: And Then There Were
26th August 2010
seemed like the frustration caused by the inclement
summer was going to continue again this week. Monday’s
mountain weather forecast for Thursday suggested a day
best spent indoors. But by Wednesday that had
all changed and, for the first time in many weeks, it
began to look like we had a meaningful chance of a day
worth travelling west for the penultimate Wainwright
at 6:30 .a.m. when I picked up Stan, it did seem as
if a glorious day was in prospect. It was a wonderful
journey. There was a temperature inversion over
Little Langdale Tarn. There were four rabbits
playing in the road. Two of them were normal wild
rabbits but the other two were absolutely white. Were
they albinos or escaped domestic pets? Would there
be a mad hatter next?
hills to the east had cloud on the tops but those through
which we were passing were clear. In the pinkness
of the early morning sun, they reminded me of the Dolomites.
The only hint that the weather might not be totally
wonderful came when I stopped on Hardknott pass to take
a photo of Eskdale only to discover a very strong wind
blowing- but, to be fair, that had been in the forecast
for the morning.
in the morning sun
parked just outside Boot for what would be a big day,
the objective being to knock off four of the remaining
six Wainwrights. In order to fit the four into
the round, it meant an unusual approach to Scafell.
I had intended to go via Eel Tarn but when I mentioned
this to Bryan, his raised eyebrow indicated he thought
I was off my rocker. A lovely area, he said, but
difficult to navigate. I checked with the other
oracle- Alf W himself. He regarded it as difficult
and time consuming terrain, which, if the objective
was Scafell, should be left to the descent and then
only if plenty of time remained.
our route required a quite different descent, a change
of plan was needed so once again we started with a long
road slog, back up the valley to Wha House Farm where
we picked up the track to the Ridge Route to Slight
was to be our first Wainright capture of the day and
it loomed high in the distance for a long, long time.
Side with Scafell behind
back over Quagrigg Moss
we crossed the boggy plateau and started
the serious ascent. It seemed like
had work but the twin tops of Slight Side
are both very satisfying short scrambles.
the same way that Slight Side had earlier
loomed before us, we were now faced with
what seemed an equivalent climb up to Scafell
but in reality, apart from some tricky moments
on the bouldery ground, the main problem
was that it was sunny and hot!
on Slight Side
(left) from Slight Side
Rigg and Illgill Head from Slight Side
Scafell, Scafell Pike to its right
took first lunch in the summit shelter.
was no one else around although we could
see people on Scafell Pike. I put
on some sun cream, which would have the
next objective was Illgill Head, which meant
heading west, down a route that was at first
scree then latter boggy tufty grass, losing
over 2,000 feet in the process.
would not want to go up Scafell by that
Head between Burnmoor Tarn and Wast Water
the distance we could see Windsacle or Seascale or Calder
Hall or Sellafield or whatever the nuclear power plant
is called these days.
were both feeling strangely out of energy as we started
the climb up Illgill Head but recovered somewhat on
its upper reaches, Perhaps the views up Wasdale
had something to do with it, even though it was now
rather cloudier than it had been.
Rigg from Illgill Head
Wasdale, Scafell to right from Illgill Head
Ill Gill Head to Whin Rigg was yet another different
type of terrain, basically a pleasant grassy ridge walk,
ultimately offering some very scary views down from
the top of the Wast Water screes, a near vertical drop
of some 1,500 feet..
Water from Whin Rigg
1,500 foot drop
Head (with Scafell behind) from Whin Rigg
lunch was taken at Whin Rigg
hoped it would be an easy return to Boot but we were
not sure about the short cut I had spotted on the map.
AW had dismissed this as a way up Whin Rigg for
being too boggy but we figured we could save about three
miles and a bit of bog would not hurt us on a descent.
We were half right. The descent was not
a great problem. But then we had to climb up out
of Miterdale on a path that proved non-existent and
over ground that was very boggy.
route across Miterfdale
we had to negotiate our way around an even boggier area
around Siney Tarn before discovering a tourist haven
at Blea Tarn.
from near Blea Tarn
here it should have been an easy drop down
to Eskdale but my knees were starting to
protest at all the work they had had to
do. Eventually we reached the bottom,
in time to see the L’al Ratty train steam
was not by chance that I had parked near
Boot; it was time to pay our respects to
the memory of Big
so we called in what had been the Burnmoor
Inn, now called the Boot Inn. Either
my memory is playing me tricks or it has
been extensively remodelled as, internally,
I could not recognise it as the place we
had visited 37 years before.
with Scafell behind
a glass to Big Josie
engaging the attractive and amply proportioned
lady behind the bar in conversation regarding
Josie, she responded that “It’s much quieter
now but just as good” which we took to be
a euphemism for “Don’t go getting any ideas
that I’m going to give you the same sort
Or did we get that wrong? !!
drank to Josie’s memory although I think
she would have been appalled at being toasted
drove home congratulating ourselves on the day’s achievements-
not just four Wainwrights, achieved over all sorts of
different terrain, but the successful ignoring of a
road closed notice on Ulpha Fell that would otherwise
have meant a horrific detour!
now, there are only two- Lingmell and Scafell Pike.
26th August 2010
Script for those who prefer a more psychedelic style
climbed in feet:
Illgill Head, Whin
& Stan: 2, Bryan:
you have Memory Map on your computer, you can follow
our route in detail by downloading BB1032.
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
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)
The Kentmere Challenge
Saturday 24th April
Winter in Springtime
Thursday 14th May
Red Screes and Sausages
The Mile High Club
What A Difference A Day Makes
Rendezvous on Haycock
The Men of Gragareth
The Smardale Round
Don't Shun The Shunner!
All Around the Edge
The Return of
Nick by Haggis
And Then There
A Surplus of Sheepfolds
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!