The Free Men on Tuesday
16th March 2010
pay good money for a drive like that. A seven
lake tour of Cumbria- Windermere, Rydal Water, Grasmere,
Thirlmere, Derwent Water, Buttermere and Crummock Water.
Plus views out to Loweswater and maybe a hint of Bassenthwate
on the way. But we were on a mission, hence the
unsual day, the long drive and the early start whilst
the hills were still shrouded in mist. If all
went to plan, Stan and I would finish the North Western
Fells, leaving only 32 more Wainwrights to be conquered.
putting on boots by Cinderdale Beck, Grasmoor behind.
by Cinderdale Beck was free! Thank you National
Trust! With Bryan completing the trio, we set
off north along the road before branching north east
by Liza Beck, first to tackle Whin Ben.
along by Crummock Water, Mellbreak behind.
from Crummock Water
Whin Ben to the right
a B of a climb said Bryan as he skipped off at a tremendous
speed. He was right but it didnít seem to hold
him up. He was like a dog unleashed. Stan
and I plodded on in his wake. After the Ben, it
seemed, if anything, steeper. It was that awkward
slope- not quite a scramble but steep enough to warrant
the hand touching the ground, monkey fashion.
Gill, Hopegill Head in the distance, Grasmoor to the
right, Whiteside to the left
front of us we spotted a man in a blue anorak. He
had to be reeled in and this was achieved just before
the summit. It came as a disappointment to discover
he was even older than us. There is no glory in
overtaking 68 year olds!
we emerged onto the relatively flat top of Whiteside
which was just emerging from the morning mist. Objective
number one secured.
we had to make our way to Hopegill Head and the terrain
came as a bit of a shock. The snow was mostly gone but
there was a very sharp ridge to be negotiated. There
were two choices- the rock along the top of the ridge-
a bit greasy in parts with a very steep drop to the
right- or the path a little lower on the north side.
This was still icy and had a very steep drop to
the left. We chose the ridge. Actually,
it was more dramatic than it was dangerous and, to me
at least, quite unexpected. Clearly I had not
done my homework!
on the edge towards Hopegill Headl
back to Whiteside
Hopegill Head ( a Wainwright we had visited on BB0613)
we dropped down to Coledale Hause then swung right to
tackle objective number two- Grasmoor.
ridge from Crag Hiill to Sail and Causey Pike,
Hause, Grasmoor to the right
set off direttissimo. Stan was moaning bucketfuls
as to why he had to head straight up steep grass when
there was a perfectly good path just a bit further on.
Bearing in mind some of the routes Stan has taken me
in the past (do you remember Gardinerís Grind BB0603?),
it seemed to me a case of pot and kettle. Bryan
obviously being the kettle as he steamed up the hill
at ridiculous speed.
start of the direttissimo to Grasmoor
had been covered in cloud but was now out of the mist
although there was a very cold breeze blowing. There
is a large shelter at the top but only one section was
out of the wind and it was occupied. Bryan and
I surveyed the scenery. It was difficult to resist
the temptation to keep taking multiple photographs.
Meanwhile, Stan hovered, like in a crowded café
until the elderly couple in the shelter took the hint
and left, leaving us to have first lunch in peace. Just
before we left a young couple arrived and asked our
advice for a safe way down. Our paths would cross
several times in the rest of the day.
Water, Buttermere to the left, from Grasmoor
number three was Wandope and, as the sun was now well
out, it was just about warm enough for a team picture
at the top. The trouble was that to position the
team correctly for the sun meant that the subjects had
to hover over a very steep drop. Stan and Bryan kindly
left room in the middle for me to dive into whilst the
timer counted down. Hence the strange position!
of Fells towards Helvellyn
those Fells! Looking towards Gable and Scafells
Whiteless Edge we overtook the young couple who had
bypassed Wandope. After securing objective number
four, Whiteless Pike, we descended most of the way down
Whiteless Breast before stopping for second lunch. Whilst
Bryan was debating which way he would return to the
car (he is saving Rannerdale Knotts for his final extravaganza
of one from every book, reached by bike) the couple
passed us once more.
Knotts, Crummock Water and Lowes Water
Stan the Pot set off direttissimo down the hill when
there is a perfectly good path just a bit further on.
