Eagle-eyed readers will have spotted that Bryan has not been out with us for several weeks now and maybe wondered what had happened to him.  I am pleased to report that all is well with him, it's our chosen days that have not fitted in with his domestic schedule.

However, he has not been inactive.  Those with long memories will recall his intention to complete a Wainwright book in a month.  His initial plan was to tackle the Eastern Fells and the first part of that attempt was recorded in BB1213.  Circumstances worked against completion that time but Bryan is not one to give up on a project.  

Here is his tale of success.


A Book In A Month

Looking after our two grandchildren has prevented me getting out on BOOTboys walks over the past couple of months. Combine that with the apathy resulting from the dreadful summer weather meant I had failed to build on my summer exertions in the Alps and had gone backwards in terms of fitness.

In these circumstances I find I need a challenge to get me moving.

Back in the 80s the fellrunners at Provincial came up with the idea of running round all the fells in a Wainwright book in a single day.

A "book in a day" was clearly out of the question but maybe I could do one in a calendar month? I settled on the 36 Wainwrights that make up Book 2 – The Far Eastern Fells. What follows is an account of that attempt.


Tuesday 2nd October – Making a start

My first free day of the month. I can hear the rain being blown against the window. Give it a miss? Tempting, but there’s fells to do. So I set off for Hartsop. The back road from Ings to Troutbeck was barely passable with the standing water, and the mist was thick as I crossed Kirkstone Pass.

Today was to be a short, sharp day. Not too far but with plenty of climbing - a circuit of Pasture Beck taking in 4 Ws.

Once over Hartsop Dodd I spent much of the day in the clag; Caudale Moor proving to be particularly interesting navigation – never had to get the compass out though!

The wind was howling as I descended over Gray Crag, and several times I had to stop and crouch down to avoid being blown off my feet. But all in all a good start.

6.34 miles with 2,649ft of ascent in 3hrs 29mins


Tuesday 9th October – Bring me sunshine

The weather had shown signs of improving so Steve, Malcolm and myself gave the new bikes a 30 mile outing around the Lakes on the Monday. Returning home feeling a bit tired Liz tells me Tony Mercer and Stuart Hinton have both rung asking if I fancied a day on the hills.

With an excellent forecast it seemed too good a chance to miss, so early next morning Tony drove us round to the church just above Howtown. The mist was low in the valley and visibility was poor – it looked like we’d picked the wrong place. But as we climbed our first top – Hallin Fell – we popped out above the mist into a glorious day.

After descending Hallin Fell we had a steep climb up to Bonscale Pike, the effort being made a little easier by the tremendous views created by the mist.

On the way to Arthur’s Pike Tony and I encountered a man with a large aerial sticking out of his haversack. He told us that he was member of WOTA (Wainwrights On The Air) and had just been broadcasting from Arthur’s Pike.

They are amateur radio enthusiasts. And they have a website - http://www.wota.org.uk/  

Two weeks later Liz and I were doing Top O’Selside (an Outlying Fell above Coniston) when we came across four lads with even bigger aerials and I could now confidently ask “Are you with WOTA” and have some understanding of the reply!

The rest of the day went pleasantly enough and another 6 W’s were in the bag….

9.96  miles with 2,584ft of ascent in 6hrs 6mins


Friday 12th October – A Dozen in a Day

Friday is usually my day at the Climbing Wall in winter, but Dave cried off on Thursday evening. It seemed a shame to waste the day so I decided on an early start and see where the mood takes me. I left the car at Church Bridge in Troutbeck at 8am and headed up towards Sour Howes and the first W of the day.

It was a cool, breezy day with the odd short shower – not a day conducive to stopping, so I was glad I hadn’t put my stove in the bag. I made my way to Sallows before dropping to the Garburn Pass and then traversing the Yoke; Ill Bell; Froswick trio.

Then it was the first decision – should I go straight on to High Street or make the diversion to pick up Mardale Ill Bell? I opted for the diversion before flogging back to High Street. Next decision – carry on or go down?

I pressed on and picked up The Knott; Rampsgill Head and High Raise, all the time conscious that I was getting ever further away from the car! Remarkably it was not until High Raise that I encountered any other people that day

A look at Rest Dodd and the Nab from High Raise ruled them out so I finally turned for home picking up Kidsty Pike as I went. Then it was back over High Street and down the Roman Road into Troutbeck. I can now confirm to Mike and James that it is definitely easier descending this way than going up it!

