BB1525 : The Past President's Visit

Margaret:  My friend Kirstie is coming to stay for a few days.  Her husband, Peter, would like to go walking with the BOOTboys.

Don:  Ok, that will be nice.  I'll work out an easy route for him.  Hope he can manage the hills.

Margaret:  You do remember that he used to be the President of the Scottish Mountaineering Society, don’t you?

Don:  Aaaaagggghhh!  I’d better ask Bryan and Stan for help.

And help they did.

The brief they were given was that Peter was familiar with the Northern Lakes and the Langdales but not Ullswater and Haweswater areas.

Bryan volunteered for Tuesday, Stan for Wednesday.

Part 1 : Tuesday 14th July 2015

By happenchance Bryan was wanting to reconnoitre a route that he will be leading for the Kendal Fellwalkers A team.  Part of this would start from Mardale Head, Haweswater, go up to Blea Water then Riggindale Crag and Long Stile before reaching High Street.  Then it would be Mardale Ill Bell, down to Nan Bield, up to Harter Fell and Kentmere Pike, down Wrengill, up over the Gatescarth Pass and back to Mardale Head. It sounded just the job.

Haweswater, looking south to Riggindale

All was well as far as Blea Water but then on the steep climb up Long Stile to High Street I had to rely on the old JPL technique for keeping up by posing questions such as:

  • Is that flower an Edelweiss?
  • Can you see the eagle over there?  No, I can't either.
  • What a view.  Let's have another team picture.
  • Does my bum look big in this?

No, I didn't actually use the last one.

Bryan points out the Riggindale features

Looking down on Blea Water


We curved round High Street and Mardale Ill Bell to drop down to the Nan Bield Pass.  

Drama on High Street

Comitibus :  Nan Bield Shelter

Looking down to Kentmere

Refuelled by lunch at the Nan Bield shelter, I made a better fist of Harter Fell and Kentmere Pike.

Peter made an even better fist of skipping down the other side.

Bryan's aim for the Fellwalkers was to find a way into the Wrengill quarries from the top.  

Initially he was frustrated by the difficulty in interpreting the map he had been given of the quarry so we stopped for second lunch in a quarry chamber into which we had climbed from below.

This must have given him inspiration as he then climbed up the workings and discovered a viable entry point.

Wrengill Quarry map

Relic of an engine

Up into the quarry

The day ended with a quick up, over and down of Gatescarth Pass to return to Mardale Head and the car.  Bryan had done a good job in fulfilling his part of the brief.  Would Stan be able to do likewise?

Part 2 : Wednesday 15th July 2015:

Stan's favourite part of the southern Lake District is Dovedale, the ascent of which leads, not surprisingly to Dove Crag, part of the Fairfield range.

Considering the efforts of the previous day I seemed to be going along reasonably well.  Perhaps the early ascent of the valley, starting from Hartsop, was gentler.  Peter of course seemed to be taking it all very easily.

Dovedale is a lovely valley and it is easy to understand why Stan likes it.  As it climbs, it progressively steepens.  Alongside the final ascent is a large crag in which the Priest's Hole cave is to be found.

Looking up to Dove Crag

The Priest's Hole Cave

We had recently met walkers who had explored it (BB1520) but Stan had never been there.  He and Peter were keen to make the visit.  To Martin, Terry and I it looked a rather exposed approach so we decided to wait and enjoy the view. Actually, sitting now in the comfort of my office and examining the photos, the climb doesn't look as intimidating as it did in real life.

The view down Dovedale from neat the Priest's Hole

Anyway, they survived the adventure and reported back that there were sleeping bags and food supplies therein so it would be a good place to rest up for the night.  Fortunately, that wasn't necessary.

The rest of the climb was via one of the better man-made rock staircases.

When we reached the ridge, I had a rush of blood to the head.  We were passed by a rather younger and athletic looking man strolling along to the summit.  He had to be taken.  I am delighted to report that he was successfully reeled in and dispatched.  Silly old fool that I am!

Helvellyn with Striding Edge in front of Swirral Edge and Catstycam

We then turned back to Hart Crag and Fairfield where it was a much bigger challenge keeping up with Stan and Peter.  Then on Cofa Pike I was totally blown away by them.

Grisedale Tarn with Scafells and Gables behind

Cofa Pike and St. Sunday's Crag

I don't like Cofa Pike.  It is a rocky little summit with steep drops. It is not too dangerous as long as you are sensible but you do need to be able to bound from rock to rock if you want to keep pace with the experts.  It is not my sort of terrain nor, I suspect, that of Martin and Terry.  Peter and Stan just skipped down it and gained hundreds of yards on us.

St Sunday Crag is a good summit to approach if you are mentally prepared for the fact that first you have to overcome a long chain of false summits.  The ridge is quite (but not dangerously) narrow with fine views in all directions.

Our descent was via Birks, Arnison Crag and the Ice Cream Shop in Patterdale.

Ullswater on the descent to Patterdale

Comitibus :  Patterdale

It was another splendid walk and I think Peter enjoyed both his visits to our fells (and the brewery in Staveley).

It was a pleasure to have you with us, Mr Past President.  Come back soon and we will show you more parts of the southern Lake District.  But please let my aching limbs recover first!

The Priest's Hole

Following his return to Scotland, Peter Macd sent me this dramatic photo of Stan looking into the Priest's Hole.


BB1525 i

BB1525 ii


Tuesday 14th July 2015

Wednesday 15th July 2015

Distance in miles:



Height climbed in feet:




Blea Water, High Street, Mardale Ill Bell, Harter Fell, Kentmere Pike, Wrengill Quarry

Priest's Hole, Dove Crag, Hart Crag, Fairfield, Cofa Pike, St Sunday Crag, Birks, Arnison Crag


Bryan, Don, Peter Macd

Don, Martin, Peter Macd, Stan, Terry

BB1525 i

BB1525 ii

BOOTboys routes are put online in gpx format which should work with most mapping software. You can follow our route in detail by downloading bb1525i  and bb1525ii .

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 and other
boys. Likewise written comment.

I apologise if I have failed to acknowledge properly the source or infringed
copyright.  Please let me know and I will do my best to put things right.

Unless stated otherwise, please feel free to download the material if you wish.
A reference back to this website would be appreciated.


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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