: Unlocking the Whinlatters
unnoticed due to the grandeur of the peaks around them,
in the north west of the Lake District is a group of
hills to the north of the Whinlatter Pass. Paradoxically,
the most prominent is also the smallest- Barf, which
is recognised as the towering cliff above the old Swan
Hotel at the south east corner of Bassenthwaite Lake.
group comprises five Wainwrights that superficially
look as if they can be accommodated in one easy round.
Until, that is, you realise that the area is heavily
forested and access may be challenging. It is
Whinlatter itself that presents the problem- the other
four are in a convenient and not impeded line.
Bryan did the group, he concocted a rather convoluted
route to get in and out of Whinlatter before escaping
to tackle the remaining four. I was even contemplating
abandoning Whinlatter for another day and just doing
the four as an out and back from the Swan. Stan,
however, had different ideas and insisted that there
must be a way through the forest so I promised to do
more research. I found the solution thanks to
Sean McMahon's Striding
Edge website on
which he recorded his successful circuit. He obviously
went round on a somewhat better day than that which we
enjoyed and his photos are so good that it is tempting
to cease this report here and just direct readers to
his excellent photo diary!
parked at the Spout Force Car Park and set off up the
Forestry commission track up the little known Aiken
Valley. The weather was unexpectedly dry, albeit
becoming grey, which didnít detract from the autumn
colourings visually but sadly this is not carried through
to the photographs.
off up the Aiken Valley- Graystones on the left
and I were marching on rather too vigorously and we
had to be called back by Bryan who questioned when we
intended to actually climb the fell. We couldnít
initially identify the point at which Sean had branched
off, partly because what we saw on the map didnít translate
to what we saw on the ground due to the extent of tree
felling that has taken place over the years. With
a bit of to-ing and fro-ing and a rare check of the
gps we realised that we had gone a little too far and
should have climbed at the point at which the trees
ceased and the felling had started- rather obvious really
in hindsight. We decided therefore on the direttissimo
approach. It was hard work.
line of the ascent- Graystones behind
ground was not just steep but complicated with lots
of tree stumps to be negotiated between the clumps of
heather. Fortunately the hill is not huge and
the pain was soon behind us.
Aiken Valley, with Pete on the ascent. Broom Fell
and Lord's Seat behind
before Brown How summit, we discovered a well-trodden
path that had come up from somewhere in the direction
of the car. Clearly there is a better way up than
our brutal route!
from Brown How
the Whinlatter Top the choice was whether to take the
direct route to the forest corner, where we were confident
would lie a path through the dense plantation, or the
indirect route. Stan chose the former which meant
some descent and wading through bog. The rest
of us chose the longer route, which maintained height
and solid ground. It was a close call.
I discovered that my Garmin gps had switched itself off, something
it is prone to do. Thinking that batteries were the
problem, I was using a brand new set of the finest rechargeable
batteries fired up by a brand new top of the range charger.
But it still did it. Was it because I had put
it in the same pocket as my mobile phone and they had
interfered with each other? More research needed
but I switched it back on.
entering the forest, there was a path but, boy, was
it dark! Somehow, digital cameras are able to
see through the gloom and the photograph doesnít convey
the blackness into which we plunged to the accompaniment
of Stan singing the Teddy Bearís Picnic.
you go down to the woods today....
with Barf trying to hide in front
phase didnít last long and we soon reached a fairly
open trail. We had intended to take Barf before
Lordís Seat but missed the traverse due to the clarity
of the path we were on- judging by the volume of people,
it was part of the Whinlatter Visitor Centre Experience!
In hindsight, I think we made a better route this
the way down to Barf, Stan and I were again called to
order by Bryan. Pete, who had left Cheshire very
early to join us, was by now desperately hungry and
threatening to rebel so we sheltered out of a very cold
wind to take lunch.
Barf, Skiddaw behind
is an interesting little top with magnificent views
over Bassenthwaite Lake and, to a lesser extent, Derwent
across Bassenthwaite Lake from Barf
however, we were unable to see the Bishop of Bath or
his Clerk, which is a shame as I had planned to relate
the story. Well, why not!
Bishop of Barf is clearly visible from the A591. It
is a seven foot high, white painted stone. The
story is that in 1783, the Bishop of Derry drunkenly
waged that he could ride up the hill. However
the rock is as far as he got before falling from his
horse to his death. The Clerk is a smaller stone at
the base of the hill where reputedly, the Bishop and
his horse are buried.
you want to see photos- Sean
Seat from Barf
across Bassenthwaite Lakef
Barf we contoured round Lordís Seat to Todd Fell and
Broom Fell and then along the broad ridge down to Widow
Hause and up to Graystones.
down the Aiken Valley from Todd Fell
Fell cairn, solarized!
Widow Hause to Graystones
final descent is very steep but it was turning into
a lovely late afternoon so half way down we stopped
for a brew and to admire the view. A book has
just been published about the bridges of Cumbria. It
must surely include Scawgill Bridge.
view from the Graystones descent across to Whinlatter
and beyond to Grisedale Pike
we detoured to see Spout Force.
is a quite impressive waterfall but not
sufficiently so to light up the face of
the guy carrying a guitar- seemingly his
minstrel ways had not impressed his lady.
have commented ad nauseum in previous reports
about the beauty of the A591 and it lived
up to its reputation on the way home.
leaves me with just two things to say.
Thank You Sean for providing the key to
unlocking the Whinlatters. As he subsequently
said to me in an e-mail, "It's a nice
little round, that one."
secondly, to breath a sigh of relief that
what I came home to was rather less of a
shock than that of Stanís cousin when he
saw what was to be found
in his Jacuzzi!
then he does live in the U.S.A.!
22nd October 2009
If you want to comment on this report, click on
22nd October 2009
Lord's Seat, Barf,
Broom Fell, Graystones
Don, Pete, Stan
you have Memory Map on your computer, you can follow
our route in detail by downloading BB0934.
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!