: By Lake, Ridge and Wainwright
11th April 2010
was 5:45 a.m. when the alarm went off - a time of day
you forget exists once you become a pensioner! What
you also forget is how pleasant it is to be out at that
time. I walked to the main road where Stan was due to
collect me. Kendal was silent, the only sound being
the birdsong. The sun had just risen and was trying
to break through the thin cloud cover. Ahead lay the
prospect of a big day in the hills. Life seemed pretty
and I were on our way to Rosthwaite in Borrowdale for
the start (at 8 a.m.!) of the Lake Ridge and Wainwright
Challenge walk organised by the LDWA (Long Distance
Walkers Association). The route is officially described
as 23.5 miles long and has no less than 7,750 feet of
ascent / descent amongst some of Lakelandís finest scenery.
It was co-founded by several members of the group, and
poignantly one of those members, Eileen Knopfel, died
in 2009. So they decided it would be a fitting
tribute to re-run it in her memory, and by doing so
raise some well deserved funds for CancerCare.
unsuccessfully scouring the centre of Keswick looking
for a newsagent that was open so Stan could get a Sunday
paper, we arrived at the event car park 20 minute before
the start. An urgent call of nature for Stan used up
most of this spare time and within minutes of registering
we were off, along with the 60 or so other walkers.
And so, almost immediately, began the first big climb
of the day to the top of High Spy - 2,000 feet of it.
Gathering for the start
Already trailing at the back!
failure to check the weather forecast (or even Stan's
e-mail warning me of the weather forecast) resulted
in me making a disastrous equipment choice. I was wearing
a pair of shower-proof walking trousers so as not to
have to carry any overtrousers. Bad choice I realised
as I began to sweat profusely on the climb. I managed
to solve the problem to some extent later in the day
by rolling my trouser legs to just below the knees a
la Monty Python. It would have been better to have had
Stan's choice - shorts; but it's only a few weeks since
the snow went and I've not adjusted mentally to the
fact that it's warm!
apart, I was climbing pretty well and we reached the
summit in just over the hour. Having gained all this
height though, we now faced the prospect of losing it
all again as we descended the ridge towards the Newlands
valley. It was a a pleasant descent, picking our way
on good lines on grass to avoid the rockier path, with
wonderful views over Derwent Water and to Keswick and
the Northern Fells.
way down the first runners, who had started at 8:30,
passed us. Stan's son Martin was amongst them, getting
some mileage in before tackling the Scottish Islands
Peaks race. Stan and I found it quite hard to stop ourselves
tagging on and trotting along with them (and it has
to be said on a couple of occasions we did, and were
pleased to find that we could actually keep up!)
Runners passing on descent from High Spy
Checkpoint 1 in sight below ridge
first Checkpoint at Low Snab farm was a welcome break
- a sit down, couple of cups of orange and a jam doughnut.
What was less welcome was that we had to start climbing
back up again. And not just a gentle climb. The first
600 foot or so were viciously steep. Our target was
the summit of Hindscarth. The sun was out by now and
it was a lovely day, with barely a breath of wind. We
plodded steadily on and finally reached the top after
another 2,000 feet of climb from the valley and a little
over 3 hours after leaving Borrowdale. We felt quite
pleased with ourselves.
Stan on the climb of Hindscarth
View from Hindscarth towards High Spy
to our left was a high ridge linking Hindscarth to Dale
Head. It's only a mile and 200 feet or so from one to
the other and it was on our route. However today we
were going to have to do another 12 miles and almost
4,000 feet of climbing to get there! I could picture
Tony and Pete questioning, in no uncertain terms, our
sanity had they been there!
Stan nearing the top of Hindscarth
Dale Head + Honister Pass - leave them for later?
to Stan and me it seemed perfectly sensible. We just
wanted to have a nice long day! So we turned right and
headed along the connecting ridge that leads to the
summit of Robinson. This is a special top for me as
it was the final one on my 1989 Bob Graham Round, so
it was nice to be up there again on a 'big day out'.
as is the way with this walk we weren't about to be
allowed to stay up high. Instead we set off after 3
young lady runners on the descent to Buttermere. We
kept up with them for a while until we chose to take
a different line across Buttermere Moss. We would like
to think that we left them behind at this point, but
it seems unlikely!
