BB0839 : Why Mungrisedale Common?

Wednesday 10th December 2008

Hot news!  BOOTboys go Global!

Tim from Los Angeles read about us in the Menton Daily Photo, visited our website and asked to be added to our "list of fans"!  So, spurred on by our gathering fame, our distribution list has now been retitled, The BOOTboys Inter-continental Fan Club.

Mind you, today, for one of us- namely me, it was nearly BOOTLESSboy!

I had taken my Brashers back to the shop because they were leaking, so they had to be sent back to the manufacturer for testing. My other pair I had left in France.  Today, a stout pair of boots would be essential therefore action was needed.  I saw some interesting ones on the Field & Trek website so I tried to phone the Kendal shop to see if they had them in stock.  The website had no number for Kendal, just one for an appalling centralised robotic system with garbled instructions. An adenoidal lady assured me that my call was important to them.  Of course it was  The longer they held me in a queue, the more money they made from the phone charges!  Fed up of waiting, I took the option to leave a message,  pressed 1 and was then told there was no one there to take a message, please put it in writing!  What?????????  Have they not heard of an answerphone?  No wonder Newcastle United is in trouble.  I was almost glad, when I went into the shop, to find they did not have the advertised boots.  Instead I went elsewhere and bought a pair of Scarpas and became a BOOTboy again!

Our objective today was Mungrisedale Common to which many sane thinking people might ask, “Why?”

It is ironic that the only reason we were going there is because it is featured in Wainwright’s Northern Fells book, yet he described it as having little to provide even a passing interest for an ordinary walker and nothing at all to encourage a visit!  But we were back, after far too long thanks to the awful summer, on the mission to complete all his Lakeland Fells.

To add spice to the day’s outing we were first going to climb Blencathra.  However, short days and long distances meant an early start for the drive to the car park by the Blencathra Centre- once a sanatorium for tuberculosis patients but now a field study centre.  

The path up Blease Fell was, thankfully, very serpentine, thereby converting what might have been a terrible slog into pleasant exercise with stunning panoramic views.  We saw the sun rise over Helvellyn.  

Sunrise over Helvellyn, click for full panorama

The skies were cloudier than expected and it was very cold. 

Higher and colder

As we climbed, the day brightened but the arctic wind grew stronger.  

Nearing the snow line

Soon we were above the snow line.  

Skiddaw to Blencathra with Mungrisedale Common, centre stage.  Click!

As the tops of Blencathra came into view, they disappeared again in swirling mist.  

Nearing Blencathra summit, Stan waits.....

.... for Tony and Bryan

A team photo was taken at the lower summit (the same place as in BB0627) and Bryan claimed the higher summit for Stella Artois!

Blencathra team  picture

Bryan plants the Stella Artois flag!

The mist continued to swirl. It was quite icy in places and I put on my Grivel Spiders, which greatly increased my confidence.  How the others managed without crampons I don’t know but they seemed untroubled.

The mist swirls and Tony starts to vanish!

Don, Stan, Skiddaw and Mingrisedale Common

Although on Blencathra there had been many footprints to be seen, no-one had been down to Mungrisedale Common.  We were pioneering trails in the snow. As we descended, we briefly saw a Brocken Spectre.  It only lasted for a couple of seconds, then reappeared even more fleetingly shortly afterwards.  It is the first I have seen since BB0603 but then as Bryan says, some fellwalkers go a lifetime without seeing one.

Summit is not the right term for the highest point of Mungrisedale Common.  To quote again from Wainwright, any one of a thousand tufts of bent and cotton grass could lay claim to crowing the highest point of the plateau forming the summit.  However there is now a mini cairn that serves as well as anywhere for that purpose.

By now, Tony was, predictably, aching for his lunch; not only was it gone noon but the early start meant he had skimped on breakfast.  However, I had had a bright idea.  Or so I thought.  Lunch, I announced, should be taken at Skiddaw House.  If it is open we can go into its warmth.  If not, we will at least find a sunny spot in which to shelter from the wind.

The descent to Skiddaw House took us rather longer than expected.  Stan was clearly in a hurry for food as he pressed on at a tremendous rate, rather belying his description of how he felt after a night out on the ale.  

Skiddaw House in the trees

The Stake

On the way we found a strange four-sided marker stone.  On each side, there were two initials and a number.  The clearly visible one said I L 7.  I can’t remember what the others said but it seemed be some sort of boundary stone.  Subsequent research found various writers, including AW, referring to it as The Stake and that it marked the watershed but, so far, no comment has been found about the inscriptions.

By the time we reached Skiddaw House, we expected that Stan would have been in and prepared bacon butties for us.  Or at least a vat of soup,  Sadly, however, we found him sat outside, in the shade and in the wind.  

The view from a shady Skiddaw House to a sunny Great Calva.

We- sorry, I- had chosen to eat at just about the only place on the mountain that was not in sun and it was difficult to escape the still cold wind.  It didn’t stop us eating there.

