Up The Spout

Wednesday 19th June 2013

For this week’s walk we were lacking an experienced leader and John, as volunteer convener, opted for the straightforward option of the Howgills since Martin had offered to drive over with cowboy-hatted Mike and Roger.  Don was away sunning himself in the Med and we soon realised we needed at least three people to step into Don’s shoes. One photographer, one scribe and one navigator - even though the agreed route was effectively BB1226 in reverse. Roger kindly volunteered to do the music!?

The long, flat trek from Sedbergh to Cautley was as long as we remembered but very pleasant in warm sunshine and it allowed a few photo opportunities including a seat that Tony would relish.  This one was definitely "up the spout"!

Seat for Tony

The flat terrain

The flat terrain was soon forgotten as we started up the real Spout. The highest waterfall in England is underground at Gaping Gill but Cautley Spout is the highest above ground, falling for almost 200 metres down a series of rock steps. The first part of the route picked a way up a steep path on the right of the falls.  Steep is the word – in about 600 metres linear distance the path gains about 200 metres of height, which is an average gradient of 1 in 3.  Some individual sections are steeper.

Cautley Spout

Across the Spout

The sheepfold we were heading for is next to Red Gill Beck, which is one of the streams feeding the cascades.

Since 1996, the artist Andy Goldsworthy has been creating a series of environmental sculptures in Cumbria on the theme of sheepfolds.

He worked on the Red Gill Washfold in 2002. It was intended partly as a memorial to the devastating effects of Foot and Mouth Disease.

The artist rebuilt a derelict fold and then created a stone cairn sculpture in one corner.

Comitibus :  The Sheepfold

The sheepfold was a very handy lunch stop - Mike dined off a china plate with proper cutlery.  We were half expecting his butler to appear with a glass of Pinot Noir!

Back down the Spout

The post lunch walk up to the Calf was much gentler but we were on “motorways”.  At one point Martin counted 23 people ahead of us – but strangely none behind.

The motorway

The walk back down into Sedbergh provided stunning views and was largely uneventful although Mike did shudder at the memory of running around these fells in search of his wallet on our previous outing.

Over Winder and back to the Dalesman

I could swear it said crack

The Dalesman

Back in Sedbergh we headed straight for the Dalesman and discussed fine wines over a couple of pints of bitter. More like "Down The Hatch" than "Up The Spout" !

We also discussed virgin hats, photography, Simpsons on the Strand and music which made us remember that we wanted a picture of the Shadows. This was duly taken outside the pub – you’ll be pleased to hear we refrained from performing their distinctive dance routine

John and the Shadows,  Wednesday 19th June 2013



The Road to (and from) Nowhere

Meanwhile, the International Division of the BOOTboys was in action.

Overlooking Heraklion, Crete, is a not insubstantial hill (about 800 metres) that looks like a pyramid. It is called Dtrounboulrd.  Sorry, fingers were over the wrongs keys.  It is called Stroumboulas. Otherwise known as Stroumboulas. Jamie (who lives nearby) decided that he, Poppy and I should conquer it. Poppy, I should explain, is not some nefarious lady with whom I was secretly vacationing but Jamie’s dog.  It was a slightly weird experience,

The outing was not too strenuous especially as the heat of the day was now dwindling. Once we had driven up the right goat strewn track (more about which later) and ignored the Greek signs warning of dire fate awaiting those who trespassed, we actually had only about 300 metres of rocky but distinct path to climb to the summit.  Indeed, it was clearly intended as a legitimate route as waymarker arrows were painted at convenient places. leading to the obligatiory small chapel at the summit.

The views, looking over Heraklion and the Cretan coastline as well as of the hinterland mountains, were stunning.

After examining the chapel, ringing its bell (seemingly dedicated to Zeus) and taking umpteen photos, we descended back to where we had parked the car.  

The bizarre feature of the outing was that after turning off the main road, we drove up a typical off-road rocky track, past the mandatory goats, and then the surface changed into to the most perfect tarmac that I have seen in Crete and a lot better than many of the roads in the UK.  Not only excellent condition but very wide- at least big enough for three lanes.  But it was only about a mile long


Where we parked was at its very end.  There was no more road and not much sign even of a path.  So what was this pristine mile of tarmac that we travelled to nowhere and back again doing there?

We saw no one to ask (fortunately), only the goats, but pondered on its origins as we made our way back to Jamieville.

  • A Euro project for which money had run out (and into someone’s back pocket)?
  • A drag (or maybe goat) racing strip?
  • A secret runway for the planes of drug dealers or other Mafioso type characters?

Any other suggestions?




Sitting Astride The Beast

To conclude, we have a Vulcanic update from brother Alan who claims to having forgotten about riding the Blue Steel missile.  He explains:

What we were probably actually doing was sitting astride the beast whilst connecting a multipin connector from a wiring loom attached to a computerised test rig, into a socket in the top near the front. Being in the early days of computerisation, think lots (actually hundreds) of relays and a test rig as big as the missile itself. 

I recall that the aileron servo amplifiers, being produced to a military spec, made excellent  high power audio amplifiers, the only problem being a 40 Volt supply line which was non standard.

Probably so people could not use them for audio amplifiers!, but with so many radio and electronics engineers looking for things to invent, that was never going to be a problem.






Wednesday 19th June 2013

Distance in miles:


Height climbed in feet:




Other Features:

Cautley Spout, The Calf, Calders


John Hn, Martin, Mike, Roger B


BOOTboys routes are put online in gpx format which should work with most mapping software. You can follow our route in detail by downloading bb1322

To discover 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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