: Back to the Beginning
13th August 2009
I retired from work I decided to start another
round of the Wainwright tops to provide
a bit of focus to my hill wanderings. Last
outing to Harter Fell (BB0924)
and Green Crag has left me with 9 W's to
have deliberately left one 'W' from each
book. The reason for this will (weather
and fitness allowing) become clear later
therefore needed to finish off the other
2 (Whin Rigg and Illgill Head).
forecast looked good for Thursday so my wife and I booked
into the Bowerhouse Inn in Eskdale the night before,
a place we had supped in many years ago but never stayed.
holds many memories for us. My first real
introduction to the mountains happened there
in late October 1970.
the time I lived in York and was working
were still very much influenced by the Quaker
traditions of the founding family and thought
a lot about the needs of their employees.
of the things they did was to send one boy
and one girl each year to the Outward Bound
some unknown reason I applied to go. More
amazingly I was accepted and was sent for
a month to the centre in Eskdale.
changed my life.
that point on I was hooked on mountains. Liz and I started
holidaying in the Lakes, as often as possible in Eskdale,
and we grew to love the valley.
passing the entrance to the OB school on many occasions
I had never been inside since, assuming it would have
changed beyond all recognition and would somehow spoil
A patrol which was split by a violent North
and South battle. They had a reputation
had the notorious "Dylan" who
evoked roars of alughter whenever he appeared
in public. Admittedly they won nothing,
but this was not their fault, it was just
that all the instructors were against them.
the one thing they were good at was saying
notiing whilst enduring manfully the cold
shower. However this was only because
you got out quicker that way.
Wishes to Toddy who was always there when
Rep Bry Hardaker
on Wednesday evening Liz talked me into
going in. We found our way into the reception
room and I explained to the girl that I'd
been there 40 years previously and could
I have a look around.
pointed to a set of books on a shelf behind
her and said "Do you want to have a look
for your photo?"
a little searching I found it. Liz though
was looking at the report underneath.
was signed by me!
seems even then I had assumed control and
been appointed Patrol Rep - a fact I had
no memory of whatsoever! It would also seem
that even then I had a "North v South" fixation!
lady very kindly did me a photocopy.
then had a wander around the grounds. There
was the lake where I'd had to capsize a
canoe in the freezing water - quite daunting
as I was not a swimmer. When asked at application
time whether I could swim a length I said
yes. They didn't ask me how many times I
had to hold the side on the way!
were the trees with the rope courses. The crags where
we learnt to climb and abseil in the days when 'tying
on' meant wrapping the rope around your middle and
when you fell it nearly sliced you in half - so don't
fall was the lesson!
Sadly I hadn't take my camera
along so another visit will be needed in future.
dawned sunny and clear and following a full
English breakfast we set off from the Bower
House. The early part of the route was on
tarmac past the old mill on the River Mite
before turning uphill into the lovely woodland
of the Mitredale Forest.
steady climb eventually brought us out onto
the open fell. The views now opened out
with the seaward view being particularly
impressive. The Isle of Man was clearly
visible and only Calder Hall intruded on
the sweep of remote coastal scenery.
Hall and the Isle of Man from Whin Fell
interest for us now turned to the ridge towards Whin
Rigg. We climbed steadily past the great gash of Greathall
Gill before reaching the summit. The views down Wasdale
towards those magical Lakeland summits that make up
the logo for the National Park were stunning.
high ground between Whin Rigg and Illgill Head sits
above the dramatic scree slopes that drop almost vertically
into Wast Water, so our walk between the 2 hills constantly
veered from the path to look down the sheer drop to
the lake below.
I looked down. Liz was happy to take my word for it
that the views were stunning!
down to the scree
we reached the top of Illgill Head where we saw a group
tying bits of bamboo together. The evening before we'd
seen similar pieces of bamboo being trussed up by people
in the grounds of the Outward Bound, so we were not
surprised to find that they were indeed from the OB.
Their task was to construct a 20ft flagpole and raise
the flag. We decided to have lunch and watch the progress.
to raise the pole
the flag - at half mast!
was also amazed to find that the instructor lives in
Kendal and travels to Eskdale to work each week.
it beats travelling to London!
was beginning to close in a bit so we took
a quick team photo before beginning the
descent to Burnmoor Tarn.
was a pretty steep, but grassy, descent
which took some time as Liz was finding
the going difficult.
well as some loss of confidence following
her broken arm earlier this year, she was
also having problems with pain in her neck.
she gritted her teeth and battled on.
Photo with Great Gable and Scafell
Tarn sits in a marshy hollow between the Whin Rigg ridge
and the steep slopes rising to Scafell. We went around
it to pick up the path by the side of Whillan Beck.
In front of us we could see Harter Fell and Green Crag,
our tops from the previous week.
Fell and Green Crag from Burnmoor Tarn
bit of careless navigation on my part took
us a bit below the path we needed (I blamed
it on the diversion we had to make around
the cows and calves!) but we were soon back
on track and heading down the delightful
trail which brought us into Boot.
a much changed Boot it was too.
one thing the Burnmoor Inn is no more.
It's now called the Boot Inn and no longer
looks the sort of place that would have
as a landlady!
we didn't have time to check it out as we had a train
former Burnmoor Inn
on the train home
a splendid day ended with the train ride to Irton Road
to collect the car and a drive home across the passes
before a final stop for fish and chips in Ambleside.
Bryan, Les and Ruth, Harter Fell 1972
final personal thought to finish on.
trip also brought back happy memories of
holidays spent with the Les and Linda Beavis
(and daughter Ruth when she arrived).
Les passed away - far too soon - a year
ago this week, so he was not far from our
thoughts as we wandered amongst his favourite
Fell still looks good from Boot, Les!
13th August 2009
If you want to comment on this report, click on
13th August 2009
Rigg, Illgill Head
you have Memory Map on your computer, you can follow
our route in detail by downloading BH0901.
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 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!
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
: Back to the Beginning
: BOOTskiboys in Saalbach
- 21st March
: Los Chicos
y las Chicas de la Bota
11th - 14th May
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!