11th June 2009
I being a wimp?” I asked Bryan.
yes” he replied “but the alternative route I suggested
is an interesting mountain adventure.”
“interesting” and “adventure” are two words which when
uttered by Bryan are not entirely encouraging to knowing
wimps but I decided to trust his judgement.
had a guest BOOTboy
with us today: Tim, an old university friend now living
in Dorset. A long time member
of the The
Inter-continental Fan Club, his
request had been to go up Helvellyn via Striding Edge.
He, in common with Bryan, is a veteran of Everest base camp
and likes that sort of thing.
problem was not entirely my vertigo although that played
a part. I should perhaps explain that vertigo
is not just the fear of falling from an exposed position
but also having the little demons in my head that talk to me,
encouraging me to jump!
I have come to terms with the fact that one day I will
revisit Striding Edge and hope to keep the little demons
(and my legs) under control. The problem today
was that the forecast was for rain showers passing through
which, over the higher fells, would fall as sleet or
snow. The last thing that I wanted to happen was
to be stranded on the edge on wet rock. So I wimped
we would go up Grisedale to the Ruthwaite Lodge Climbing
Hut and then the direct route up the Tongue, skirting
the cliffs, to Dollywagon Pike. Advocated by Wainwright
as the most exhilarating way to the summit, he observed
that it was rarely used. Despite the popularity
of his books, that remains the case, judging
by the lack of footprints on the ground. Perhaps
it is due to his warning that it should not be attempted
in bad weather.
Lodge Climbing Hut
have omitted mention of another potential hazard we
had encountered on the journey.
As we descended
the Kirkstone Pass in the car, we saw a lot of youths
with skateboards and one standing by the side of the
road, behelmeted and masked and carrying a black flag,
seemingly to start a race. As far as we could
tell, they were gong to have a totally illegal and potentially
lethal road race down the Kirkstone Pass! But
we drove by before the flag fell.
parked at Patterdale and walked past St
looking splendid with its fine clock tower and churchyard
with its rhododendrons in full bloom.
view from the cricket pitch
lay up by Grisedale Beck. The path started gently
and gradually eased into uphill mode so that, by the
time we reached the climbers' hut, we felt as if we
had started to do some work.
a coffee stop, we restarted and the real work began.
It is a long, steep pull up but, as Bryan had
promised, an interesting mountain adventure. Hands-on
in places but no undue exposure. Good views back
down the valley to Place Fell and across to St Sunday's
Crag and Fairfield.
St Sunday's Crag, Fairfield and Tim
Not far below
the top, the weather turned nasty and a shower set in.
Wet weather gear was put on and when we crested the
summit of Dollywagon Pike, it was not actually raining
but it was grey and windy and remarkably cold for June.
We contemplated aborting but Bryan suggested we
dropped down out of the wind and took lunch.
at lunch time, thoughts turn to Tony. Not just
because of the eccentricity of his must-eat moment but because
of what has happened to him. Regular readers will
have noticed that he has not been out with us for some
while. The fact is that on his last couple of
outings he had been experiencing pain and on consulting
his doctor discovered that two of his arteries are seriously
clogged. That’s the bad news. The good news
is that a week on Monday he will undergo a procedure
that should clear his arteries and the prognosis is
very good that he will quickly make a full recovery
and be able to rejoin us before too long.
we wish you well and look forward to seeing you back
on the fells. To paraphrase Hello Dolly, it will
be good to have you back where you belong!
back down Dollywagon
the Dollywagon summit, we could immediately see that
the day had changed for the better.
The bad weather
had passed through and the air quality was superb, although
still very cold. Despite it being June, it must have
been close to freezing as I lost the feeling in my hands for
was a good view back down our Dollywagon
The panorama was superb.
