BB1511 : How Many Ways?

Thursday 26th March 2015

It is said that when the Cistercian Monks made their way from their Abbey at Barrow in Furness their route to the west was via a treacherous crossing of the Leven Estuary on foot.

This journey is now commemorated in one of Britain's long distance walks: 

These days another type of Way, the railway, follows, rather more safely, the same route.

On the other hand, contrary to its name, the Cumbria Coastal Way takes walkers on a more sensible inland route.

All three types of Way had relevance to today's adventure.

Our start point was a railway, although a somewhat different one to that crossing the River Leven: the Lakeside and Haverthwaite Railway and, in particular, its station at Haverthwaite.

Closed presumably as part of the Beeching cuts in the mid 1960s, the line re-opened in 1973 as a private railway from Haverthwaite to Lakeside at the bottom end of Windermere.

Our route had been chosen to fit in with James' arrangements as he had a meeting in Grange-over-Sands early that morning.  However, at the last minute he cried off with manflu leaving us with a dilemma.  Well, not really, we just carried on as planned and caught the bus from Grange-over-Sands Railway Station to Haverthwaite Railway Station.

Had it been raining we would have called in at this station for a cuppa whilst it cleared.  The weather had other ideas and obeyed the forecast so the rain stopped just as we alighted.  Sorry, Haverthwaite, you will have to wait for our custom.

The steep climb from Low Wood was rewarded with an encounter with Bigland Tarn.  

Low Wood Gunpowder Mills

Bigland Tarn

We were following the Cumbria Coastal Way south, enjoying pleasant countryside and open views across the Leven estuary.  

The Leven Estuary

There was a minor navigational hiccup on Speel Bank where the farmer had done his best to disguise a stile over a wall causing us to press on by for a while before realising the error.  Was he also responsible for the seemingly cynical removal of the Way signpost arms?  That apart, it was an uneventful but pleasant stroll down to Howbarrow.  Here we turned east and very shortly joined the Cistercian Way which soon led us across the racecourse and into Cartmel.

Cartmel racecourse

No doubt the monks would have made merry in the local hostelries. Instead, we opted, somewhat to our surprise, for the Priory Hotel and, even more to our surprise, we all ordered coffee, not beer.  Plus, not such a surprise, sausage baps.

Cartmel, Hampsfell behind

Cartmel Priory

Tony would have liked a look round Cartmel Priory but as it was Augustinian, not Cistercian, it didn't seem appropariate.  Only joking- we didn't have sufficient time in hand on the parking ticket back at Grange.

Unlucky for some

Hampsfell Hospice

When we reached the Hampsfell Hospice, that remarkable structure on the summit (see BB1120), the wind had risen to almost the same velocity as we had experienced on Fairfield on BB1508 recently.  It became virtually impossible to stand whilst on the roof so, after the team picture was taken inside (beneath the inscriptions recorded on Hampsfell Hospice and on GLW1402), we continued over the limestone fell and back down to Grange-over-Sands.

Comitibus :  Hampsfell Hospice

Here the monks used to undertake another treacherous estuary crossing, this time of the River Kent.  

Kent estuary

We, on the other hand, made a much less hazardous way to the Strickland Arms where we drank to James' speedy recovery.  Poor man, he had missed a bracingly enjoyable outing that would have sent his manflu on its way.

We also wished Bryan well on his Way- his assault on Mera La.

Don, Thursday 26th March 2015

Mera La- Bryan's on his Way

It's a busy Himalayan time for BOOTboys. Philip was out there in November, Terry set off this week and Bryan is due to go out on Sunday 29th March.
Here he describes why:

I first went to Nepal in 1977 with Liz and we did the trek from Lukla to Everest base camp.

I climbed a 5,643m peak called Kala Patthar which Terry is hoping to do on his trip.

In reality it’s only a spur of a bigger mountain so doesn’t require a ‘climbing permit’.

But it does give stunning views to Everest

Bryan on top of Kala Patthar, Everest behind

Tourism was just getting started back then so life in the villages we passed through were much like Philip will have found on his Khiraule trip. Edmund Hillary had just completed building the second school in the Khumbu region.

We had great memories from the trek (sleeping in a tent at 5,000m in a 3-season sleeping bag was Liz’s particular ‘highlight’!) but most outstanding was the cheerfulness of the people.

In recent years the Adventure Travel industry has taken off and means people such as myself can now tackle things that were previously beyond my technical capability.

Bryan's high point- 5,350 metres

So in November 2011 I went back to Nepal, this time to the Annapurna region to try and climb a 5,663m mountain called Tharp u Chuli.

This is what is called a Cat B trekking peak. All summits over 5,000m in Nepal require a ‘climbing permit’.

Trekking peaks are summits that can be reached with some climbing experience (using axe and crampons; rock scrambling; moving roped on glaciers etc), but do not require a full blown expedition.

The outcome of this trip was documented in BB1136.

Although a great trip, the failure to climb a proper Himalayan summit still gnawed at me. A temporary lull in child-minding duties presented the opportunity to return this Spring.

I settled on an attempt at the 6,476m (21,247ft) high Mera Peak, mainly because it takes much less time to become climbable after snowfall and so has a greater chance of summiting.

The down-side is that it’s almost a 1,000m higher than I’ve ever been previously. Oxygen concentration is 45% of that at sea level so I will be blowing hard – possibly worse than Tony on Scafell Pike!

This is one month into the pre-monsoon season so should be OK weather-wise. But with climate change being like it is there is no real guarantees these days.

We fly in to Lukla, the start point for the Everest trail, but we go East rather than North and cross the 4,600m Zatrwa La pass on the 2nd day. A further 5 days trek will get us to our Base Camp at 5,000m by the side of the Dig Glacier.

Mera La 1

Mera La 2

A camp is then established at 5,415m on the Mera La; the next one on a spectacular rocky outcrop at 5,800m (see photo Mera La 1 above, left) from where we make our summit attempt (see photo Mera La 2 above, right) on the 11th or 12th day after leaving Lukla.

Ultimately this is a BIG mountain - almost 6,000ft higher than Mont Blanc - so weather, snow conditions, altitude etc can all conspire to prevent us getting up. But then to some extent that's the point. If it were guaranteed, it wouldn't be so 'interesting'!

Bryan, March 2015

Terry's Trek

Terry is now in Nepal (see BB1510) on his way to Everest Base Camp.


Even though Terry might not be able to add to his blog for a few days, it is still worth checking it out, if you have not already done so.  

Here you will find a flavour of a very different culture to ours.

The good news is the trek is going well and I'm really thankful for all the BOOTboys outings.

The bad news is that my mobile Blogger app has frozen and it will not let me make any further posts.

Hopefully I can sort it out, but in the meantime here is our first view of Everest.





Thursday 26th March 2015

Distance in miles:


Height climbed in feet:



Cumbria Coastal Way, Bigland Tarn
Cistercian Way, Hampsfell


Bryan, Don, Mike, Stan, 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 bb1511 .

To discover which Wainwright top was visited on which BB outing - although it may not be that up to date - or for the totals of the mileages and heights (ditto) see the Excel file: BB Log.

You can navigate to the required report via the Home Page


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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