BB0926 : Long Wet Windy Monty Bothy Fun?

Thursday 20th August 2009

Long Wet Windy Monty Bothy was the description given by Jamie (my son, currently at home on holiday) when I asked him to sum up today's outing in five words.  Actually, he added a sixth word: Fun, although that only applied to the first two sides of what should have been a triangle.

The idea was to take advantage of the awful weather and pay a visit to Uncle Monty's cottage (see BB0907 for background information) given that the sale has apparently fallen through as the purchaser at auction was unable to get the bank support for his plans.  The property is believed to be back on the market.

Wet Sleddale was living up to its name as we parked by the reservoir but that did not deter us.  

What might have been more of a worry was the warning signs about adders. However, I have never seen one and today would be no exception.

What was a worry was the sheer volume of water around.  Astonishing for midsummer. The direct footpath to the cottage was impassable where it crosses Sleddale Beck and we had to press on to the bridge.

Adders are at large!

Not this way.....

..... that way

There were more warning signs at Sleddale Hall, a.k.a. Crow Crag in the film Withnail and I, better known as Uncle Monty's cottage.  The protestations about asbestos were rather half hearted, I thought.  

Danger Keep Out

Stan examines the entrance

The back entrance that we had used on BB0831 was securely boarded up but the dining room window was open to the elements.  Inside it was clear that the property remains much visited.  It was far tidier than it had once been and the ouija board has gone. Hanging on a wall was a print of an old photograph of the house and there is now a visitors book recording a steady stream of devotees making their pilgrimage.  

Sleddale Hall in better days

Room with a view

One entry made reference to YouTube postings.  I do't know if these are the ones they meant but you might find some of them worth looking at:

Sleddale Hall: Many photos of Sleddale Hall, to the accompaniment of a David Craig song

The Auction: Video of the auction- strange progress to the remarkable (and presumably non appearing) £265,000.

You will also find links on YouTube to various postings by a group called the Crow Crags singing in and about the house.  E.g. The Protest Song.

We did not linger but pressed on up Wet Sleddale.  The wind was approaching gale force at time and was in our faces, sometime accompanied by driving rain, occasionally by hail.  We set a cracking pace and somehow I really enjoyed the challenge.  Dropping down into Mosedale, the weather had eased a little but the stream was in spate and it was quite a feat finding somewhere narrow enough to jump across in order to gain the shelter of the Mosedale Cottage bothy.

Mosedale Cottage

The path is a river

This is a good place to rest and eat on a foul day but why is it we only ever go there on foul days?  

Maybe because it is a good place to rest and eat on a foul day- a self-fulfilling commendation.

We thought the weather a little better after lunch and I decided not to put my rain trousers back on (partly because they were wetter inside than out).  

Comitibus.  But what is Stan holding?

Looking back up Mosedale from near Forces Falls

No sooner had we set off back down Mosedale than it hailed.  But, fortunately not for long and there were glimpses of sun and even at times enough blue sky to make a pair of sailor's trousers, as Stan put it.


Rather than return the way we came, we continued down to Swindale, past the impressive Forces Fall where Philip tumbled on BB0623, not realising until a few days later that he had broken his ribs.  

Jamie surveys the falls

No accidents today.

Forces Falls....

.... and more

Click on the picture to see the falls in action

Walking through a wooded area lower down, we saw a red squirrel run up tree and managed to get a photo of him looking down on us from a very high branch.

Red Squirrel

Swindale "mouth"

On reaching Gouthercrag Gill, the map shows a distinct path heading over the moors directly back to Sleddale Hall.  We thought it would be an easy return journey along the third side of the triangle.  Wrong.

The path disappeared.  I put my navigational skill to the test.  I did what Bryan had taught me and oriented the map in the direction of travel.  I took a bearing from the sun and headed directly for it (when we could see it).  On reaching the brow of the hill we looked down into Wet Sleddale.  

Only it wasn't.  It was Mosedale.

What a fool I had been.  I looked at the map again, northways up this time- real man style- and immediately realised my mistake.  We had been travelling south west.  We should have been travelling south east.  It just goes to show that if you hold the map girly fashion there is the distinct risk of making a girly left / right mistake.  

OK, that's cheap jibe. Sorry.  I admit my incompetence.  Just look at the map below to see the dent made into the final side of the triangle!

Once the error had been identified we had to traipse across the very boggy, rainy, windy moors to get back on track.  It seemed endless.  Eventually we dropped down to Sleddale Grange above the reservoir and were rewarded with a magnificent rainbow.

Rainbow's end

Talking of rewards, one is being offered if you can find Henry the African Grey parrot.

Although smile on the sparrowhawk's face suggested that you might be too late.

Finally, a reward for those who have followed the story all the way through: a new Big Josie offering although be warned, this is not a tale for those easily offended!

Derek S is a member of a Cheshire walking group who also go by the name of BOOTboys (having changed it from Foot Frothers).  

Swindale "mouth"

As it happens, I know Derek from my Provincial Insurance days, so when he contacted me for information about walks in the Howgills, I challenged him to prove that they were truly BOOTboys.

The proof can be read at Memories of the Cheshire BOOTboys.  

  Don, 20th August 2009

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Thursday 20th August 2009


14.7 miles

Height climbed:

2,218 feet



Other Key Features:

Uncle Monty's Cottage, Mosedale Cottage,
Wet Sleddale


Don, Jamie, Stan



If you have Memory Map on your computer, you can follow our route in detail by downloading BB0926.

Steve G advises: "For those who like to look at your meanderings but use Tracklogs or other software then your logs may be converted using the freeware utility GPS Babel."

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