: Paths of Glory?
8th October 2009
a follow-up item.
you remember the mystery on the bridge at
Ventimiglia that I mentioned in BB0930?
(Menton Daily Photo)
drew my attention to a posting on 5th October
on the blog of a friend of hers:
Five Of Us.
gives an explanation of the significance
of the padlocks.
I am still not entirely convinced! What
do you think?
of not entirely convinced, I recently read
Jeffrey Archer's book on George Mallory:
Paths of Glory. It is a long
while since I read any of his work and I
hadn't intended to this time. Indeed,
I hadn't even heard of the book until it
appeared one day in our kitchen, acquired
by granny in a charity shop. I have
to say that despite his sometimes irritating
style of writing- a bit like a fourteen
year old trying too hard with too many adjectives
and "Boy's Own" caricatures- it
was an easy and fascinating read.
accurate it is, is another matter. When
even his "fragrant" wife describes
him as having a gift for inaccurate précis,
you have to wonder. Several reviewers point
out the many incidents that never actually
happened, like Mallory climbing either the
Eiffel Tower or St Mark's Basilica (on the
outside, of course). You have to remember
that it is a novel, not a biography.
the core of the story is based on fact plus a plausible
final conjecture. Whether Mallory did or did not actually
reach the summit of Everest nearly thirty years before
Hillary and Tensing, he was clearly a remarkable man
whose exploits make our attempt to complete the Wainwrights
look very tame.
downside to seeking to complete all the Wainwrights
is that there is a lot of travelling involved in reaching
the Western Fells. Today's original intention
was to visit Low Fell and Fellbarrow but when Tony cried
off with a streaming cold he asked us to save that walk
for when he was fit. So we opted to go even further,
to one of the remotest parts of England where folk talk
in strange accents. They really do. It is
because of the mining. Cleater and Cleater
Moor, for example, were populated by Irish miners
and although the mines are long gone, the Irish influence,
Mary's Catholic Church
with its poor man's Lourdes grotto, remains strong.
Rowrah, on the other hand, was home to
Cornish miners who established a Wesleyan Chapel.
In this case however it has been converted to
a dwelling and is currently For
sight of Ennerdale Water and, on the right, Crag Fell
first stop, however, was at the scene of a much older
Kinniside Stone Circle.
says that this eleven stone, sixty foot diameter circle
is of modern origin but Wainwright thought otherwise
and that it was simply restored in modern times.
supports AW and argues that originally, thousands of
years ago, it had twelve stones (my estimate was thirteen)
but these had been removed
by farmers and that it was restored in the early twentieth
and Pete examine the circle
of which explains what was its purpose?
had been my intention to start our walk from here but
Bryan had other ideas. In fact, we had had a disagreement
about how long the walk would be. I took my information
from Andrew Leaney's excellent website, The
plus my own readings of the map and contended it would
be just over 8 miles. Bryan claimed 11 miles,
based on his previous visit, although he did concede
his gps had some problems in the trees. You might
think, therefore that, to be on the safe side, Bryan
would want to lengthen the walk but he actually insisted
that the car be moved another 200 yards nearer to the
start of the path to Blakely Raise.
had been the threat of a shower as we arrived but it
quickly passed and it was a fine but cold morning as
we set off up this modest, grassy hill. As we
climbed, the views started to open up, both of the Lakeland
Hills and out to sea.
the top of Blakely Raise
could just make out the Galloway hills across the Solway
Firth and, with a bit of imagination, the Isle of Man.
Grike and Lank Rigg from Blakeley Raise
we passed through a forestry commission plantation.
Wainwright had been very worried that this might
prove an impenetrable block for future walkers but not
so. Access was easy and egress onto Grike not
too problematical. At the summit, there was a
convenient shelter where we took a breather before setting
off for Crag Fell.
back to Blakeley Raise and the forest
next summit offered a magnificent view over Ennerdale
Water to hills that are mostly unfamiliar to us. The
sun came out, we sheltered out of the wind and took
a very long and enjoyable lunch stop.
Water from Crag Fell
we restarted and headed south, back through the forest,
up and over Whoap to bag Lank Rigg.
back to Crag Fell after the forest
Rigg from Whoap
our steps, we dropped down to the long and isolated
Whoap Beck valley from which we reached the car, parked
on what was now a very busy back road to Sellafield.
isolated Whoap Beck valley
tracklog said 8.0 miles. Bryan was right that
his route had been longer (he and Stan had taken an
uncharacteristically non-direttissimo approach to Whoap).
