BB1503 : The Axemen Cameth

Wednesday 21st January 2015

When Bill Birkett says that Wansfell is to Ambleside what St. Paul's is to London you pause for a moment to ponder what did he mean by this enigmatic statement?  After all, whilst I don't know his acquaintance with London, he is some authority on the Lake District having more than double the number of Lakeland hills catalogued under his name than does Wainwright.  Mind you, his yardstick for inclusion is a modest 1,000 feet whereas AW's was rather more idiosyncratic. And higher. Apart from Castle Crag.

I am not sure if Birkett meant a significant feature on the skyline or an excellent view point from which to view the environs.  Or an interesting climb, perhaps?

Bill Birkett

St Paul's

What I am sure about is that given iffy weather Wansfell is a good peak to visit with an interesting way up and a gentle way down (whether or not you drop down to Troutbeck to visit the Mortal Man).  

However if, like Terry, you are on the Wainwright trail (and presumably also on the Birkett trail even though you didn't realise it) you have to turn your back on the excellent view (if you can see it) and carry on along the ridge to the actual summit, Baystones, which, in contrast, is rather a disappointment.

And, if you are like John, then on a day like today, it's an opportunity to try out your brand new Grivel Helix ice axe in benign conditions whilst Don reminds himself how to use Bryan's old wooden shafted one.

You may have gathered that there was snow on the ground albeit not whilst we walked up by the Stockghyll waterfalls where Tony spotted a heron looking for its breakfast.

Hungry heron

Stockghyll falls

Emerging onto the fell, it was quite cold and rather gloomy with an increasing cover of ice and snow as we climbed higher.

Approaching the hill stile

Terry films the fells

Those of us who had microspikes donned them.  Those who hadn't had to make do with instep crampons and the vow to bring the proper jobs next time.

The little gully presented no problems and we posed at the Wansfell summit for the Comitibus photo.

James tops the gully

Comitibus :  Wansfell

The ridge walk to Baystones is quite undulating which gave John and I the opportunity to throw ourselves down not too steep slopes in an effort to master the axes.  We must have been impressive as a lady following us asked if she could have a go and, of course, we agreed.  She was a game old girl.

Take your pick!

Give us a kiss!

Fell ponies with Windermere behind

Baystones conquered, we dropped down to the Hundreds Road, where we met a couple of fell ponies, then returned back along high level trail via High Skeghyll to the Jenkin Crag viewpoint and down to Ambleside.

Windermere from Jenkin Crag

Perhaps what Bill Birkett should have said is that Wansfell is to Ambleside what the Hawkshead Brewery is to Staveley.  And that to both, the Axe Men (and their pals) cameth.

Don, Wednesday 21st January 2015


An Idiosyncratic Afternote:
Neither of the hills named Birkett Hill is a "Birkett" hill
nor are they named after Bill. However there is a good reason.
BB1036 The Battle of Birkett Hills.




Wednesday 21st January 2015

Distance in miles:

8.4 (Garmin)

Height climbed in feet:

1,870 (Memory Map)


Wansfell (Baystones)


Don, James, John Hn, Terry, Tony

BOOTboys routes are put online in gpx format which should work with most mapping software. You can follow our route in detail by downloading bb1503 .

To discover which Wainwright top was visited on which BB outing - although it may not be that up to date - see: Which Wainwright When?

For the totals of the mileages and heights (ditto) see: BB Log.

Photos have been gleaned from many sources although mostly from me!
Likewise written comment.  
Unless stated otherwise, please feel free to download the material if you wish.
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To see which Wainwright top was visited on which BB outing see Which Wainwright When?
This may or may not be up to date!

For the latest totals of the mileages, heights and Lakeland Fells Books Wainwrights see: Wainwrights.
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BOOTboys 2015


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