Sunday's Crag, Fairfield and Dollywagon Pike
climbed Nethermost Pike and watched the hordes edging
their way slowly along Striding Edge. We joined
the masses as they emerged from the final scramble onto
the path to the Helvellyn Summit.
and Striding Edge from Nethermost Pike
Edge nearing Helvellyn
Edge from Swirral Edge
the team picture at the trig point, our
objective now was to descend by Swirral Edge.
have been up it in recent times but I had not been down
that way for at least 40 years.
It was pretty
much as I remembered it. Not too bad but I am
painfully slow on that tricky rocky sort of terrain-
sorry boys for holding you up. I got caught in
a bit of traffic whilst younger, fitter,
braver souls rattled along the ridge!
contemplated a quick up and down of Catstycam but decided
that we had had enough adventure so made our way down
past Red Tarn to the Hole in the Wall.
back up to Helvellyn and Catstycam
afterwards we met a disparate party of Jewish Schoolboys
from Manchester, all dressed in white shirts and black
trousers and skullcaps. Their master, or perhaps
their rabbi (I hesitate
to use the word “leader”), looked like he had stepped
out of the Old Testament and seemed quite unsure of
what they were doing. He had a map in his hand
but didn’t seem to realise that Helvellyn via either
of the Edges was a bit of a challenge for an unprepared
party. Let’s hope they just stopped at Red Tarn
and had fun there.
return back to the car was otherwise uneventful and
the drive home, likewise.
were no skateboarders
hurtling down the Kirkstone Pass for me to wipe out.
verdict on Bryan’s route was that he was quite right.
It had indeed been an interesting mountain experience
and much preferable to being one of the tourists on
the regular route up Helvellyn.
Even if I am a wimp.
11th June 2009
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Pike, Nethermost Pike, Helvellyn
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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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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
the erstwhile landlady
the erstwhile Burnmoor Inn at Boot in Eskdale,
who enlivened Saint Patrick's Day
and other odd evenings many years ago!
If you want to contact us, click on
If you want to join
let us know and
of new BOOTboys reports.
: A Gordon Day Out
: Thank You,
Wednesday 14th January
: A Wicked Hike???
: Take a Mug With You
: Down in the Forest
: Not How But Where?
: Binsey Can Wait
(but Uncle Monty Can Not)
Thursday 12th February
: Badgers on the Line
: It's not a W!
: Up on the Roof
: Not the Blisco Dashers
Thursday 2nd April
: John's Comeback
Monday 6th April
: Two Churches, a Pulpit and a Cherry Picker
: Companions of the BOOT
: The Gale Force Choice
: The Comeback Continues
28th May - 2nd June
: Has Anyone Seen Lily?
Feet on the Greenburn Horseshoe
- BB0921 :
The Tebay Fell Race Walk
: For England and St George
: The Coniston Outliers
Friday 31st July
: Little To Be Said In Favour?
: The Third Night of the Rescue
: Long Wet Windy Monty Bothy Fun?
: Dear Mrs Scroggins
Friday 11th September
: An Ard Day's Hike
Thursday 17th September
A Canter of Convalescents?
International Autumnal Expedition
Sunday 27th September
- BB0931 : A Bit of an Adventure
Thursday 1st October
- BB0932 : Paths of Glory?
Thursday 8th October
: When Yorkshire Was Welsh
- BB0934 : Unlocking the Whinlatters
Thursday 22nd October
: A Tale of Crinkley Bottoms
: Aye Up What?
: Where Eagles Wade
: After the Floods
: The Mystery of the Missing Glove
: A Too Short Walk
: One Hundred and Onesfell
: Back to the Beginning
: BOOTskiboys in Saalbach
- 21st March
: Los Chicos
y las Chicas de la Bota
11th - 14th May
: Peaked Too Soon
Click on the photos for an enlargement or related large
download a log of which Wainwrights have
been done by which BOOTboy
in the "modern" era, i.e. since the advent
click on Wainwrights.
anyone wants to claim other peaks, please let me know
and I will submit them to the adjudication committee!