BB1218 : Tony's In Charge.  Blindfolded!

We had a little problem today.  For the first time in a long time, neither of our two mega-experienced mountain men, Bryan and Stan, were available to lead us out onto the fells. The leadership mantle was in danger of falling on me.   

Little Red Tractor

If it had just been Tony and me, we would probably have opted for some danger free (well, free of mountain danger) pretence of a Lady Anne Clifford venues exploration which would be a cover for an investigation of some town's licensed premises, travelling by train.

But we had new boy, John Hn, with us.

His claim to fame is that whilst working at the BBC, he once had the delights of reading the Little Red Tractor, not only to his daughter but also to Bob Geldorf and the hitherto rebellious Fifi Trixabelle.

John was anxious to explore the Lakeland fells so a serious outing was needed and I was at risk of being in charge.

The weather promised to be good and, given John's presence on BB1216 in which we circuited the lower Kentmere valley, I thought it would be appropriate to explore the higher end.

The full circuit was too long but then the though struck me to do the western side- the lovely trio of Froswick, Ill Bell and Yoke, starting from Troutbeck.

John picked us up and we were granted permission to park at the Queens' Head at Troutbeck on the understanding that we would call in for refreshment on our return.  The price one has to pay for parking these days!

Once out of the car, Tony asked where we were going.  When I told him, his response astonished me. I quote verbatim:

Good!!   Could probably find my way up there blindfolded!

What a relief.  

Tony's in charge.


Tony duly put on his blindfold and successfully led us up the valley, onto the ridge and up to Froswick.

Tony's in charge.  Blindfolded!

Looking up Troutbeck Valley

There was the odd signpost en-route but totally unnecessary for a blindfolded leader. Understandably, when we described the cows to him, he had difficulty in recognising them as Belted Galloways.  He's more used to Melton Mowbrays.

Signpost not needed by our blindfolded leader

Melton Mowbrays?

Tony was clearly taking his new responsibility seriously as he called rests as needed but rejected the thought of lunching at noon, wanting to ensure that his wards achieved adequate height before stopping for food.

Comitibus :  On the climb

Froswick with Ill Bell behind Blindfolded!

A walk we want to do one day is a Bryan inspired River Kent: from Source to Sea. Today, the source we could see clearly (apart of course by Tony, until allowed to remove his blindfold).

Upper Kentmere and the River Kent source

Kentmere Reservoir and Ill Bell

At Froswick he called a lunch stop, possible because his eyes were beconing strained by the darkness.  If I were to be hyper-critical of his leadership, he probably allowed the break to continue a little too long but he had both his blindfold and his top off to enjoy the rare, for this year, sunshine in a horizontal position.  John seemed to be easily led in this matter so I kept my thoughts to myself.

What depressed me up here was the litter. including an empty bottle of Mountain Dew energy drink so it was unlikely to have been thrown away by casual offcomers.  What is the world coming to?  Whilst the boys were snoozing, I earned my good citizen badge for the day by picking up the debris.

Of more interest than the abandoned junk was the strange shaped sheepfold that could be seen down in the valley

Strange sheepfold!

Comitibus :  Ill Bell

Jacob's sheep

Refreshed, Tony reapplied his blindfold and led us along the ridge, taking in Ill Bell and Yoke then down to the Garburn Pass.  

We descended without incident until he posed a difficult question. 

Should we take the shortest route back to the Queen's Head which would involve a stretch of road or, alternatively, take a slightly longer route past the church and through the village?  

Democratically, he allowed a vote to be taken and the verdict, with which he concurred, was the longer route.

Looking back up Troutbeck Valley, Froswick, Ill Bell and Yoke to the right

The church (one of the only two Jesus Churches in England, according to the lady we met there) was simple but we did not explore it in detail as, obviously, we still had our boots on and a brand new light beige carpet had been recently installed.

Consequently, we could only admire from afar the Burne Jones designed window. Tony excepted, of course.

One feature of the window is its four fish, representing what Sir Edward Burne Jones, William Morris, Ford Maddox Brown and another of their pals got up to in the village.

Inside Jesus Church

Churchyard Rhododendrons

Tony successfully navigated the back lanes, past several interesting features and houses and back to the Queen's Head; whether by instinct or nose, I was unable to determine.

The effort of leadership had obviously strained Tony as, now more able to see again, his first pint lasted about as long as the infamous on one BB0614.

Inside the Queen's Head bed

The barmaid was not at all reticent about having her photo taken whilst pulling a second round, once I had explained that it was purely for BOOTboys record purposes and that we, well, at least the majority of us, were not dirty old men.

Accordingly we refrained from asking her the coarse and obvious question as to how used was she to having her photo taken in bed?

Oh- do I detect a note of puzzlement about the comment?

Perhaps I should have explained that the bar in the Qeuen's Head is inside an old four-poster bed.

Back to our captain.  Well done Tony. Your blindfolded leadership was, indeed, a:

Don, 23rd May 2012


Blue Moon

Regular readers would think there something wrong with me if I were not to comment on recent world shattering events.  Rather then describe such matters in detail, I will simply repeat the refrain that spread around the globe:

 Blue moon, you saw me standin' alone
 Without a dream in my heart, without a love of my own
 Blue moon, you knew just what I was there for
 You heard me sayin' a prayer for
 Someone I really could care for

And then there suddenly appeared before me
 The only one my arms will hold
 I heard somebody whisper "please adore me"
 And when I looked, the moon had turned to gold

Blue moon, now I'm no longer alone
Without a dream in my heart
Without a love of my own


John S at Seventy

My apologies.  In BB1217, I omitted to celebrate the fact that John is has now achieved seventy years of mortal coil.  Here is how he recorded this remarkable event:




Wednesday 23rd May

Distance in miles:


Height climbed in feet:



Froswick, Ill Bell, Yoke

Other Features:



Don, John Hn, Tony



BOOTboys routes ares now being put online in gpx format which should work with most mapping software. You can follow our route in detail by downloading BB1218.

To see which Wainwright top was visited on which BB outing see
Which Wainwright When?

For the latest totals of the mileages and heights see: BB Log.



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