On the way down to Buttermere
At last a few miles on the level
found the second Checkpoint of the day in Buttermere
village hall and were delighted to find that there was
hot cups of tea, cakes, sandwiches, and bowls of fruit
and rice pudding to fuel us up for the next stage. We
chose to make the most of it and settled down for almost
half an hour. But all good things must come to an end,
so we joined the hordes of day trippers and walked down
to the lake. The next few miles along the lakeshore
were a pleasant break from all the ups and downs, but
the climbing had to start again and this time it was
up to Scarth Gap, the pass between Buttermere and Ennerdale.
on there we began the lovely scrambly climb to the top
of Haystacks. There must have been 20 or 30 people on
the summit and I had to push my way through the throng
to perform the traditional 'touching of the cairn'.
We were quickly away and on to Innominate Tarn, famed
as the place Wainwright wanted his ashes scattering
because it was so peaceful. Not today though. Families
were happily paddling in the tarn, with associated dogs
having a swim. An opportunity for us though to ask someone
to take the Comitibus photo.
On the climb towards Haystacks
Comitibus: Innominate Tarn
there it was a steady trek across the quarry workings
to Honister Hause and the final checkpoint. There was
a cut off time of 4:30 at this checkpoint and we reached
there comfortably within that. But it seemed to us likely
that quite a few people wouldn't make it. My neighbour,
who was helping at the event and had fed us at Checkpoint
1 and again at the finish, confirmed it the following
day. She said the last person had reached Rosthwaite
at 7:30 and that anyone reaching Honister after 4:30
that wanted to continue was sent on the alternative
route (which I imagine was straight down the pass rather
than over the tops).
for us it was a quick drink and piece of cake and we
were off again on the final 1300 feet of climb to the
top of Dale Head.
we climbed discussion turned again to the Bob Graham.
We both remembered this as being a tedious climb following
a fence with nothing in the way of views, and undulating
in such a way that you kept thinking you had reached
to top of the ridge.
for me it had also been a turning point. I had been
losing time on my schedule and was becoming ever more
doubtful of my ability to claw it back so as to finish
within the 24 hours. Iíd already done 62 miles and 26,000
feet, and was facing another 12miles / 2150 feet with
only 3 hours left. But as I climbed Dale Head that day
I suddenly felt really strong and all doubts disappeared.
I finished with 15 minutes to spare.
that was insanity!! Today was just an old manís version
Nearing the top of the Dale Head climb
ridge to Hindscarth & Robinson
time we reached the top fairly easily and headed off
eastwards taking a grassy line down towards Dalehead
Tarn. Here we passed a group of mountain bikers, although
mountain bike carriers would be a more accurate description.
We pondered over why, given the boom in mountain biking
in recent years, the numbers of riders we encounter
on the hills seems to be much less than when the sport
we said hello and pressed on to start our final descent
down the gully we had ascended at the start of the day.
We had a chat to a walker from Liverpool whose mate
had decided to retire at Honister, although given he
wasn't at the finish when we arrived it's possible he
didn't retire completely but took the 'alternative route'
rather than hang around for a lift.
Mountain bike carriers at Dalehead Tarn
Nearing the end
slight, unintended, diversion near the end meant we
had to cross the river via the stepping stones rather
than the bridge but we skipped across and reached the
village hall 9 hours 36 minutes after we started.
A nice cup of tea to finish a great day
both agreed that it had been a splendid day out. There
is something really satisfying about a long day in hills,
particularly when the weather is as good as on Sunday.
We look forward to other BOOTboys joining us next year!
11th April 2010
What Bryan and Stan didn't realise until much
later was that Stan's son, Martin, failed to finish.
Something to do with his feet having got wet.
A result that gave Stan a certain amount of unfatherly
satisfaction and and the fact that his old man out performed him
caused Martin a degree of ribbing from
his friends. Another
victory for the tortoise over the hare!
If you want to comment on this report, click on
climbed in feet:
Spy, Maiden Moor, Hindscarth, Robinson,
Haystacks, Dale Head
& Stan: 31 Bryan:
7 (all unchanged)
you have Memory Map on your computer, you can follow
our route in detail by downloading BB1015.
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
The Windmills on the Moor
By Lake, Ridge and Wainwright
The Ten Lake Tour (+5Ws)
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!