BB0726 Wrinklies on Crinklies and the Return to Hell!

or, Not a Week for a Vista

Thursday 30th August 2007

The weather forecast went off as the week progressed and we were threatened with valley fog and low cloud.  Our objectives were Pike o’Blisco and Crinkle Crags, both fells concerning which AW raves about the vista.  But we could not rely on any vista satisfaction today.  However, that just about summed up my week, only in my case it was Microsoft Vista which was giving me no satisfaction and about which all I will say, for now, is if you can avoid it- avoid it like the plague and stick with XP if that works for you.  There, I’ve got that off my chest!

Upper Great Langdale Valley; mist gathering over the Crinkles and Bowfell

Before setting off I reread the last BB visits to these hills- BB0505 and BB0506.  

Bryan had described Pike o’Blisco as a “brute of a climb” and we had nearly come to grief on the ice scrambles.  

I did not do Crinkle Crags last time so was somewhat apprehensive about the Bad Step- especially as AW describes it as the most difficult obstacle to be overcome on regular walkers’ paths in Lakeland.  So there was a degree of trepidation in me as we left the ODG car park.

Pike o'Blisco from the car park

Initially the weather seemed good.  But it soon started to close in.  The climb up to the road past Wall End and then onto the fell was unrelenting.  Stan set a cracking pace.  He complained that he was not feeling too good and didn’t want to hold anyone up. 

Hmmm! I was only just hanging on to his boot heels and was in no position to call his bluff.  

Mist gathering on the Crinkles

As we approached the summit, the fun started.  A succession of gullies which provided great, safe, scrambling this time and then out onto the top, which was in mist although there were glimpses of views down Great Langdale and across to the Crinkles.

After a coffee stop we decided to take in a bonus peak- Cold Pike which was relatively easily attained (Stan had slowed down rather by now).

From here we headed for the Crinkle motorway and set off into the mist. For some reason, possibly associated with Wrinklies, I kept thinking of them as Crinklies which in turn reminded me of the Bumblies in the early days of television- strange creatures from outer space that slept on Michael Bentine’s ceiling and were known by their number. Bumblie 3 was always my favourite.

In this sort of weather it is easy to lose track of how many Crinklies, sorry, Crinkles, you have been up but there was no mistaking Crinkle Number 2.  

On the way down off the first, all of a sudden a massive (and I mean massive) shape suddenly loomed out of the mist.

My immediate thoughts were “Oh my God, we’re not going up there are we?”

Near the foot were several people queuing to attempt the bad step.

I have to say I think its reputation is over rated.

The Great Step in Mist

Firstly, thankfully, there is no exposure. Secondly, whilst it is an awkward scramble, two steps and a heave and you are past the worst part.  Gordale Scar presents a more challenging obstacle.-see BB0621.

From the top of Crinkle Two (the highest) we took a diversion along towards Long Top. However when I observed that there was a little tarn, Stan realised that there ought not be one on our route so out came the maps.  And compasses.  And a BootBoy first- we actually checked the GPS reading against the map.  Back on track we knocked off the remaining Crinkles and then, at 2 p.m., stopped for lunch.  The “Tony” award for the last person not to complain of being hungry goes, inevitably, to Bryan.

Landale Valley emerging

Wrinklies on Crinklies

After lunch, the mist was starting to lift and a decision was called for.  To head off home or to take in Bowfell which was looking remarkably enticing?  As we did not need it for our W tally and it was already quite a long outing, we decided on the descent.  

Bowfell, Langdale Pikes, Great Langdale Valley and Pike o'Blisco

We made our way down over what was really a Crinklette and then direttissimo to the path on Buscoe Sike, thereby cutting off a corner.  At this point Stan chided me for going too slow and then explained, sotto voce, that there were a couple of guys in running shoes that had tried to burn us off but we had taken them by surprise with the short cut. They were pig sick about this but they must not be allowed to pull back the advantage we had gained.  So off we set at a half run until we had secured our lead.  I can’t believe we still do things like that.  I’m an old man with an arthritic hip, for heaven's sake!

Soon the stream drops into a deep and long ravine and I was fearful that Stan was going to do the same as he refused to use the beautifully laid (if somewhat too sloping forward) stone path and insisted on staying on the slippery grass where he was having trouble keeping upright.  Bryan observed that it was the sort of path where it was advantageous to use two poles.  One to carry your bag, the other to pour you a drink.

Hell Gill with Pike o'Blisco behind

Hell Gill plunge pool

The ravine is known as Hell Gill and you can understand why.  It is emerges by waterfall into a lovely plunge pool where for a moment we thought Julia Bradbury might be taking a dip but sadly for John L., if she were there I was unable to see her to take her photo for him.  Graham would have liked it however.  Straight in, no bother.

Looking back up to the Crinkles

Pike o'Stickle and Harrison Stickle

As we reached the valley bottom, the cloud had very much burned off and it was a glorious summer afternoon, the Langdales, in particular, gleaming in the sun.  The flowers at Stool End Farm (with washing!) looked magnificent but what morose farmers we encountered.  Most farmers, we find, are pleased to give you the time of day but these guys could not raise a single flutter of recognition between them.

Stool End Farm  with washing!

Stool End Farm garden

Personally, I was glad we had opted out of adding Bowfell as this was just about enough for me but then Bryan revealed that it was actually his favourite mountain.  Sorry, Bryan!

I think Pike o'Blisco is a contender for mine.

Don, 30th August 2007

Distance: 8.3 miles (Harveys / Anquet))

Height climbed: 3,678 feet (Harveys / Anquet)

Wainwrights:  Pike o'Blisco, Cold Pike, Crinkle Crags

For the latest totals of the Lakeland Fell Books see: Wainwrights.  By a strange coincidence, Stan and I both have exactly 100 left to do.  Tony 124 and Bryan just 17.

If anyone wants to claim other peaks, please let me know and I will submit them to the adjudication committee!



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Bryan has kindly produced a log of which Wainwrights have been done by which Bootboy in the "modern" era, i.e. since the advent of Bootboys.  

To download the Excel file click on Wainwrights.  

If anyone wants to claim other peaks, please let me know and I will submit them to the adjudication committee!


BOOT boys

This page describes a 2007 adventure of BOOTboys, 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.

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!

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