BB1003 : A Snowy Equipment Test

Thursday 21st January 2010

It still comes as a surprise to open the curtains in the morning and see green rather than white.  It came as an even bigger surprise this morning to find out that it wasn't pouring down.  For days the forecast had predicted heavy rain all day for today.  Accordingly, we had planned an outing to Claife Heights where we could hide in the forests above Windermere and satisfy Stan's desire for some decent distance training in preparation for this year's That's Lyth long distance walk.

Now everything had changed.  It was to be a dry, possibly sunny at times but bitterly cold day.  Consequently, after the pick-up, there was a hurried consultation and a total change of plan, which caught Stan, a little the worse for wear from the previous evening's festivities, somewhat unprepared.

We parked at the end of the Dubbs Lane on the back road to Troutbeck with the intention of heading up to the Garburn Pass then returning over Sallows and Sour Howes.

The Dubbs Lane

Dubbs Reservoir traffic

There was a lot of traffic up the unmade road to the Dubbs Reservoir where clearly some major reconstruction was taking place.  

Dubbs Reservoir reparations

Beyond there, it was empty.  As we climbed up the Garburn Pass, there was a surprising amount of snow still lying on stretches of trail. On reaching the top, a decision was needed.  

Cut back to Sallows or carry on to Yoke?

Yoke was in mist but also in snow so we thought we would go at least part of the way but, if and when it got too bad, we could turn back.  In fact we didn't turn back.  

As we climbed, the drifted snow by the wall was still deep but in better condition than last week on BB1002.  It was generally much firmer but we still got caught out by the odd step that led to the leg disappearing up to the waist!

Stan finds a big hole!

A blocked gate

We took in Yoke and, as the mist wasn't too bad, decided to continue, past the dramatic views to the Kentmere valley, on to Ill Bell.

Bryan eyes the steep drop to Kentmere

Yoke from Ill Bell

Kentmere reservoir

Ill Bell from Froswick

There was more ice about so we decided to put on crampons.  Bryan put on his Grivel Spiders and Stan was hoping to put on my Grivel Spiders but sadly due to a misunderstanding between us, I had left them in my bootbag in the car.  Why wasn't I planning to wear them, having raved about them so much?  

Answer: because I have invested in a pair of Kahtoola MICROspikes from Rock + Run.  These are like snow chains for shoes, secured by a big red elastic band and providing 10 spikes for digging into ice.

Easier to put on and off than Grivel Spiders, they provide most of the grip under the ball of the foot plus a couple of spikes under the heel whereas the Spider's grip is entirely under the instep.  

This makes going up in Microspikes more secure and leads to a more natural walking action.

Kahtoola MICROspikes

They weren't severely tested today.  Nevertheless, it was very noticeable how much easier I found the steep ground than the normally very surefooted Stan who of course was unfortunately cramponless.  First impressions are very favourable.

However ............. the combination of taking my gloves off to fit the crampons and repeated taking my gloves off to try and capture the dramatic light on camera (and largely failing) meant that my hands had got very cold.  

Stan dramatically appears

Karrimor Handwarmers

Time for the second equipment test of the day. Field & Trek had had a special offer on Karrimor handwarmers and I had bought a job lot of them at a remarkable 99p a pair.  

But are they any good?

On the basis of today's test, the verdict is: definitely.  The packet opened easily, they warmed up reasonably quickly, didn't get too hot and, as I type this eight hours later, they are still glowing gently in my pocket.

At the price, these are certainly the best value handwarmers I have had.  

Of course, I had forgotten the golden rule of handwarmers which is to open them before you need them but even so I was very happy with the result.

Ill Bell summit

Comitibus: Ill Bell

After Ill Bell with its unusual cairns, we pressed on to Froswick with the sun making an appearance.  So, however, also did the wind.  It was strong and bitterly cold.  

Looking from Froswick to the motorway up to Thornthwaite Crag

We dropped down out of the worst of the wind to pick up the Roman Road back down to Troutbeck, stopping for lunch once out of the snow.

Lunch stop

Looking back up the long valley

This is a long valley and provided plenty of opportunity for three grumpy old men to put the world to rights before we cut back up at Limefitt to pick up the Longmire Road track back to the car.

Strangely there was a distinct difference in the distance shown on our GPSs.  

Bryan's said 13.2 miles whilst mine was showing a miserly 12.1 miles- a figure confirmed by Memory Map.  

Either way round, this plus the 2,706 feet of climbing made it significantly good training for Stan (and Bryan)'s big walk.

Sadly (!!!!) I will be away this time, on skiing duty with the BOOTSKIboys!

Ski Heil!

 Don, 21st January 2010


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Thursday 21st January 2010


12.1 miles

Height climbed:

2,706 feet


Yoke, Ill Bell, Froswick

Other Features:



Bryan, Don, Stan



If you have Memory Map on your computer, you can follow our route in detail by downloading BB1003.

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 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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2010 Outings

BB1001 :
The Most Perfect
 Winter Day
Thursday 7th January

BB1002 :
 Potter Fell
Thursday 14th January

BB1003 :
A Snowy Equipment Test

Thursday 21st January

BB1004 :
Leave It To The Professionals

Thursday 28th January

BB1005 :
That's A Lyth Record
Sunday 31st January 

BB1006 :
Reasons To Be Cheerful
One, Two, Three
Thursday 11th February

BB1007 :
Can You See Clearly Now?
Thursday 18th February

BB1008 :
In Memory Of
Thomas Williamson
Thursday 25th February

BB1009 :
Almost a Mountaineer!
Wednessday 3rd March

BB1010 :
The Beginning Of The End
Thursday 11th March

BB1011 :
The Free Men on Tuesday
Tuesday 16th March

BB1012 :
We'll Get Them In Singles,
Thursday 25th March

BB1013 :
The Fools on the Hill
Thursday 1st April




BSB2010 :
boys in Zillertal
Saturday 30th January
to Saturday 6th February





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!