BH070809: On The Buses

For the first time in many weeks the weather forecast showed 2 consecutive days of sunshine, so a splendid BootBoys day was in prospect. But it was not to be. Don was in Wales, Stan cried off early, and finally Tony too admitted defeat. So what to do?

I had a plan for a 2 day ‘expedition’ which involved an overnight stay at the remote Black Sail Youth Hostel (6 miles from the nearest road) so this seemed the ideal opportunity, particularly when I managed to get a space at the Hostel due to a last minute cancellation.

The plan also involved using public transport and so it was that I was stood at the end of the road waiting to catch the 8 a.m. 555 bus to Keswick. This ran to time and I arrived with 5 minutes to spare for the connecting bus which took me down the Newlands valley and to the top of Honister Pass.

Great Gable from  tarn on Fleetwith Pike

A glorious day then followed.  I went over to Fleetwith Pike first before retracing my steps through the quarry workings (as seen recently on the Griff Rhys Jones program on BBC) and cutting up to Grey Knotts.

I met a couple there who told me they were heading for Scafell Pike. I was impressed until he pointed out the direction he was heading – he was indicating the Pillar group! I explained where Scafell was, suggested an alternative, then headed off to Brandreth.

From there I contoured around the head of Gillercomb to pick up Base Brown then joined to masses for the climb over Green Gable and Windy Gap to the summit of Great Gable.

Pillar group and Ennerdale from Green Gable

View to Langdale Pikes from Great Gable

The sun was out and I sat and had lunch. It was an interesting half hour. It never ceases to amaze me how people get up hills like Gable and, more importantly, get down again in one piece.

One particular group of 4 adults and 5 kids (youngest no more than 5 or 6 years old) were sat discussing how to get down to Wasdale. They decided that heading straight for it was the obvious way – straight over the crags! They set off and, sure enough 10 minutes later re-appeared with one of the mothers demanding that her husband “ask someone that knows what they’re doing”!

Then in the space of a couple of minutes the sun disappeared and mist rolled in. Visibility went down to 10 metres or so. Moments later I was visited by the man I had met on Grey Knotts (the one going to Scafell). He wanted to know how to get back to Honister. I sent him off to Windy Gap and down on to the Moses Trod route back. Whether he ever got there I’ll never know!

As for me I headed off to Beck Head down the loose boulder and scree. Last time I went down there it was reasonable, but the scree is now run out and it was very steep and loose. I did a bit more ‘guiding’ as I helped a young couple get down this stretch (the girl was very unnerved by the way that the whole boulder field kept moving).

Then it was on over Kirkfell in glorious sunshine again and on down Black Sail pass to the Hostel.

I had a splendid night there. It’s a smashing place at the head of Ennerdale with a ‘kitchen/diner’ and 3 ‘bedrooms’. It’s so popular that one couple were staying there for 2 nights on their honeymoon.

The wardens provided an excellent 3 course meal (wine and beer was also available) and a cooked breakfast the following morning. This, and my bed for the night, cost me the princely sum of £27.

Evening at Black Sail Hostel

The following day dawned sunny and clear as I set off up Scarth Gap and on over Haystacks. I continued past the summit and sat by the side of Inominate Tarn, the location for the scattering of Wainwright’s ashes.

Inominate Tarn

Haystacks and Gable from near summit of High Crag

Team photo on High Stile summit

Then it was back to Scarth Gap before the big climb to the top of High Crag.

The ridge walk from there along High Crag to Red Pike is a great trip, particularly on a day such as this with superb views all around.

After an early lunch on Red Pike I descended to join the sunbathers at Bleaberry Tarn and finally completing the descent to Buttermere in time for a pint at the Fish Hotel before catching the bus back to Keswick and finally Kendal.

Bryan, 9th August 2007



Day 1

Day 2


9.75 miles


Height climbed




Fleetwith Pike,
Grey Knotts, Brandreth
Base Brown
Green Gable, Great Gable, Kirkfell

Haystacks, High Crag,
High Stile, Red Pike

For the latest totals see: Wainwrights.


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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!

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