BB1534 : Not So Keen ?

Thursday 8th October 2015

This could be the last chance to travel to the Northern Lakes in decent weather before the clocks go back and days get short.  

So ran the mantra that sent us up past Windermere where the sun was burning the mist off the lake.

Mist clearing beyond Windermere

On we went, round the top of Derwent Water and down to Little Town in the Newlands Valley.  Our objective?  We were keen to tackle the Newlands Round.

Looking up the valley to Hindscarth

Things got off to a bad start.  

Indeed for Martin, it seemed in danger of being another Bad Thing day.

Firstly his gps wouldn’t work despite having charged his batteries the night before.  

Then, worse, one of the lacing rings came out of his brand new boots.  

The make?  Keen.  

Martin?  Not so.

Fortunately no third Bad Thing befell him.

A purist might say that the Newlands Round ought not include Cat Bells but why escapes me.  

What baffles me further is why Wainwright considers Cat Bells “a family fell where grandmothers and infants can climb the heights together.”

Approaching Cat Bells summit

Ferry patterns seen from Cat Bells

Certainly, it is one of the best viewpoints in the Lakes but they would need to be a pretty tough family- the ascent is seriously steep in parts.  Most grannies I know would definitely not be so keen.  “Grannies and infants beware” would be my advice.  School parties, however, are another matter.  I first climbed it when at school camp in Borrowdale (quite a long time ago!) and it was good to see that the tradition continues.

Looking back over Derwent Water to Keswick and Skiddaw

Our route continued along the ridge to Maiden Moor and on to High Spy, a fell on which Stan is so keen he named his house after it.  Unfortunately, the promised nice day melted away to be replaced by cold wind and nasty rain, albeit not very heavy.  

Nasty weather coming from the south

High Spy in the worsening weather

The rain did not last long but the grey clouds and the cold wind continued. Weather about which we were definitely not so keen.

At Dale Head Tarn there was a debate as to whether to take the direct (i.e. short and steep) route up to the summit or the ridge (i.e. long but gentle).  

No-one wanted to be seen to be the one wimping out but somehow the consensus was to take the longer route.

Approaching Dale Head Tarn

Looking back across the tarn to Skiddaw

On reaching Dale Head, we dropped down a little in the lee of the wind but not so far as to tumble the 500 feet drop to the valley below.  

Comitibus: Dale Head in improving weather

The evil-eyed raven

Clouds over Great Gable

Here we had lunch, enjoying the spectacular view down the Newlands valley and across to the Skiddaw Fells.  Definitely a view in the keen kategory  However at this point Bryan joined the Not So Keen klan.  His Keen boots were coming apart. To be fair, they have been well used though only 7 months old.

Newlands from Dale Head in improving weather

Keen boot koming apart

It was still too cold to linger so we soon pressed on to Hindscarth by which time the weather was rapidly improving.  There was a very short debate as to whether we should retrace our steps a little to then tackle Robinson but wiser heads were not so keen.

Now in glorious sunshine we descended the long ridge to the valley. This was not a doddle.  There were stretches where the narrow path traversed the steep hillside and care was needed.  Even more care was needed on some of the rocky sections where, again to quote someone (I thought it was AW but I can't now find it) that feet, hands and elbows would all be needed.  

Add bottom to that list.

Hindscarth descent

Looking back up Newlands valley

The narrow traverse

Strange markings in the bracken below Maiden Moor

At the bottom (of the hill, not on the hill) our two experts had a disagreement as to which was the quicker way back to the car.  As Bryan took his followers off up the valley to a bridge across the beck, we warned that we might not be back first as Stan and I wanted to have a look at Newlands Church.  

Newlands church

Inside the church

We did that and still got back to the car fist.  And no, we did not run.  Bryan graciously accepted defeat and we repaired to the Swinside Inn.

Looking back to Hindscarth

To sit outside with a pint, watching the sun setting over Hindscarth?  

Very keen.

Don, 8th October 2015


Afternote:  Regarding the Keen boot problems:

Martin reports: I believe I was just unlucky with the lace hook rivet giving up - Castleberg Outdoors in Settle haven't had it reported before. They have been exceptional in their positive customer service and apologies and deserve full credit. I have a new replacement pair of boots, collected today, ready for breaking in with a walk in the Ribble Valley tomorrow.

Bryan has had a similar positive experience:  I took them back to Lakeland Great Outdoors at Plantation Bridge who replaced them for me there and then. Excellent service.

Both are very keen on the way their suppliers have managed the problem.  Let's hope that keeness on Keen is now fully restored. 




Thursday 8th October 2015

Distance in miles:


Height climbed in feet:



Cat Bells, Maiden Moor, High Spy, Dale Head, Hindscarth


Bryan, Don, John Hn, Martin, Stan, Terry


BOOTboys routes are put online in gpx format which should work with most mapping software. You can follow our route in detail by downloading bb1534 .

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
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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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