BB1905 : Thank You, Bryan

31st January 2019

We have Bryan to thank for today.  Although laid low due to a domestic accident, he kindly gave us the benefit of his wisdom.  As a result, we did something we had done 17 times previously.  I knew it was going to be a gloriously sunny day and he had implored us to get out into the snow.  Foolishly, I had thought of some less visited tops such as those on Sleddale Fell.  However, he pointed out that given the snow forecast we were unlikely to be able to get the car anywhere near them. Ambleside, he said.  Arterial highway.  Bound to be open.  Red Screes.  Or maybe Wansfell.

The boys opted for the latter.  

The sensible choice, I thought.  

Into the snow but not too challenging plus the Post Office café in Troutbeck for lunch then Robin’s gently undulating, low level Lane back to our start point.

As we drove along the side of Windermere, not only could we see the folk sat at the top of Coniston Old Man, we could even tell which newspaper they were reading!

Only joking of course but the air was as clear as I ever seen it.  Actually, I suppose you don’t see air.  You see things at the other side of air but you know what I mean.

What I (and possibly Bryan, though I doubt it) had overlooked was that due to the morning sun being so low in the sky, the ascent of Wansfell would be totally in the shade.  Actually this was a mixed blessing.  Although cold, we were sheltered from the brutally bitter wind that we would experience when we topped out into the otherwise glorious sunshine.

We had followed the usual route: through the woods by Stockghyll Force then out and up the quite steep, icy climb.  

A man from Lancaster kitted out in tracksuit and plimsolls and falling over amused us.  We smugly ascended in our boots and microspikes without any such problems.

Of course, rather than take the wimps path, we opted for the short but hands on gully that very briefly makes you feel like a proper mountaineer.

The views had been spectacular all the way up but from the top you could see the length of Windermere.....

..... the Coniston hills round to the Langdales and more....

..... plus Red Screes and over to the Kentmere fells also.  

In fact, a full 360° panorama.

We contemplated carrying along the ridge to Baystones but the only reason for going there is to get your tick on the Wainwright list.  We had done that so many times and the priority was to get Tony down to the Troutbeck Café by noon.

Conditions were quite different on this side.  Not just the fact that we were now in full sun; the snow was deeper but in good condition and it was downhill.  We would have reached the café at the appointed hour had Tony not stopped to chat with his tree surgeon, chain-saw in hand, thirty feet above him.

I was worried that the café might be full and was relieved to see that the bench outside, sun drenched and out of the wind, was empty.  It soon became clear why.

I had taken the precaution of checking its opening times: "Winter opening hours: 10.30 am to 3.30 pm, every day except Mondays and Tuesdays".  What it didn’t say on the internet but did on the door was that this did not apply to this part of winter.  It was shut.  Closed until 6th February.  I don't begrudge then their holiday but if they are going to have a website, they should keep it up-to-date about closures.

Now I had a problem.  Believing that we would be able to eat in that hitherto excellent establishment, I had brought no food other than my emergency supply of the grandchildren's pure fruit Bear Yo Yos.  Robin and Tony were much wiser and had come prepared.  Not only wise but kind.  Each offered me a sandwich which I eagerly accepted.

Robin Lane never fails to delight (when you can see, of course) and the same was true today.  Views remained superb, enhanced for a while by St Andrew's cross.

On its way north, no doubt.

Soon we were back in Ambleside and finished in the traditional manner with a visit to the Golden Rule where we raised a glass to Bryan to thank him for the inspiration and wish him a speedy recovery.

Don, 31st January 2019



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Bryan: To be honest I hadn’t allowed for the Wansfell climb being in the shade. But then, if it had been me, I wouldn’t have offered Wansfell. It would have been Red Screes or nothing!

Don:  I think I would have had a rebellion on my hands!

James:  Cotopaxi in Ecuador.
How’s that for a loyal Bootboy?
Highest mountain and active volcano in the world.

Don: How long did it take you to climb it?

James: A couple of hours without clampons too. A walk in the park!

Don: I'm looking forward to seeing your pigtail!



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Comitibus:  Don, Robin, Tony


Map: OS 1:50k


BB1905 : Thank You, Bryan!


Thursday 31st January 2019




Don, Robin, Tony

Distance in miles (Garmin):


Height climbed in feet (OMN):


GPX track



If you want to know which BOOTboys reports refer to having visited any particular Wainwright or certain other hills, see BOOTboys Hill Log.  Warning- it might not be fully up-to-date!

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