But the day wasn’t yet finished. Troutbeck Tongue was calling me and so over it I went. A bigger day than I intended but I felt surprisingly fresh at the end……

19.43 miles with 4,708ft of ascent in 8hrs 12mins


Saturday 20th October – A Stag Day

Woke up on Saturday morning regretting deciding to have the last pint the previous evening in the Eagle and Child – good beer, good atmosphere, good company, bad head!

But I was running out of days so I finally got out of bed and set off, arriving at Bridgend (near Brothers Water) at 11 o’clock. This was going to be a hard day!

I flogged up to the top of Place Fell in the mist feeling pretty rough most of the way. Today was to be a day of "out and backs" and lower down I could look out across to my next top – Beda Fell. It looked a long way.

As I descended I heard the unmistakeable sound of a rutting stag and sure enough a hundred feet below me were 2 stags and a group of a dozen or so hinds. They disappeared as quickly as they’d come into view but the rest of the day was to be accompanied by the seemingly constant sound of rutting stags in the Martindale Deer Forest

At Beda Fell I got the stove out and had a couple of cups of tea before retracing my steps and heading for Angletarn Pikes. This was to be my only stop of the day as I started to become aware of the rapid passing of time. I had no headtorch and so was mentally calculating cut-off times for getting back down.

The trudge through the peat bogs out to the Nab was worse than ever following all the rain so I had to pick up the pace even more. But as I approached Brock Crags I stopped in my tracks as I saw the classic silhouette of a stag on the skyline.

I pressed on and finally reached the car at 5:40pm with less than half an hour to spare before dark and another 6 Ws done. A hard day but made better by the rut – definitely a place to go in late October.

14.5 miles with 3,791ft of ascent in 6hrs 32mins


Monday 29th October – Little Einsteins

Another early start today as I park up at Sadgill in Longsleddale to do the round of the tops above the valley. It turns out to be a good decision as the early moring mist begins to break up and the sun comes out for the first couple of Ws – Grey Crag and Tarn Crag.

In thick mist these 2 would be tricky to find but with the weather clearing I found Grey Crag easily and confidently strode off to the fence following it towards the column on top of Tarn Crag. Except when I got there I knew it wasn’t Tarn Crag it was the cairn on the top of Harrop Pike!

Traversing across through endless peat bogs recovered the situation and I was soon trudging along the seemingly endless stretch from Tran Crag to Branstree and Selside Pike. As I wandered along I found myself completely unable to stop singing in my head the tune from a Disney children’s program The Little Einsteons….

When I did manage to stop it I moved on to the music from !Special Agent Oso!. This is what happens when you are child minding two days a week!

In desperation I got the ipod out and listened to two episodes of the Archers Omnibus -  some would say I’d be better off with Little Einsteins!

The weather closed in and the rest of the day was spent in drizzly mist as I returned over the Harter Fell ridge back to Longsleddale. Another 7 W’s ticked off.

13.4 miles with 3,539ft of ascent in 6hrs 24mins


Tuesday 30th October –Reel ‘em in

One final fell to do- Wansfell Pike. I had thought of doing a night ascent but the forecast for the next two days is poor; or perhaps take one of the grandchildren up but again the weather wasn’t conducive.

So in the end I decided to see how fast I could do it.

I parked in the car park near Hayes and set off up the road alongside Stockghyll. It was half term so there were a lot of people about and once I started the climb I began to use them as targets – "reeling ’em in" as Don calls it.

I was on top 42mins after leaving the car and so had finished all 36 Wainwright’s in the Far Eastern Fells with a day to spare.

3.58 miles with 1,329ft of ascent in 1 hour 16 mins

It was a good challenge – 67 miles and 18,600ft in all. Coupled with 91 miles on the bike plus 2 outings on the Outlying Fells and I am beginning to feel a bit fitter!

Bryan, 30th October 2012

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BOOT boys

 These pages describe
adventures of
a loose group of friends
of mature years who enjoy defying the aging process
by getting out into the hills
as often as possible!

As most live in South Lakeland, it is no surprise that our focus is on the Lakeland fells and the Yorkshire Dales.

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To see larger versions of
these and Bryan's other photos, mostly with
identifyoing captions
click on


To see larger versions of
these and Bryan's other photos, mostly with
identifyoing captions
click on