BB1228 :  Whip Crack - away!

Wednesday 5th September 2012

I had just sat down to write today's report when, suddenly, an extract from Mozart's Rondo à la Turk uninvitedly invaded the air:

Diddle-diddle-um, Diddle-diddle-um
Diddle iddle diddle iddle diddle iddle diddle iddle diddle iddle
Diddle iddle diddle diddle-um
Dumpty-dumpty Dumpty-dumpty-dumpty
Dumpty-dumpty Dumpty-diddle-um

(or in old speak: brrrrrng brrrrrng..........brrrrrng brrrrrng)

>>    Hello.

>>    Hello, am I speaking to Mr Donald?

>>    You might be; who is calling?  

>>    Mr Donald, do you own your own home?

>>    Why do you want to know? [DS presses nuisance button]

"There must be some way out of here" said the joker to the thief,

>>    Do not worry, Mr Donald, this is not a sales call

"There's too much confusion",  I can't get no relief.

>>   I'm not worried.  Why are you ringing?

Businessmen, they drink my wine, plowmen dig my earth.

>>    Mr Donald, we are conducting a market survey
   and if you could just answer a few questions....

None of them along the line know what any of it is worth.

>>    .... we can come and insulate your loft

"No reason to get excited", the thief he kindly spoke,

>>    ..... and cavity walls....

"There are many here among us who feel that life is but a joke,

>>     .....and fix the problem you have with your computer....

But you and I, we've been through that,

>>     .....after which we will invite you on an all expenses paid cruise to Bermuda

and this is not our fate.

>>   ....... followed by a stay in our wonderful resort in Florida

So let us not talk falsely now,

>>    .....whilst getting you a refund on your PPI insurance

the hour is getting late."

>>     Mr Donald .....

All along the watchtower,

>>    .....can you hear me, Mr Donald?

princes kept the view.

>>     Mr Donald?    Mr Donald?

While all the women came and went,

>>     Mr Donald?  There seems to be some noise on the line.....

barefoot servants, too.

>>     Mr Donald, can you hear me, Mr Donald?

Outside in the cold distance

>>     Mr Donald, I can't hear you, Mr Donald

a wildcat did growl.

>>    Mr Donald, I can't hear you Mr Donald, I can't ..............................

Two riders were approaching,

>>      Mr Donald...................... Mr Donald ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?

the wind began to

>>      Hello ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?



>>   Goodbye!


All Along the Watchtower.  The question is, which version to play?
Bob Dylan or Jimi Hendrix ?  

Try them both. Bob prefers Jimi.  I prefer Bob, for this purpose at least. Although Jimi does get more deafening!

I got the idea from Stephen B after my previous technique using the Murder Scene backfired on me.  The only difference is that he plays Doris Day then goes and has a Sarsaparilla.  Click on the Doris link if you don't know why!  Click on the link even if you do.  It's good fun and wasted on nuisance callers!

Now then, where was I before I was so rudely interrupted?

Ah! Yes!

John Hn has mentioned wanting to visit the Langdales, or, in particular, his namesake, ever since we first met him but so far we had managed to dissuade him, blaming weather conditions or tourists as the reason.  Today we had no such excuse.

He issued a three line whip but sadly only two, Mike and I, responded positively.

It proved to be a fine day.  At times warm and sunny, at times cold and blowy . With Stan and Bryan otherwise engaged, we had no experienced leader to guide us. Initially, I thought we should take the east side of Stickle Ghyll to Stickle Tarn before whipping up North Rake but in the absence our two guides, I did something I have not done for a long time- I turned to Wainwright.  He mentioned an interesting sounding alternative of going up to Harrison Stickle via Pike Howe which he described as "a splendid viewpoint".

Pike Howe

Harrison Stickle and Pavey Ark from Pike Howe

However, as a route to Stickle Tarn rather than direct to the Pikes,  AW wrote only peripherally.  Furthermore, I was referring to the 1958 edition.  I was 11, just a whippersnapper, when that was published.  What could have changed since?  Would it now be a motorway? Or a largely forgotten track?  The map was inconclusive.

Incidentally, a Whippersnapper is not to be confused with a Whipper Snipper which is, I believe, Oz for a strimmer, as I am sure James will confirm.

The National Trust car park at the Old Dungeon Ghyll fortunately remains in the National Trust unlike certain others in the Lake District.  It turned out that we had all brought our NT cards so we could have made some money selling parking for the day.  

Or selling Mike's fine Linthwaite sausages with which he prepared us for the exertions.

Mike with Linthwaite sausages

Pike o'Blisco from  near the New Dungeon Ghyll Hotel

I cracked the whip and off we set.  The Pike Howe route made it easy to find our way- plenty of stone steps for us to climb (but not the horrible road to hell as per BB1227).

En-route, we met, for the first time, a man from Southport who had the Wainwright book in his pocket but seemingly no map  He had turned back from climbing Harrison Stickle as he thought it too dangerous.  We explained the safe route that we were taking but he implied he was giving up and returning to the valley.

Wainwright lived up to the last five letter of his name regarding the splendidness of the view from Pike Howe.  Thereafter, crossing over to Stickle Tarn, the path was indistinct to non-existent, but there was no danger of getting lost (or falling off).

