Feet on the Greenburn Horseshoe
25th June 2009
has leant me another book.
Entitled “Ancient Feet”
by Alan Nolan, this is quite unlike the last one he
leant me about He Who Must Not Be Named (See BB0901)
although occasionally similar sentiments are expressed.
Rather, it is the story of five men who undertake
Wainwright’s Coast to Coast Walk.
things struck me about “Ancient Feet”.
it is much better written than “The Hike” by Don Shaw
Feet with ancient feet
Whereas The Hike seemed contrived
and the characters unconvincing, perhaps needing television
to add a visual dimension to bring them alive (the author
is, after all, a scriptwriter for Peak Practice), Ancient
Feet felt authentic, the characters real and the dialogue
was what a strangely disparate group they were. Like
that orchestra (was the Portsmouth??) they would start
together and finish together (here in the sense of having
dinner but not all staying at the same accommodation)
but what happened inbetween was a collection of individual
events, a fact that, I felt, the author rather regretted.
I certainly would. Whilst we have different
natural speeds- viz today's team: I am quite fast on easy ground and modest
slopes but painfully slow when the going gets steep,
rugged and exposed, Stan starts relatively slowly but
speeds up through the day until his knee hurts and Bryan,
providing his back is ok, is just a mountain goat- we
never stay apart for long. For me at least, the
banter is as much a part of the enjoyment of the day
as the exercise.
“Respect” to the individuals concerned. 190 miles
across some demanding terrain in twelve consecutive
days with full pack. And what I haven’t told you yet is that
these guys are in their 60s, one nearly 70. I
reckon I could manage any one of their days individually. But
consecutively? That’s quite another matter.
would be a test. Yesterday I had been out with
Margaret. We had buspassed our way from Elterwater to Grasmere and then, in brilliant
sunshine, returned over Silver How, detouring round
Loughrigg Tarn to take afternoon tea at Skelwith Bridge
before returning along the Cumbria Way. Not a
huge excursion but, at 7.7 miles and 1,469 feet climbed,
not insignificant. In fact a Great
my ancient feet, or, to be precise, my ancient right
foot was protesting. And my ancient left knee
was clicking. How would they cope with a second
and more taxing expedition?
and Bryan dismissed my concerns over the difficulties
of multiple days of long distance walking. It
gets easier, they said. You just build up match
fitness every day.
Margaret and I were staying at Elterwater, so I suggested
to them that they should regard our lodgings as base
camp. I had envisaged tackling Wetherlam directly,
somewhat apprehensive due to my memory of when Bryan
took Pete and me up a very direct route (see BB0411) and
I really struggled. Perhaps Bryan is softening
after all as he proposed a longer but much more gentle
ascent around the Greenburn valley via Wet Side Edge
to Great Carrs and Swirl How then taking Wetherlam by
surprise from the rear before dropping back down to
Langdale Tarn with Wetherlam behind
first three miles were very gentle as we progressed over
the lovely little Slater Bridge and
around Little Langdale Tarn.
We found a baseball
cap on the ground with the letters ECI on the forehead.
Fifty yards later we found a lady who had lost
it so we directed her to the fence post on which it
had been placed. What did ECI stand for? I asked
Environmental Change Institute nor Exeter Community
even Extra Clever Individual although that comes closer.
it simply stood for SPECIAL but the SP and AL had rubbed
so she said!
was not the bright sunny day that we had expected. There
was quite a lot of cloud and a strong wind.
the Greenburn Horseshoe
and Swirl How, looking up the Greenburn valley
crossing Greenburn Beck, the hill was surprisingly steep
yet Bryan suddenly upped the pace. I hung onto
his boot heels but he changed up another gear forcing
me to dig really deep, which he could tell from my panting
in his ear. Then, as the ground flattened out,
he stopped and congratulated me on how well I was going
whilst “blowing”. He had deliberately been testing
me out with a bit of what he called interval training.
on, he diverted to look down to Wrynose Pass to try
and spot a place to leave his bicycle on his grand Wainwright
completion tour (more of which in weeks to come).
spots a parking place
and Crinkles behind Cold Pike
Side Edge is a really good ridge approach to Great Carrs
but the wind grew stronger and colder. Having
reached the summit, we pressed on a while, past the
crashed plane (see BB0721
and BB0814) until we found
a sheltered spot for lunch and team photo.
Carrs from Swirl How
from Swirl How
I discovered I was going rather well- I don’t know whether
it was the egg mayo, the interval training or the fact
that, like Stan,
I was wearing lightweight Inov8 fell runner's shoes but
I certainly had flying heels, for once.
Band and Wetherlam
Water and Coniston Water
Greenburn Horseshoe from Wetherlam
kindly said that my performance dropping down to Prison
Band was the best bit of descending I had ever done
and would I like to try Striding Edge next week? Thank
you Bryan, I’ll think about that one!
crossed over Wetherlam and continued down the nose over
Birk Fell where in our enthusiasm we missed the track
(if, indeed, it was visible on the ground) to the Greenburn
valley so we had to improvise a way off over some broken
Fell from Wetherlam
to Little Langdale Tarn
rejoined the approach path round Little Langdale Tarn,
resting for a while in pleasant afternoon sunshine whilst
Stan got quite poetical, quoting great chunks of William
is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to
stand and stare.
time to stand beneath the boughs
And stare as long
as sheep or cows.
time to see, when woods we pass,
hide their nuts in grass.
time to see, in broad daylight,
Streams full of stars,
like skies at night.
time to turn at Beauty's glance,
And watch her feet,
how they can dance.
time to wait till her mouth can
Enrich that smile
her eyes began.
poor life this if, full of care,
We have no time
to stand and stare.
back to the book “Ancient Feet”. I have passed it on
to Stan, who described the Coast to Coast as one of his
unfulfilled ambitions. We started debating how
to earn the brownie points to get a couple of weeks
away to complete it. I can’t say too much at this
stage but Bryan is hatching a masterplan. Let’s
just say that he’s never done it with Liz but is thinking
about it, I have done it with Margaret but not for sometime
and Stan has even won medals for it but not with Joan.
That is all I can reveal for now.
how are my ancient feet after a quite strenuous second
day with the greatest single day’s climbing of the year?
In remarkably good order, thank you.
Coast to Coast? Nae bother. Bring it on!
do we start?
25th June 2009
am pleased to report that Tony has had his "procedure"
and he says that his blood is now flowing like the Amazon.
He needs to take it easy for a while but hopefully
we will soon be rejoined by the man whom Steve G describes
as really being a legend in his own lunch time.
anyone seen Lily?" was the question I asked
those on the e-mailing list for BOOTboys updates.
when announcing the release of BB0919
Looking for Lily
respondents said they had. To find out more, go
If you want to comment on this report, click on
25th June 2009
Carrs, Swirl How, Wetherlam
you have Memory Map on your computer, you can follow
our route in detail by downloading BB0920.
G advises: "For those who like to look at your
meanderings but use Tracklogs or other software then
your logs can be converted using the freeware utility
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!