BB0927 : Dear Mrs Scroggins

Friday 11th September 2009

"I'd like you to type a letter, please," I said to my secretary one day in 1974.  

"It's to Mrs Scroggins at 13 Macaroon Villas, Quito near Grimsby."

    Dear Mrs Scroggins

    Please will you grant us a permit to use your road up to the summit of
    Great Dun Fell?

    Yours sincerely

    Don Shore

Mrs Scroggins didn't exist, of course, and the address was fake (inspired, according to Ian B, by Round the Horne, the radio comedy programme of the 1960s featuring Kenneth Horne and Kenneth Williams).

Just why it seemed so funny to ask my secretary to send such a letter escapes me now; Ian might recall.  However, it didn't seem that funny when a few days later the head of the post room at Provincial Insurance, where I worked, chastised me for wasting company time and money.  The letter had gone out with a return address on the envelope and had duly been returned.  Caught in the act!

Underlying this silliness was the fact that there really is a road to the top of Great Dun Fell.  It was, and still is, a private road- the highest road in England as a matter of fact. Nowadays, however, walkers do not need permission to use the road that leads to the Civil Aviation Authority's air traffic control radar station.  Also up there is an array of scientific instruments involved in cloud microphysics research, so located because the site is in cloud for nearly two thirds of the year.   

Mrs Scroggins' road to the radar station

Not clouded today, though.  The best forecast for many weeks.  Time to carry out an ambition unsatisfied these 35 years.  

How long?  

Thirty five years!  

That's a little reminder of a J. Peasmold Gruntfuttock catchphrase from Round the Horne!

First views of the Cross Fell range

This was going to be a big one so an early start was needed.  It had been cold overnight but a glorious day was in prospect as we drove from Kendal to the lovely little town of Appleby and then on to the tiny village, Knock, where we parked opposite the old C of E Mission Room.

The Mission Room

Uncle monty's next project?

Leavng the village, we found an abandoned farmhouse that reminded me a bit of Uncle Montyís Cottage.  Now that this has been sold (yes, a new buyer, an architect from Canterbury, has been found; see BBC, United Utilities  and  Westmorland Gazette) the Knock version would make a good alternative for any disappointed would-be purchasers.

Our first objective was Knock Fell so we quickly joined the Pennine Way and proceeded at a good pace up the reasonably gentle hill.

The Way lies directly ahead

We could see the Lake District hills in the distance but there was quite a bit of a haze reducing the clarity.

Knock Pike with the Lakeland hills behind in the haze

There are a lot of unusual shaped cairns on these hills and Knock Old Man, just below the summit, is a good example.

Knock Old Man

The paved Pennine Way

Dropping down off Knock Fell, the Pennine Way turned into a paved footpath.  No ordinary paving stones or rock cobbles but massive slabs of thick, high quality flags.  We wondered from whence had they come and concluded probably Bangladesh!  Without them, the Pennine Way would be a very wet walk indeed.

The golf ball radar station increasingly dominated the skyline and for the last three quarters of a mile we were on Mrs Scroggins' beautifully tarmacadammed road.  There were a few people on site working but there did not seem to be any great security for what must be quite a sensitive facility.

The radar station

Cow Green Reservoir

To the East, we could see a large lake that we were unable to identify.  We later discovered it is Cow Green Reservoir.

The flagged path started again and led us over Little Dun Fell and on to Cross Fell - at 2,930 feet it is the highest point in Yorkshire, a height that would put it in 9th place were it in the Lake District, between Great Gable and Pillar.

There is a large cross shaped shelter at the summit where we lunched.  There was a handful of people there when we arrived.  By the time we left, it was getting more like Piccadilly Circus.  I donít know where they had all come from.


The boulder field

We set off north-west to find our way back.  Perhaps we should have gone more northerly as it was an interesting scramble down a steep rock-strewn landscape, made slightly hairy at times when the seeming stable boulder on which you relied started to wobble.

Further down we found a bothy but not one you would want to stay in!

The bothy!!!

Stan plunging through mud to escape bullocks

It was an easy trail down to the valley where our way lay across farm land.  

Looking back to the fells

This is dairy country and we crossed many a field of curious heifers, inquisitive bullocks and various varieties of beasts that fortunately stayed their distance.  

The map showed the intriguingly titled "Hanging Walls of Mark Anthony" ancient cultivation terrace.  I am not sure if we found them!  We did see some washing for Margaret at Low Howgill.

Hanging Walls of Mark Anthony????

Washing for Margaret at Low Howgill

We forded streams, got bogged down in bogs and, despite the magnificent skyline, generally got a bit fed up of the heavy going so when we reached Milburn we stopped for a coffee break under the old tree by the school house on the village green- a delightful spot.  Milburn is just one of many attractive small villages in this unspoilt part of the world.  For more, including Knock, see The Pennine Villages.


Thereafter, it was more fields until Bryan called a halt and insisted that we completed the last mile on the road.  

Nearing Knock

Actually, given the distance, we finished very strongly.  The objective had been fulfilled and we had greatly enjoyed the day.  

I think a "Thank You" letter is called for.

    Dear Mrs Scroggins

    Thank you for letting us go up your road to Great Dun Fell.  We had a lovely walk up across the Knock, Great Dun, Little Dun and Cross Fells.  In fact it reminded me of a nursery rhyme:

      Knock, Cross, Duns
      Knock, Cross, Duns
      One for Don and Stan and Bryan
      Knock, Cross, Duns

    Yours sincerely
    Don Shore

    PS I donít suppose you remember me writing to you a long time ago?

    "How long?" I hear you ask.

    Thirty Five years!

 Don, 11th September 2009


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Friday 11th September


16.5 miles

Height climbed:

3,166 feet



Other Key Features:

Knock Fell, Great Dun Fell, Little Dun Fell,
Cross Fell


Bryan, Don, Stan


If you have Memory Map on your computer, you can follow our route in detail by downloading BB0927.

Steve 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 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
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but is in memory of
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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