BB0932 : Paths of Glory?

Thursday 8th October 2009

First, a follow-up item.

Do you remember the mystery on the bridge at Ventimiglia that I mentioned in BB0930?

Jilly (Menton Daily Photo) drew my attention to a posting on 5th October on the blog of a friend of hers:
The Five Of Us.

This gives an explanation of the significance of the padlocks.  

Though I am still not entirely convinced! What do you think?

Ventimiglia bridge padlocks

Talking 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.  

How 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.

Nevertheless, 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.

A 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, including St 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 Sale!

First sight of Ennerdale Water and, on the right, Crag Fell

Our first stop, however, was at the scene of a much older religion.  


The Kinniside Stone Circle.  

The Cumbria Directory 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.  

The Megalithic Portal 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 century.  

Stan and Pete examine the circle

None of which explains what was its purpose?

It 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 Lakeland Fells 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.

There 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.  

Nearing the top of Blakely Raise

You could just make out the Galloway hills across the Solway Firth and, with a bit of imagination, the Isle of Man.

Objectives Grike and Lank Rigg from Blakeley Raise

Next 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.

Looking back to Blakeley Raise and the forest

Comitibus: Grike

This 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.

Ennerdale Water from Crag Fell

Eventually, we restarted and headed south, back through the forest, up and over Whoap to bag Lank Rigg.  

Looking back to Crag Fell after the forest

Comitibus: Lank Rigg

Lank Rigg from Whoap

Retracing 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.

The isolated Whoap Beck valley

My 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.


Looking back up Whoap Beck to Lank Rigg

But were there any Paths of Glory today?  

Fortunately not, as, in his Churchyard Elegy, Gray tells where they but lead.

Sometimes 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 real glory.

Don, 8th October 2009

P.S.  John Crace published a most amusing review of Paths of Glory in the Guardian . 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 Blanc pen."

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 shoes.

"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 poetry."

"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 Jeffrey."

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 replied self-importantly.

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 the ascent."

"Oh bugger," said George. "But at least we can rely on Jeffrey to tell the truth one day."


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Thursday 8th October 2009


8.0 miles

Height climbed:

2,095 feet


Grike, Crag Fell, Lank Rigg

Other Features:

Kinniside Stone Circle, Blakely Raise, Whoap


Bryan, Don, Pete, Stan




If 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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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