Approaching Stickle Tarn

To our amazement, at the tarn we met the Southportian for the second time.  He must have descended at pace and then climbed up the Stickle Ghyll route.  He was still totally confused as to which way to go so we advised him to use the North Rake rather than any of the more direct approaches and certainly not Jack's Rake.  He could have come with us but it was time for a coffee break in the lee of a banking.

Here we heard the a strange sound.  At first I thought it a Whip-Poor-Will that was calling. No, not Bing Crosby in his Blue Heaven.  It was a bird noise and turned out to be just a rather large seagull singing enthusiastically to his mate in their blue heaven.

That's my peak!

Stickle Tarn from North Rake

Break over, we climbed North Rake to the top of Pavey Ark.  

Harrison Stickle was next- important for John as it had been named in his honour.  At the shoulder before the climb, we met four young men who had come up the direct route and were taking a breather.  After a short chat with them, and seeing how fit they seemed, we deferred to allow the youths to proceed ahead of us.  Then the red mist descended.  The honour of the BOOTboys had to be upheld so we tucked in behind them as they ascended at a fast pace.  As I had hoped, they were so shocked at being pursued by such old men that their spirits were totally deflated and they collapsed in exhaustion half way up, thereby allowing us an unchallenged route to the top.  This enabled John to have an unencumbered celebratory photograph taken atop his namesake.

Stickle Tarn from Harrison Stickle

Harrison's Stickle

Celebration over and the need to get out of the wind meant that lunch, much later than Tonytime, was taken near the top of Dungeon Ghyll, Mike tucking into a fine tart with whipped cream.

Comitibus :  Between the Pikes

Lily pond near Pike o'Stickle

On resuming, whom should we meet again but that Sefton Stroller.  Now he was confused as to which way to descend.  After explaining the options he set off down the Ghyll and was never seen again.

John asked if we had ever seen foxhounds out on the fells. I told him of one visit to the valley when we had seen them on the fells near Pike Howe.  Today, no hounds.  The whippers-in must have had a day off.

Langdale panorama from Loft Crag

With two W's under his belt already today, John was getting mildly interested in knocking off Wainwrights so we made the easy climb up Loft Crag.  

Mike with the Stone Age Axe

Pike o'Stickle

Here Mike discovered a stone age axe, an exciting find before the exciting ascent of Pike o'Stickle, a fine view point.

Harrison Stickle and Loft Crag from Pike o'Stickle


Great Gable

For the descent, we opted for the trek across the rather boggy Martcrag Moor, the scene of Bryan's accident on BB0806,  At first we had thought he had incurred whiplash (not to be confused with Miss Whiplash, leader of the Corrective Party who, in turn, ought not be confused with Miss Whip Crack aka Doris Day, of whom, more later) but it turned out to be broken ribs.

The return down Mickleden

Pike o'Stickle and Loft Crag from Mickleden

The old fire place in the ODG

I am not sure if Bryan would have been proud or despairing of me to know that I whipped out my compass to ensure we found the route down Stake Gill to Mickleden, the Cumbrian Way descent to the Langdale Valley. Followed, of course, by the compulsory celebratory pint at the ODG.

Internally, it seem little changed from the night we were thrown out in forty years ago. This time, we didn't trouble the landlord quite as much, although we did admire the old fireplace and the interesting carvings on the table.

Why was Toby Wonky and in what way?

Later that evening, I was about to relate the day's experience to Margaret but she me interrupted saying "What's that noise?"

Diddle-diddle-um, Diddle-diddle-um

 "Oh!  Excuse me a moment," I said.

 >>  Mr Donald- I think there was a fault on the line..... [DS presses nuisance button]

Oh the Deadwood Stage
is a-rollin' on over the plains
 With the curtains flappin'
and the driver slappin' the reins
 A beautiful sky,
a wonderful day
hip crack-away,
Whip crack-away,
Whip crack-away!

Don, 5th September 2012


The Murder Scene

As you will have gathered from the above, I get fed up with intrusive telephone callers trying to sell things I don't want, often under the pretext of a market survey, whether it be holidays, roof insulation or fixing a non-existent fault on my computer.

After a spate of such unwelcome calls I tried a rather interesting way of dealing with the offender by making him think he is now part of  a murder investigation. For a while at least.  Provided you are not easily offended, listen to The Murder Scene and decide if this is a technique you might want to adopt.

The trouble is that I tried this on a caller who was probably from the Indian subcontinent and had had the trick played on him before.  When I told him I was a policemen investigating the murder of Mr Donald he said he was with the FBI !

All Along the Whip Crack is much more better!


Is Your Money About To Be Wasted?

The BOOTboys website does not generally get involved with political matters (although various opinions are often expressed forcibly during our outings).  However, when JHn drew to my attention the campaign against the proposed wind farm at Killington, I was moved to say something..

I don't have a deep rooted objection to windmills as such (as long as I can't see them from our house or anywhere pretty) but I do consider them to be grossly inefficient in terms of the return on energy expended in creating them and in terms of their cost.  When part of that funding is coming out of my pocket and all other tax payers through government subsidies, then I do get annoyed.  Consequently I have e-signed the petition.

If you want to find out more, see Killington Wind Farm.




Wednesday 5th September

Distance in miles:


Height climbed in feet:



Pavey Ark, Harrison Stickle

Loft Crag, Pike o'Stickle

Other Features:



Don, John Hn, Mike


BOOTboys routes are put online in gpx format which should work with most mapping software. You can follow our route in detail by downloading bb1228.

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