was circumstances rather than wind that blew away our companions so the COMITIBUS count this week was severely reduced.  Thanks to all the Latin scholars who answered the plea last week for a definition of Comitibus.  The consensus is that it refers to friends or colleagues or companions or comrades.  Not, as one wag put it, a vehicle designed to take people to a meeting.

What puzzles me is the ending.  I always thought that “us” is singular whilst “i” is plural although I had never realised the verbal paradox involved- no doubt it is a standard joke amongst first year students.  Or maybe it is just wrong.  Anyway I am happy with my interpretation of “Companions of the BOOT”.  This week that meant just Stan and me.

Previous visits to Sallows and Sour Howes had been from the south via the Dubbs reservoir.  However, it seemed to me that there was a better walk to be enjoyed starting from Kentmere, going up the Garburn Pass and then, after Sour Howes, dropping back down to the valley where if the weather was awful we could escape up by the river back to the car and if it should be decent we could visit Skeggles Water and / or Hollow Moor, even taking in Brunt Knott if we were really adventurous.  A sort of mirror image of the famous Kentmere Horseshoe.

Not far up the Kentmere Valley, we noticed a number of vehicles pulled into the side of the road and we were flagged down by a refuse collector.  He said that there was an abandoned car blocking the carriageway and there was no way we could get through for another hour at least so best to turn round and go somewhere else.

If nothing else, I thought this must be a photo opportunity and, sure enough, there in the middle of the road was an abandoned car, with its tax disc two years out of date and its left front wheel totally collapsed.  It had obviously hit the banking, wrecked the track rods and the driver had done a runner.

Abandoned car blocking road...

.... then repositioned

There were, by now, enough held-up onlookers to take matters into their own hands and move the offending vehicle out of the way, so we set to and leant a hand.  In Stan’s case, the hand was on the steering wheel.  It was only after the vehicle had been manhandled to the side of the road that he realised that he had left his DNA in the most incriminating place.  I did offer to run him down to the local police station so he could have his DNA eliminated but the thought of having it on the register for 12 years caused him to think twice.  Personally, I can’t see why any law-abiding citizen should worry about having their DNA on a central register.  Indeed, I think there is a good argument that it should be made a precondition for anybody who wants to enjoy the benefits that the state provides- hospitals, schools, benefits etc.  How else can you prove indisputably who you are? Collecting it at birth seems a good idea to me!

With the car out of the way, we soon reached the village institute at Kentmere and paid our voluntary £1 to park.  It was a grey day as we set off up the Garburn Pass and the wind ferocity increased as we climbed.

Kentmere from the Garburn Pass

My first effort to stand on the top of Sallows was a failure- I was blown back off.  Stan did better.  Just.

Stan battles with the wind on Sallows

Dropping down towards the valley, quite satisfied with our fairly rapid progress in knocking off the two peaks, we decided to take an early first lunch (Tony: 11:30 !!!!!) sheltered from the wind by a convenient wall.

As we battled with the wind whilst heading round to Sour Howes, it also threatened to rain.  Fortunately, it was not a serious attempt and behind the shower came the sunshine.

Comitibus Stan and Don

Looking back to Sour Howes and Sallows

Looking across to Hollow Moor

Lower down we came across what the estate agents would no doubt call a “bijou residence”.  An old one roomed house, complete with the remains of a range type fireplace.

Bijou residence.....

.... in need of some restoration

Lower still, there was an attractive farmhouse with a horse that took a shine to Stan who was very worried that it might be after his apple.

Stan and horse

De-forestation aftermath

We crossed the valley and headed up the bridle path towards Longsleddale.  This led through a dark pine forest then out onto the fell where there was evidence of some rather large vehicles having been churning up the ground.  Some deforstation had been taking place.

Sour Howes and Sallows to the left, Hollow Moor ahead

 Our objective was Hollow Moor but first we took in Rasp Howe from where we had a good view of Skeggles Water, which we had almost visited on BB0709 when we circled but did not climb Hollow Moor due to it being a very wet day.  This time Hollow Moor succumbed and offered a fine view of the upper Kentmere Valley.  

Skeggles Water

Stan taking great care!

On the way down, we had to negotiate a barbed wire fence over which some kind soul had put plumber’s pipe insulation.  This almost protected one’s nether zones from attack. Once again we found a convenient wall behind which to shelter in the sunshine. Second lunch was taken.

St Cuthbert's cushions

Before reaching the car, we decided to have a look inside St Cuthbert's Church. I have often derided the building as one of Lakeland’s ugliest churches but I cannot extend that criticism to the interior.

It seemed surprisingly broad, simple but greatly enhanced by the array of brightly decorated kneeler cushions propped on the pew backs.

Returning to Kendal, there was no sign of the abandoned vehicle that had nearly prevented us from undertaking this novel circuit.  Next time, let’s do it on a fine, still day!

Don, 7th May 2009

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Thursday 7th May 2009


10.3 miles

Height climbed:

2,380 feet


Sallows, Sour Howes

Other Key Features:

Rasp Howe, Hollow Moor


Don, Stan


If you have Memory Map on your computer, you can follow our route in detail by downloading BB0915.

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