: Snowcumabulating Potter Fell
14th January 2010
was to be my first outing of the year. The long
range planning started excitedly. A fine day was
in prospect and Helvellyn in the snow seemed a glorious
opportunity. The level of ambition was then lowered
a little to Fairfield. Then, as the forecast deteriorated
with the warning "The combination of wind, cloud and
spindrift make virtual, or actual, white-outs so excellent navigational skills
the day itself, after yet another overnight snowfall
plus lingering mist, things were looking bleak. Let's
just go to Staveley, suggested Stan, and see what we
can do from there. Let's just stay at home for
the day and see what we can do there, said Tony. So
we did the former and Tony the latter.
first challenge was to get up the hill to Stan's house.
Easy Peasy. I have to say that I have been
really impressed with my Subaru Forrester over the last
month. Where other vehicles have seriously struggled,
it has never let me down.
was tempted to press on up Kentmere valley but Stan
wisely suggested we park just at Barley Bridge and head
up toward Potter Fell.
my usual indecision, I had thrown enough gear into the
back of the car to equip a small army, provided they
were all marching in different conditions. I chose
the snowboarder jacket and normal leather boots in anticipation
of soft snow but with
back-up Grivel Spiders in the sac, just in case. What a good decision
not to wear the very heavy mountain boots with full
crampons. Perhaps it was their weight that had slowed
me down so much last time out and not the post Christmas
fresh snow provided easy walking up the lane to Brunt
Knott Farm, where sensible diversification into holiday
cottages was quite evident although I doubt if there
were any guests there today. Beyond the farm,
it was another matter and the snow quickly became quite
deep. As we neared the top of the pass over to Longsleddale
we were sinking in and it was hard going. Stan
likened it to football training where you jump in and
out of the rubber tyres. But the tyres are all
the same thickness whereas up here you could find yourself
holding on the crust, or sinking in up to your knees.
Occasionally even worse. Stan complained
about me taking his photo that made his legs look shorter
as they were short enough already.
short legged Stan
left the path (although there was no sign of a path
or even any human footprints by now- just fox trails,
some very recent judging by the smell) and followed
the wall that runs by the summit of Potter Fell. if
you thought conditions under foot were bad before, they
got considerably worse up here. It was very deep
snow and extremely slow going. Visibility was poor and
I was having the same trouble as I do when skiing in
not being able to read the terrain, thanks to steamed
reckons that one mile in these condition is worth three
on a normal day. I think that's an underestimate!
didn't bother trying to find the actual top. We've
done it before (in thick mist- BB0633 Potter
and were more interested in getting down to Gurnal Dubbs
and finding a nice spot for lunch. Eventually
we came to the track down to the Dubbs.
Dubbs comes into view
its appearance today with that less than two months
ago on BB0937.
back over Gurnal Dubbs
hoped that the Lord Lieutenant might be
throwing a party at his boat house and invite
us in for a hot toddy but no such luck.
In fact, surprisingly, there was no
sign of anybody having been in the area
for a long time.
and in need of shelter for a rest, there
was nowhere suitable here so we pressed
on down to Potter Tarn and beyond to the
very lonely Birk Field. I remember
looking at the house when it was for sale
maybe forty years ago and thinking
what an idyllic position in the summer but
a nightmare in winter.
near Potter Tarn
reaching what passes for a road there was a pile of
long dead sheep. Maybe this was where the foxes
had been heading?
eventually found some rocks on which to sit and enjoy
a late lunch. Tony would have faded away by now,
it was gone 2 p.m.!
we dropped down to the back road to Staveley, passing
en-route a dramatic building conversion with a commanding
view over the village, to emerge at back at Barley Bridge
and the car.
comes into view
grand view over Staveley
was only 6.7 miles but, using Stan's formula, it equated
to 20. It felt like it!
14th January 2010
If you want to comment on this report, click on
14th January 2010
you have Memory Map on your computer, you can follow
our route in detail by downloading BB1002.
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.
Thursday 14th January
A Snowy Equipment Test
Thursday 21st January
Leave It To The Professionals
Thursday 28th January
That's A Lyth Record
Reasons To Be Cheerful
One, Two, Three
Thursday 11th February
Can You See Clearly Now?
Thursday 18th February
In Memory Of
Almost a Mountaineer!
The Beginning Of The End
Thursday 11th March
The Free Men on Tuesday
We'll Get Them In Singles,
The Fools on the Hill
Saturday 30th January
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!