Normally a solo effort would not qualify as an official BOOTboys walk.  However given all the games of e-mail chicken that have been played lately during this period of dire weather, Bryan deserves such status for today's magnificent (or should that be "mad"?) effort.  His report reads:

BB0702 Whinfell- Castle Fell

Friday 12th January 2007

The weather forecast was pretty grim..... "Winds - Westerly 50 to 65mph, gusts in excess of 90mph. Continued very severe conditions, with any mobility virtually impossible on some higher ridges and summits. Severe wind chill. Heavy rain - Rain may well fall for most of day."

The rational thing to do therefore was to have another day at home in front of a nice warm fire listening to the wind howling outside. What did I do - got in the car and drove up the A6 to Hucks Bridge to have a run along the Whinfell ridge! Crazy! But for me there's a perverse kind of pleasure to be had from being out in the hills in bad weather. You get a real sense of the raw power of nature; and hills that in normal conditions are quite tame suddenly require all the mental toughness and skills normally reserved for the real mountains. And so it turned out.

The weather was dry'ish when I set off but the top of the ridge was hidden by cloud which was being driven along by a very strong wind. The intial climb was a bit sheltered but the ground underfoot was completely saturated. Approaching the first top - Castle Fell - I began to feel the strength of the wind. I stopped just short of the top to take the team photo, a good decision as when I reached the cairn I was fully exposed to the force of the gale and had to adopt a semi-crouched position to make progress.

Team  photo

The route was easy to follow as the path was almost a boggy river for much of the way. The descent down the little crag part way along was a bit treacherous with water pouring down it and required some care to ensure I didn't slip (I suspect I wouldn't see any potential rescuers up there on a day like this!). On reaching the small hut/shelter I dived in for a quick break before carrying on to the top of the final climb overlooking the masts.

I turned round at this point to retrace my steps. The wind had strengthened further and stinging rain was driving straight into my face. But I was actually enjoying myself. I trotted along merrily ignoring it all and raced down the final slope and back to the car. An exhilerating morning out. Must do it again some time.

Bryan, 12th January 2007


Webmaster's Comments:  Had breakfast in bed as the wife had to get up early to have her hair done.  Listened to the wind howling outside.  Got up late.  Faffed around on the computer for a while. Carried the dog out into the yard for a pee.  Carried her back in out of the gale as soon as she had finished. Had a coffee, read the papers. Listened to the wind howling outside. Wife returned with lunch which was eaten round the fire. Listened to the wind howling outside.  Fell asleep watching TOTP2- Jethro Tull and Dire Straits. Woke up to an hour of Top Gear.  Carried the dog out into the yard for a pee.  Carried her back in out of the gale as soon as she had finished.  Went back to computer to faff around some more. Listened to the wind howling outside. Had a coffee.   Received Bryan's report.  Did I feel envious?  Answers on a postcard (restricted to 5 words).

Don, 12th January 2007


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BOOT boys

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Click on the photos for an enlargement or related large picture.

This page describes a 2007 adventure of BOOTboys, a loose group of friends of mature years who enjoy defying the ageing 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.

As for the name, BOOTboys, it does not primarily derive from an item of footwear but is in memory of Big Josie, the erstwhile landlady of the erstwhile Burnmoor Inn at Boot in Eskdale, who enlivened Saint Patrick's Day 1973 and other odd evenings many years ago!

If you want to contact us, click on BOOTboys