BB1933 : Rainy Day Rambling

Thursday 10th October 2019

According to the Lexico On-line Oxford English Dictionary, one definition of rambling is “lengthy and confused or inconsequential writing or speech”.

Synonyms include long-winded, garrulous, verbose, wordy, prolix (?), digressive, maundering (??), circuitous, discursive, circumlocutory (!), periphrastic (?!), incoherent.

All charges to which I plead guilty, even to those which I hadn’t previously encountered.

Antonyms include concise and pithy.

One man who has raised Rambling to a written art form, especially on Rainy Days, is John Self who has edited and published a 212 page tome on the subject- Rainy Day Rambles.  It is available at no good booksellers but can be downloaded free on-line by clicking on its title.

To quote (with kind permission), this includes the first ever published extracts from a controversial file of documents recently discovered in a derelict barn in Aspatria, Cumbria.

The documents appear to have been written for the Cumberland Courier but were never published, presumably because their content was deemed detrimental to the image of the Lake District as a paradise for tourists.

It has taken experts some time to decipher the documents, so badly affected were they by mildew and wot rot.  Many of the pages had been chewed by mice. Indeed, in many cases, it has required a thorough forensic analysis of adjacent mice droppings to determine the text.

The book contains some 60 entries plus an Appendix that is essential reading for the full comprehension of the text.  It would be rude of (and tedious for) me to seek to precis (or should it be précis?) its full contents but you can get a flavour of these historical ramblings from the various titles which include:

  • The Annual Harriet Martineau Lecture
  • Mrs Mudderdale’s Diary
  • Pen Your Pimp
  • At Your Beck and Fell

plus the on-going saga of Four Men in Their Boots.

It also introduces you to such lovable characters as Luke Screewalker, Diana Dubble-Barrell,  Mr Grevitrane and Mr Sneeezeweed.

All in all, it is essential reading for anyone interested in a rambling history of the Lake District.

This publication was discovered and brought to my attention by Mike B who himself is not unknown to have rambled from time to time.  Indeed his most recent such venture was unearthed in a magazine called Taste Talks in which, under the title “Tasty Business” he rambled on about someone called Miles Travelled, whoever he is.  Or was.


Of course, to those of a certain age, the King of Rambling was Syd Rumpo whose ditties used to delight many a listener to Round The Horne on the radio in the 1960s.  Or should that be “wireless”?  Apparently one can tell something about one’s class according to which word one uses for a device that, steaming with valves, emits sound from a large wooden cabinet.  Or alternatively from ' earpiece which these days can be truly wireless.  You can get an idea of the inestimable quality of Syd's output by listening to him singing The Ballad of the Woggler’s Mooly and other classic folk songs.

In modern times, radio (or wireless) Ramblings are the province of Claire Balding who, in the programme of that name, manages to combine the above definition alongside the alternative meaning of “a rambling man”.

Well, that’s the term used by Lexico but to be more strictly accurate (and as proven by Claire herself) it is an activity that can be undertaken not just by man but also by woman, child or dog.

I have seen the occasional cat taken rambling on a lead but such creatures, like many others, prefer rambling with their own species.

Or by themselves as evidenced by Rudyard Kipling. Indeed I know many Ramblers who prefer that mode including, it seems, John Self. Not surprisingly given his name.

We did once ask Claire Balding if she would like to come Rambling with the BOOTboys.

We envisaged showing her the wonders of Mosedale Cottage coupled with that of Uncle Monty (he of Withnail fame) but she declined the invitation, seemingly being more interested in what Graham was doing under a cape with his pin-hole camera.

Other singing ramblers include Tom Paxton who, warbling to his Rambling Boy, hoped that all his Rambles brought him Joy.

Again there is the gender / species issue but as he was addressing a specific male person perhaps Tom can be forgiven.

Incidentally, the Joy being brought was not a woman.  Nor a person, dog or cat.

Simply a state of pleasure.  

Unless it was code for a woman of that name bringing him pleasure.

Tom had a contemporary (well, six years older actually, being born in 1931) called Ramblin' Jack Elliott, another American Folk Singer, who was influenced by Woody Guthrie and in turn influenced Bob Dylan.

It was the mother of yet another folk singer, Odetta, who allegedly give him the nomenclature by remarking:

“Oh, Jack Elliott, yeah, he can ramble on!”

And perhaps I, too, have rambled on long enough and should now relate the tale of this week’s BOOTboy rambling.


Rainy day forecast.  Rambled, in sunshine, from Witherslack through mucky Birks Farm to Mill Side and Beck Head.  Up through woods to Witherslack Hall where it started to threaten rain.  It held off on the climb to Yewbarrow but started again as we dropped back down through the woods to Witherslack.  Arriving at the Derby Arms we wondered if we should have rambled further.  However, it was not long before teeming rain outside convinced us that verbal rambling over a pint or two was to be preferred. Is that concise and pithy enough for you?

Rambling Don, Thursday 10th October 2019


Mike T:  Great blog.  Suspect most of it was written before we rambled.  No mention of the amazing Ramble On by Led Zepplin.

Tony:  Interesting report- have you been smoking something?  I'll have what you've had!!

John Self:  That was quick!  Your years of practice have made you snappy with these reports. I labour for days myself.  Of course I am more than happy for you to write about Rainy Day Rambles.  I put it out there for anyone to make use of as they wish.

Robin: Brilliant report!  Should you include Lous Armstrongs's wonderful Muskrat Ramble, recorded nearly 100 years ago?

Don:  Thanks, Boys.  Nothing smoked, just the beer at the Derby Arms.  And a bit of pre-preparation of a report waiting for a rainy day!  Another Rambling missed was that by Rose.  Nat King Cole.  Plus Ewan McColl's Manchester Rambler and the legendary Robert Johnson's Rambling On My mind.

Do you have any comments or questions?

If so, please click on .  We look forward to hearing from you.  If you do NOT want your comments to appear on this website, please say so otherwise we will assume that we have your permission for publication in whatever responsible manner we consider appropriate.  Alternatively you can leave a comment on Facebook.

If you would like to become a BOOTboys Follower click on to let us know and you will receive automatic notification of new reports.



Comitibus:  Mike T, Mike B, Tony, Don

Map: OS 1:25k


BB1933 : Rainy Day Rambling


Thursday 10th October 2019




Don, Mike B, Mike T, Tony

Distance in miles (Garmin):


Height climbed in feet (OMN):


GPX track



If you want to follow The BOOTboys let us know and you will receive automatic notification of new BOOTboys reports.   Click on to contact us.  BOOTboys are also on Facebook

For the index pages of our various earlier outings click on the relevant link below:



















Photos have been gleaned from many sources although mostly from me and other BOOTboys. 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.

BOOTboys 2019

E-mail addresses on this web site are protected by Email Riddler

Spam Trawlers will be further frustrated by  Spam Blocker: help fight spam e-mail!

 BOOTboys© is a Lakeland Enterprise production brought to you by

Comitibus Communications©