Sunny Mingrisedale Common and still misty on top Blencathra from Skiddaw House

Returning down the Cumbria Way after lunch, we realised that we need only have gone about 50 yards to find a nice warm sunny hollow where we could have had a luxuriant break.

Originally, we had toyed with the idea of returning via Latrigg.  Three of us needed it but Bryan is saving one fell out of each of the seven books to complete the lot in one outing- or perhaps a seven fell swoop might be a better description!  Latrigg could wait.  Instead we crossed over to the other side of the Great Divide and followed the easy trail back to the car.

The Great Divide

The Derwent Water skyline in the evening sun

Mission accomplished, one more Wainwright knocked off and, I am pleased to report, the new boots had performed admirably.

After stopping to capture an evening view of our ascent route on Blease Fell, we returned to Kendal to discover something that will delight daughter Emma for the upcoming festive season.

Blease Fell

Festive Niddrieness!

A monstrous example of what she would call Niddrieness!

Don, 10th December 2008



10th December 2008


9.1 miles

Height climbed:

2,474 feet


Blencathra, Mungrisedale Common

Other Key Features:

The Stake, Skiddaw House, Brocken Spectre


If you have Memory Map on your computer, you can follow our route in detail by downloading BB0839.

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

This page describes an 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 .

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2008 Outings

  • BB0801 :
    Avoiding the Graupel;  
    Wednesday 16 January
  • BB0802 :
    Lyth in the Old Dogs;
    Tuesday 22 January
  • BB0803 :
    That's Lyth;
    Sunday 27 January
  • BB0804 :
    Tony's Memory Lane;
    Wednesday 30th January
  • BB0805 :
    Fell's Belles!
    Thank You Mells
    Wednesday 6th February  
  • BB0806 :
    The Langdale Skyline
    and a Fell Race!
    Wednesday 13th February
  • BB0807a:
    An Outbreak of Common Sense;
    Thursday 21st February
  • BB0807b:
    Askham Fell and
    the Lowther Estate;
    Thursday 13th March
  • BB0808
    Thanks to the MWIS
    Wednesday 19th March
  • BB0809 :  
    High Street and Kidsty Pike
    but no Fairy
    Friday 28th March
  • BB0810 :  
    Prelude to Spring
    Wednesday 2nd April
  • BB0811 :  
    Spring in Lakeland
    Sunday 6th April
  • BB0812 :  
    Wet, Wet, Wet Sleddale to Mosedale Cottage
    Thursday 10th April
  • BB0813 :  
    What's It All About, Tony?
    Thursday 17th April
  • BB0814 :  
    The Hidden Mountain
    Tuesday 22nd April
  • BB0815 :  
    The Bowland CROW
    Thursday 1st May
  • BB0816 :  
    High Cup Nick:
    The Gurt La'al Canyon
    Wednesday 7th May
  • BB0817 :  
    Travelling Light
    Wednesday 14th May
  • BB0818 :  
    Pensioners’ Day Out
    Thursday 22nd May
  • BB0819 :  
    The Northern Tip
    Thursday 29th May
  • BB0820 :  
    The Bannisdale Horseshoe
    Wednesday 11th June
  • BB0821 :  
    Black, White or Grey Combe?
    Thursday 19th June
  • BB0822
    Thunder on the 555
    Thursday 3rd July
  • BB0823
    We'll Give It Five
    Thursday 10th July
  • BB0824 :
    Shelters from the Storm
    Thursday 17th July
  • BB0825 :
    The Big Wind-Up
    Wednesday 23rd July
  • BB0826 :
    Tony’s Third (and wettest) Alfie
    Wedmesday 30th July
  • BB0827 :
    A Visit to Mud Hall
    Tuesday 19th August
  • BB0828 :
    The Tale of Randy Gill
    Tuesday 27th August
  • BB0829 : Mosedale Cottage Revisited
    Wednesday 3rd September
  • BB0830 : Mist Over Pendle
    Wednesday 10th September
  • BB0831 : Luncheon Chez Monty
    Thursday 2nd October
  • BB0832 : Escape from the Madness
    Thursday 9th October
  • BB0833 : Only on a Thursday
    Thursday 16th October
  • BB0834 : YIFT
    Wednesday 29th October
  • BB0835 : Reflections on Thirlmere
    Thursday 6th November
  • BB0836 : Reet Grand Randonnées
    15th - 19th November
  • BB0837 : Back to Real8ty
    Wednesday 26th November
  • BB0838 : Ladies Invitation Day
    Thursday 4th December
  • BB0839 : Why Mungrisedale Common?
    Wednesday 10th December
  • BB0840 : Breast High in Bretherdale
    Wednesday 17th December


 The Comback Trail

  • CBT01 : Helm, direttissimo
    Monday 22nd September
  • CBT02 : Cunswick Fell and back in the dark!
    Monday 29th September



  • BskiB08 : Bootski Boys in the Sella Ronda  
    23rd February - 1st March


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



To download a log of which Wainwrights have been done by which BOOTboy in the "modern" era, i.e. since the advent of BOOTboys 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