BB1010 : The Beginning Of The End

Thursday 11th March 2010

Just imagine.  You wake up early on a beautiful clear day after a very cold night.  You go downstairs, look out the kitchen window and see that the sheets have been left on the washing line over night.  They have been frosted but the sun is belting down on them from a cloudless sky.  What do you do?  

Think how nice, they will soon be dry again and will have that delightful fresh air country smell on them?


A beautiful frosty morning is an invitation to a farmer to indulge his favourite past time: muck spreading.

Sure enough, I looked into the field and there was the spreading machine just about to fire up.  That unforgettable, real country smell would be unleashed in no time at all. Fortunately, even I can now identify when it is the right time to bring in the washing in such circumstances. As quickly as possible!

The beauty of the morning lasted through our drive down the Langdale Valley, past several farms where like minded farmers were in action, to the Old Dungeon Ghyll car park and continued part way up the long walk-in that is Mickleden.  Then, sadly, it started to cloud over somewhat.

Oxendale to the left, Mickleden to the right, Crinkles and Bowfell behind

Our first objective was Angle Tarn via Rossett Gill.  I havenít been up that way since school days but have been down it in recent times (BB0931 being the most recent) and seen many folk struggling up what seemed a steep and arduous path.  

Hang on.  Isn't that more or less what I said last week (BB1009) about the Coniston Old Man tourist route?  

Yes, but even truer!  And longer!

Reaching the snow line on Rossett Gill

Tony in snow

Looking back down to Langdale

Angle Tarn was well above the snow line.  Frozen, you could see footprints where some brave or foolish person had ventured across the water. No chance for Graham, had he with us today, to go skinny dipping as he did on BB0407

Stan found us a good shelter from the cold wind and just as we settled down for lunch, the sun came out once more.  

The scenery was stunning, with Bowfell's Hanging Knotts and Esk Pike across the tarn and Great End peeping above Esk Hause.  Bryan declared it the finest lunch stop in BOOTboys history.  Sadly the sunshine didnít last.

Angle Tarn, Hanging Knotts, behind

Comitibus: Angle Tarn

For once, we had different agendas post lunch.  

Stan had been champing at the proverbial bit to get back on the Wainwright trail so that he and I can achieve our objective of finishing them off as soon as possible.   It is over four months since we last made inroads into the outstanding list (BB0935), reducing the deficit to 38, and he was anxious to take advantage of the conditions and bag Great End.

Indeed, so was I once I realised that it need not be thought of as just the end of the Scafell Pike ridge but a mountain in its own right.  In fact, not just any old mountain, but, at 2,986 feet, Englandís fifth highest.

Great End peeps over Esk Hause

Langdale and Rossett Pike from Esk Hause

Tony has been struggling a bit this year with a leg injury and despite the close attention of Chantelle and Tracy to his calf and thigh muscles, he had found the going challenging. Bryan didnít need Great End so offered to keep Tony company whilst Stan and I did a quick up and down of our target.

It was quite hard going up in the deep crusty topped snow.  However there were splendid views over to Scafell and also the panorama round from Gable to Skiddaw.  

Great End from Esk Hause

Bowfell and Crinkle Crags to the left, Scafells to the right

Scafells and the coast

Gables and round to Skiddaw


Coming down was fun- galloping down across a virgin snowfield.

On returning to Angle Tarn we were puzzled to find Tony in front of us but Bryan behind.

Having taken Tony as far as Tongue Head, Bryan had sent him back the way he had come whilst he had a brief exploration of Ore Gap- a not recommended way down from Bowfell- and then on a bit so that he could see the Scafells behind Esk Pike.

The avalanche

En-route, they had witnessed the aftermath of a small avalanche.  Bryan said:

It was just above the point where Tony and I stopped (Tongue Head) before he turned back and I went up Ore Gap.

It came from a small corrie which has a stream coming from it - Grid reference 238 077.

Judging by the consistency of the snow I would think the avalanche had probably occured 2 or 3 days ago (the top layer had melted and frozen after settling).

Scafells behind Esk Pike from near Ore Gap

Reunited, we made our way back down the long, steep drop down Rossett Gill and the long walk-out of Mickleden.  There was an unusual view of Pike o'Blisco and Cold Pike with a semi circle of sheep in the foreground.  We reached the Old Dungeon Gill car park rather later than we had anticipated.

The Mickleden walk-out

Pike o'Blisco, Cold Pike and the sheep semicircle

Stan and I are back on track at last.  Great End was not just an End in its own right. With only 37 left to complete, it represents for us, to reverse that Churchillian phrase, not the End, nor the End of the Beginning but the Beginning of the End.  

The End is in sight.

The End is nigh!  

Letís just hope that it Ends Well with All Wel!  

The End.

 Don, 11th March 2010

PS Are there any one legged men out there in need of a crampon?  Tony lost one of his near Angle Tarn so is now in a position to offer the remainder to any mono interested in going out on ice.


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11th March 2010

Distance in miles:

Don & Stan: 10.3 Bryan: 9.6, Tony: 8.2

Height climbed in feet:

Don & Stan: 3,123 Bryan: 2,823, Tony: 2,216

Wainwrights :

Great End


Bryan, Don, Stan, Tony

If you have Memory Map on your computer, you can follow our route in detail by downloading BB1010.

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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Home Page










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!