We reached the bottom just as the couple arrived.
She accused us of cheating! We then went
direttissimo up the side of the hill for a short distance
before gaining the ridge path along Low Bank. Rannerdale
Knotts is a fine, small hill but, approached from this
direction, a bit of a tease! It has a series of
rocky, scrambly false summits. Each one you climb,
excited to have topped out only find there is another
and yet another. Eventually we reached the final
summit where Stan and I shook hands to celebrate the
fifth Wainwright bag of the day and the completion of
the North Western Fells.
Pike from Rannerdale Knotts
way off is very steep but some kind sole has put in
steps. That is all very well and they may work
satisfactorily on the way up, but if designed for descent,
they must be intended for boots no bigger than a size
5. It made for an awkward drop to the lake where
we met up with Bryan. He had walked down Squat
Beck with the young couple and discovered that they
had come from Manchester way which, when he told us,
led Stan and me to debate the origins of the song:
a rambler, I'm a rambler from Manchester way,
get all me pleasure the hard moorland way,
may be a wage slave on Monday,
I am a free man on Sunday.
couldnít remember if it was the Oldham Tinkers or the
Houghton Weavers. I can now reveal that it was actually
written by Ewen MacColl to celebrate the Kinder Trespass
which led to the Pennine Way and the opening up of much
of the countryside. And it might have been Mike
Harding whom we heard singing it many years ago.
can read more and hear Mike Harding singing the song
Fleetwith Pike on the drive home
to Crummock Wwater
the way back we couldnít help but reflect how lucky
we were to have been able to get out today, to complete
an excellent round of Grasmoor in weather that just
got better and better, culminating in a glorious drive
back home past Crummock Water and Buttermere, over the
Honister pass, along Derwent Water then down the A591,
about which I have often waxed lyrical.
other words, to be a Free Man on Tuesday.
16th March 2010
from my brother, Alan:
I recall it was Mike Harding who sang that song. When
Debenhams was being built in Princes Street Stockport,
before the public were let in and the place was being
commissioned, an altogether much ruder version of the
song was broadcast over the P.A. system. I thought it
sounded like MH but I couldn't be certain.
from Steve "Manchester born and bred" G:
did this same walk starting from Cinderdale with a friend
during Keswick Fest Week May 2008.
early steep ascent was a bit of a killer for us but
I managed the round to complete the NW fells - as you
in the day we descended to Wandope Moss
and headed over towards Whiteless Edge.
It started to rain as we approached the
base of Wandope with the sound of thunder
to the NE . We were then caught with the
tail- enders of a fell run who were heading
to the safety of Buttermere.
later found out a lightning strike caused
a fire on the slopes of Grisedale Pike.
CMR and KMR were both called out- see pic!
particularly remember the bluebells were all out in
Rannerdale and made a pretty sight. I expect it'll be
June by the time they're out this year. Brr!
does a particularly good version of the Manchester Rambler
I now think that the version of the Manchester Rambler
that I remember is that of The
C explained that he read the latest exploit
"bringing a taste of the fells to the Smoke"
during an interminable conference call (obviously not
a video conference). I responded that I was glad
that we free men could do something to brighten the
lives of those who are still wage slaves and was promptly
admonished for rubbing it in!
B reported a spamchecker problem:
might have to be more careful with your subject wording
Ė you ended up in my Junk Mail with the Viagra and hot
wives etc. Free Men might have something to do
W thought the problem might have been the use of
the words "epic outing"!
I once had a similar problem concerning an e-mail about
small green birds. As it involved the Royal Society
for the Protection of Birds and a photograph of Great
Tits, it seemed a bit presumptive of the spam checker!
of which and of epic outings, John S reminded me that on Wednesday
it was thirty seven years to the day since Big Josie exposed her
"Junoesque Jugs to us innocent lads."
He added "I was only thirty-one back then.
You must have been all of six!" If only!
If you want to comment on this report, click on
& Stan: 9.8 Bryan: 10.2
climbed in feet:
& Stan: 3,789 Bryan: 3,631
Hopegill Head, Grasmoor, Wandope, Whiteless
Pike, Rannerdale Knotts
& Stan: 32 Bryan:
you have Memory Map on your computer, you can follow
our route in detail by downloading BB1011.
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!