: The Mile High Club
27th May 2010
I joined the Mile High Club. Stanís been there
many times before, including once this year, but for
me it was a new experience.
a.m. is a lovely time of day. Normally, I am not
very good at getting up so early but, when I do, I wonder
why I donít do it more often. Everywhere is so
fresh and with the mist lifting, rhododendrons in full
bloom and little traffic on the roads, it was a grand
time to drive across Lakeland. Which is how Stan
and I were able to set foot on trail at Gatesgarth before
8 a.m. today.
were unashamedly Wainwright bagging, determined to bring
the outstanding total down into the teens. Our
aim: the ridge of peaks to the west of Buttermere. It
was intended to be a big day. Just how big remained
to be seen, partly dependent on which prediction would
prove the more accurate about the incoming rain- the
Mountain Weather Information Service or the Met Office
back to Fleetwith Pike, Haystacks and High Crag
started with a gentle stroll along the west
side of the lake, through fields and woods,
listening to this year's first cuckoo.
one week later than last year (BB0916),
weeks later than 2006 (BB0610)
five weeks later than in 2005 (BB0508).
there a trend emerging?
reaching Crummock Water, we bore left in the direction
the tallest waterfall in the lake district.
had been my plan to climb onto the fell by the Scale
Beck path but Stan had other ideas. Being more
adventurous than I am, he found on the map an unpathed
route that would avoid us having to backtrack along
across Crummock Water
headed up the valley toward Floutern Tarn but before
it came into sight, turned south up by the side of Red
Gill, then on to Floutern Crag.
here to the summit was a steep and unrelenting grassy
slope. Time to dig deep and switch on the climbing
song in my brain- Guide Me O Thou Great Redeemer- and
coordinate my breathing and footsteps to the tune of
Cum Rhonnda. It worked, as it generally does,
and we arrived at the summit of our first Wainwright
of the day- Great Borne. Had it not, there was
a tiny shepherd's shelter part way up in which we could
Dodd and Red Pike from Great Borne
was a simple down and up to number two- Starling Dodd,
although it was unseasonably cold.
Dodd sumiit carins
Pike summit cairns
back to Ennerdale Water and Great Borne from Starling
likewise to Red Pike (number three), Here we
saw the first folk we had seen in four hours.
Water from Red Pike
Stile from Red Pike
past the steep drop to Bleaberry Tarn, across
rockier terrain to High Stile.
The mist was swirling around and for a while
it seemed as if it might disappear, but
fortunately it cleared as we approached.
Not only was High Stile number four, for
Stan it was of particular psychological
significance as now we were down into the
the dramatic drops to Burtness Comb, number
five was High Crag.
back to Red Pike from High Stile
Burtness Combe to High Crag from High Stile
survived the scree on the far side of High Crag, we
had a decision to make. The logical route to continue
the ridge was over Haystacks, which we did not need
having been there on BB0732.
But that meant unnecessary climbing. An
alternative, if we had the legs to carry on, was to
drop down someway to Warnscale Bottom then traverse
across to meet the path that leads over to Honistor
and then return by number six- Fleetwith Pike. Or
if we had had enough, we could just call it a day.
and Fleetwith Pike from High Crag
weather had improved (congratulations MWIS) and we were
both going well so opting out was rejected in favour
of the traverse. However, it soon became clear
that the amount of height we would need to lose in order
to bypass Green Crag was too much. Instead we did a
high level traverse along a sheep trod around a small
bump called Seat, thereby possible saving a bit of climbing
before rejoining the path to Haystacks.
back to Seat and Red Pike from Haystacks
the first time I have been up Haystacks from this direction
and it is an enjoyable, easy scramble if a bit frustrating
with its false summits. Near the real summit Stan
made a beeline for a cosy lunch spot that he knew ,only
to find it full of youths enjoying strange smelling
smokes and a lot of giggling! On we pressed, past
Innonminate and several other small, unnamed tarns.
I was almost beyond hunger by now- we had been
going for almost six continuous hours with no breaks
other than photo or comfort stops. I think Stan
was getting his revenge for what I put him through on
where I made him wait fifteen miles before eating. Eventually,
we halted at the head of the Black Beck gully.
unnamed tarn near Haystacks summit
view of Buttermere and Crummock Water
lunch, we were heading towards the Hopper
Quarry when I discovered that I had no glove
on my left hand.
check of my pockets and rucksack failed
to produce it.
remembered taking it off so I could open
my flask. But by now I was too bushed
to go back and look for it.
found new energy and led the charge up Fleetwith
I, too, thought I had renewed strength.
But the descent proved that to be a myth.
view from Fleetwith Pike; High Crag and High Stile to
the left of Buttermere
have to say that coming down the Fleetwith
Pike nose is probably the most dramatic
descent on which I have ever been. There
are steep drops on both sides and a spectacular
panorama of hills and lakes ahead and around. You
can see the path picking a careful way for
twenty or thirty yards in front of you and
then it disappears, seemingly over a cliff,
only to reappear much lower. You get
to the cliff edge with some apprehension
only to discover the path picking a careful
way for twenty or thirty yards in front
of you before disappearing over another
cliff. This process is repeated many
Fleetwith Pike descent
you legs are working fine, it must be a joy to come
down. Unfortunately mine had had enough and protested
as much all the way down until we reached the car. Nevertheless,
it was a memorable descent for good as well as bad reasons.
Pike nose, as seen that morning
hadn't seemed to have had such problems. After
making a new friend at the farm, he pointed out a white
cross on the hill near the path we had just come down.
I don't know whom it commemorates but I'm not
Fleetwith Pike cross
at the car, we congratulated ourselves on now only having
seventeen Wainwrights left to do- a total that must
surely succumb this summer. We rewarded ourselves
with an English Lakes Ice Cream that helped me briefly
forget the ache in my knees.
knew we had done over 15 miles but the gps does not
tell you the height climbed (and, worse, descended).
It wasnít until I was home and ran the tracklog
through the computer that we got the answer: 5,286 feet.
One vertical mile and a bit. A personal
best. Stan, of course, had done far more than
this with Bryan on BB1016.
How, Iíll never know. As I think I said
at the time: Respect.
last thing- the Glove Fairy has been kind to me again.
Members of the Mile High Club are entitled to
special consideration and, without me even knowing,
she flew back to our lunch spot, picked up my glove
and put it safely in my rucksack for me to find when
I got home. Quite like the miracle on the Dales
you, Glove Fairy.
wonder if she's any good with knees?
27th May 2010
A problem arising from such a long, scenic walk is the
processing of the multitude of photographs. Here
are a few panoramics that didn't make the final selection:
If you want to comment on this report, click on
climbed in feet:
Borne, Starling Dodd, Red Pike, High Stile,
High Crag, Haystacks, Fleetwith Pike
& Stan: 17 (-6)
you have Memory Map on your computer, you can follow
our route in detail by downloading BB1021.
see which Wainwright top was visited on which BB outing
For the latest totals of the mileages and heights see: BB Log.
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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
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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)
The Kentmere Challenge
Saturday 24th April
Winter in Springtime
Thursday 14th May
Red Screes and Sausages
The Mile High Club
Saturday 30th January
Click on the photos
for an enlargement
or related large
see which Wainwright top was visited on which
outing see Which
download a log of heights and miles and which Wainwrights have
been done by which BOOTboy
in the "modern" era, i.e. since the advent
anyone wants to claim other peaks, please let me know
and I will submit them to the adjudication committee!