A full 8.2 miles.
back up Whoap Beck to Lank Rigg
were there any Paths of Glory today?
not, as, in his Churchyard Elegy, Gray tells where they
there were no paths at all. The hills themselves
were unremarkable grassy mounds. However, it was a fine
walk with many magnificent views, a feature that continued
on the long drive home past seven of England's finest
lakes on a beautiful autumn afternoon. That was the
8th October 2009
Crace published a most amusing review of Paths
of Glory in
. Click on the link for the full review but the text
is shown below in case they ever move it!
1999 Anker struggled to fill his
lungs at 27,000ft before offering up a prayer to Chomolungma, goddess mother of
the earth. He then searched the mummified body of George Mallory. "Good God," he
said, as he found a handwritten note, which read: "I made it to the top of
Everest. But don't tell anyone except Jeffrey Archer."
1892 The Reverend Leigh Mallory watched his six-year-old
son, George, climb a sheer 300ft stack. "Dear me," he muttered to himself. "That
boy is going to be as remarkable as Jeffrey Archer."
1903 George laughed as he gave his housemaster the slip on a
school expedition to le Moulin Rouge and headed out into the Parisian night.
"Chapeau, Monsieur," said the guard, as George scaled the Eiffel tower. "I 'ave
not seen un Anglais show such panache since Jeffrey Archer climbed his Mont
1905 "Damn it," George thought, as he sprinted through the
streets of Cambridge. "The gates of Magdalene College close at 3pm precisely and
I am going to miss my interview."
George flung his bag to one side and calmly eased himself up the imposing
brickwork, using only his hands in order to make sure he did not scuff his
"What kept you?" the Master enquired. "Not a lot," George replied smugly.
"Top man. It's chaps like you and Archer we need at this university."
1906 "Lovely to see you again, old boy,"
said Rupert Brooke. "And thank you so much for all the help you gave me with my
"Think nothing of it," George smiled. "Now if you'll excuse me, I've just got
to bowl at WG Grace in the nets before racing Harold Abrahams over 100m."
"You might beat Harold," Rupert laughed, "but you'll never outrun
1910 "Mr Mallory, I presume," said Captain Scott of the
Antarctic. "You are just the person to climb Everest. It's people like you, me
and Jeffrey Archer that have made the British empire what it is."
1912 He had humiliated her father by repeatedly beating him
at billiards and making clever putdowns, but still Ruth Turner ignored him.
There was only one thing for it ... "Gosh," said Ruth's father. "Who is that man
climbing St Mark's Basilica?" George stood proudly at the top, before swallow
diving down to the square below and landing with a forward roll at Ruth's feet.
"Now will you marry me?" he asked. "Of course I will, Jeffrey," she swooned.
1915 "It's no good, darling," George cried. "I can't let
Jeffrey fight the Hun single-handed."
1922 "Wasn't it enough for you to win the VC and Bar by
wiping out several Boche regiments at Ypres?" Ruth sobbed. "Do you have to climb
Everest as well?"
"She is the other woman in my life and I have to fulfil my destiny," he
George stood proudly at 27,000ft. It was higher than any man other than
Archer had climbed, and he could easily have made the summit. He put down his
copy of Kane and Abel and vowed to return.
1923 "There, there," said the fragrant Mary Archer, as Ruth
wept. "I know you don't want George to go back to Everest, but some men are such
free spirits that you have to set them loose for the benefit of mankind."
1924 George sprinted the last few hundred yards to the top
of Everest, before settling down to a glass of Krug and a bowl of shepherd's
pie. Several hours later, Sandy Irvine crawled up to the top to join him.
"I'm afraid I'm now going to have to pull you off the mountain to your
certain death," Sandy gasped, "so that Hillary and Tensing get the credit for
"Oh bugger," said George. "But at least we can rely on Jeffrey to tell the
truth one day."
If you want to comment on this report, click on
8th October 2009
Grike, Crag Fell,
Stone Circle, Blakely Raise, Whoap
Don, Pete, Stan
you have Memory Map on your computer, you can follow
our route in detail by downloading BB0932.
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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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!