BB0739  Ticking Off Langdales

Wednesday 19th December 2007

“Looks like too good a day to miss.”  So said Martin, hastily rearranging his appointments.  He added, “What is the point of being self-employed if you can’t get out on a day like this?”  Quite.  Other self-employed Bootboys please note!

However it was by no means certain that your scribe would actually get out.  I should explain that I had been training Tony-style.  In other words, lunchtime o’booze in Chester followed by a night out at the Highwayman in Tunstall.  The net result was that at 4:30 a.m. I was awoken by three concurrent crises: a bladder ready to burst, a calf crippled with cramp and a gut that was overwhelmed with ‘orrible indigestion.

I addressed the first two and went back to sleep only to wake an hour later to find the third had redoubled its intensity.  I thought about hobbling downstairs (my calf still ached from the cramp) to find some Gavascon but feared the movement would trigger a conversation with God on the big white telephone so lay still while the crisis passed.  You will therefore understand why it was with no great confidence that I set out!

The view from  the Low Wood Hotel

The day was magnificent as were the views, with Windermere and then Elterwater so still and the air so clear.  We parked at the New Dungeon Ghyll National Trust car park and set off up Stickle Ghyll.

Initially I was going much better than I had any right to expect but after half an hour or so of solid climbing, I did feel the energy tanks getting low. However, reaching Stickle Tarn helped me forget about such considerations.  It was partly frozen and the liquid portions were absolutely motionless, offering splendid reflections of Harrison Stickle and Pavey Ark.

Approaching the Langdales

Tony's picture of Don taking the picture below

Harrison Stickle

Pavey Ark

Stan offered to take us up Jack’s Rake but we declined such generosity and elected instead for what Bryan called Easy Gully but I knew as North Rake- much simpler, not exposed but rather longer than I remembered.  Towards the top it started to get icy in parts (it’s not called North Rake for nothing) and I wondered whether to unleash my secret weapon; however, I decided to keep it packed away for the time being. 

Windermere from Pavey Ark

Team Photo on Pavey Ark

Once we had claimed Pavey Ark summit, we stopped for lunch- or in my case, for a bad attack of the hiccups.  As there were quite a lot of icy patches around, I decided it was time to experiment with the secret weapon and withdrew my Grivel Spiders from their bag. These are nothing more than two pieces of yellow plastic, one to be strapped to each boot and each having ten small metal spikes. Not quite instep crampons, more like instep hobnails.  Once you have them on, you hardly notice them until you have to cross ice where they give you a considerable amount of grip.  So it was with this added reassurance that I confidently set off to Thunacarr Knott over terrain that was, at times, causing others some difficulty.

Scawfell to Skiddaw from Thurnacrr Knott

I had thought that I needed Thunacarr Knott for my Central Fells badge but on approaching it I realised that I/we must have done it on the Christmas 2003 visit to the Langdales.  However as that precedes Bootboys, it probably ought not count!

From Thunacarr Knott we turned around and headed for Pike o’Stickle.  As we got closer, being in the lead thanks to my supergrip footwear, I had to identify the way up this rock fortress.  I found what I thought was a path circling round to the right and this led to an interesting scramble- indeed it might even be graded as an easy rock climb.  Here I found that the "crunchers", as I have termed my Grivel Spiders, actually got in the way somewhat.  They did not prevent the summit being attained but, fortunately, I discovered an easier way down.

Harrison Stickle from  Pike o'Stickle

Glaramara from  Pike o'Stickle

Gimmer Crag

Pike o'Stickle from  Loft Crag

Next we climbed the rather simpler Loft Crag.  There was a nice little sunny platform out of the wind where we ate the remains of our lunches (hiccup-free this time).  Tony never ceases to amaze me. Here was a guy who is as wimpish as I am about exposure, almost having to be physically restrained from going back to the scree gully so that he could explore the stone age axe factory!

We had intended to round off the excursion with a visit to Harrison Stickle but the sun was getting low in the sky, the top of the path down Dungeon Ghyll was already in the shade so we decided to leave that, for those who need it, for a later day.

The path refound the sun and traversed round below Harrison Stickle.  Although it is quite wide there are some severe drops not far off to your right.  I was finding the crunchers a bit of an encumbrance on the rocks so I took them off.  Only to find, inevitably, an ice patch ten yards further on!  However, it was a one-off and there was no more ice to speak of until almost down into the valley.  Having negotiated this ice without problem (or crunchers) the path became dry and sound so I pressed on, admiring the silhouette of Side Pike on the other side of the valley when the ground vanished from beneath me and I found myself sliding along on my backside.  I managed to alert the others to the danger but no sooner had they safely found a different way round than a man in a bright orange cagoule did exactly what I had done.  Strangely he didn’t find it any comfort to be told that!

Steamy boot!

There is little else to report except that when I took my boots off there was so much steam escaping that Stan reckoned you could boil an egg in them.  

And so ends BB0739 and, possibly, the Bootboys year?

Don, 19th December 2007


Distance: 5.6 miles  (Garmin/ Memory Map)

Height climbed: 2,510 feet (Anquet)

Wainwrights:  Pavey Ark, Thurnacarr Knott, Pike o'Stickle, Loft Crag

For the latest totals of the mileages, heights and Lakeland Fells Books Wainwrights see: Wainwrights.

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



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BOOT boys


Home Page







2007 Outings

  • BB0701 Loughrigg - the GPS test
  • BB0702 Whinfell- Castle Craggs
  • BB0703 Wansfell Pike or the Stockghyll picnic
  • BB0704 BOOTboys Cancelled Day plus High Altitude Report
  • BB0705 Out of the Mist and into the Cloud
  • BB0706 Cockups and much much more
  • BB0707 Equipment testing day - High Rigg
  • BB0708 Seat Sandal
  • BB0709 Circling Hollow Moor
  • BB0710 Latterbarrow
  • BB0711 Eagle Crag and Sergeant's Crag
  • BB0712 Bakestall, Great Calva and the Great Divide
  • BB0713 Helvellyn- the range; North to South
  • BB0714 Ease Gill to Great Coum
  • BB0715 Stone Arthur, Fairfield and Apocolypse Now
  • BB0716 Caudale Moor and Hartsop Dodd
  • BB0717 High and Low Rigg or maybe a Rival?
  • BB0718 Oh No!  Not Steel Fell Again?
  • BB0719 Mad Dogs and Easedale Tarn, Codale and Tarn Crag
  • BB0720 An English Munro:  Helvellyn via Catstycam
  • BB0721 Levers Water Circuit
  • BB0722 By Steamer to Hallin and Place Fells
  • BB0723 The Dove and The Deep Dales Round
  • BB0724 Wainwright's Worst Wet Walks!
  • BB0725 To Hell in a Bucket.  And Back!!!
  • BB0726 Wrinklies on the Crinklies and the Return to Hell!
  • BB0727 BOG OFF- Pen-y-Ghent & Whernside
  • BB0728 Shipman Knotts and Half a Horseshoe
  • BB0729 Pikeawassa and the Fusedale Round
  • BB0730 A Gray Day
  • BB0731 Another Gray Day
  • BB0732 Gable and a Great Deal More
  • BB0733 To Monroe or Not to Monroe?
  • BB0734 Nabbing the Nab
  • BB0735 Helm Crag and a Question of Ethics
  • BB0736 Gowbarrow Fell and Glenridding Dodd
  • BB0737 Middle Dodd and Red Screes
  • BB0738  An Adventure and a Test
  • BB0739  Ticking Off Langdales
  • BB0740 The Calf Revisited



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



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!

If you want to contact us, click on