BB0903 : A Wicked Hike???

Wednesday 21st January 2009

Whenever anyone asks me what I would like for Christmas, I usually say to buy me a book that I would not buy myself.  Over the years this has exposed me to a considerably wider set of literature than might otherwise have been the case, with some great successes.  This year Emma gave me two books.

The first obeyed the rules.  “Wicked” by Gregory Macguire (not to be confused with “Wicked!” by Jilly Cooper!).  Subtitled “The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West”, this is the story, now transformed into a West End musical, of how she earned her name and it melds into the Wizard of Oz story for its conclusion.  

Despite the rave reviews for the novel, I regret to say that I found it far from enchanting. Perhaps I don’t have sufficient understanding of Oz, having seen the film umpteen times over many Christmases but never having managed to stay awake throughout!

The book’s well enough written but basically I had no empathy with any of the characters and was unable sufficiently to suspend my disbelief.  It was an interesting exercise to expose me to this genre but Lord of the Rings it is not.  Or for stories melding into other works (fact and fiction), I prefer Flashman.

However, Emma gave me a second book; one that did not obey the rules.  This one, she announced, not only could I have written, I almost had.  When I removed the wrapping, I understood.  “THE HIKE and every damn thing else!” by Don Shaw.  The story of a group of grumpy old men in search of a good walk and some answers.  Except for a geographical near miss in location (Peak not Lake District) and phonetic near miss of author (Shaw not Shore), it bears some resemblance to these pages!  

Two of the hikers seem to enjoy winding each other up whilst the author remains neutral between them.  A further passing resemblance there perhaps but, so far, (three chapters - representing months - into the book) there are only three walkers and the participants are fictional whereas I have the pleasure of the company of real live characters and a sometimes changing cast.

This week both Tony and Stan stood down, one to make sure he was fit for Sunday’s big one and the other to ensure he was not fit to enter Sunday’s big one.  All will become clear in time which was which so for the moment I will leave you to guess (as if you didn’t know!).

On the other hand, our numbers were boosted by Pete and Martin again joining Bryan and me and this time Roz was well enough to release Ian for his first BB outing for many months.

The weather forecast had promised sunshine at 9 a.m. but it was raining.  No great surprise as it had promised a night of snow on Monday but we had had none (maybe Kendal did) and a sunny afternoon on Tuesday but that turned out to be wet and gloomy.

Whitbarrow Scar from near Raven's Lodge

However, by the time we parked at Raven’s Lodge (near the Gilpin Bridge Inn on the A591) the sun was starting to make its presence felt.  Mind you, our first 3½ miles would mostly be through Forestry Commision land so it didn’t matter that much.  

Forestry Commission at work

We followed the path we had taken on BB0610 but this time the ruts were nowhere near so bad. Clearly they had taken our reprimand to heart!

A less rutted junction!

The forest paths can be confusing as they do not always correspond with the map. The markings are infrequent and sometimes just lying broken on the ground. Consequently we took a couple of wrong turnings before rectifying the situation. Pete was perplexed as to how Bryan could navigate with remarkable accuracy in thick mist but was having such problems in broad daylight.

Something to do with literally not seeing the wood for the trees?

Unlike on BB0610 we carried on down to Row.  I was particularly interested to see the house in which I spent my first winter up here in 1969.  It had changed a bit but was still recognisable unlike the many agricultural buildings around it that are now smart dwellings.  What I didn't remember was the fine lime kiln just above the hamlet.

Row's fine Lime Kiln

Chez Don, Winter 1969

We dropped down past the Lyth Valley Hotel where we had offered Tony a long liquid rest but he had still declined to join us.  Behind the hotel is a path that follows ancient lanes across the valley, past lovely little bridges, over to Crosthwaite.  

A pretty little bridge.....

..... and another

However, even though St Mary's Church was looking fine in the sunshine, we didn’t quite go that far, turning back towards Esp Ford instead.  

St Mary's Church, Crosthwaite

In the wood above Durham Bridge Farm an altercation broke out on reaching a junction.

Bryan and I seemed to be disagreeing on which way to go.  

The problem was identified as being due to Bryan navigating “girlie” fashion, turning the map round with the direction travelled so that he knew which was left and right whereas I prefer to have my map North upwards and recognise left and right as rotations, not directions.  

For some unknown reason I came in for a lot of stick for this.  Let me tell you, this is the way real men navigate.  I am after all the Westmorland Motor Club Rally Champion Navigator, 1977, and still the trophy holder. O.K., they haven’t run the event since but I put that down to the way Keith and I devastated all opposition that year.  Nevertheless, I will readily admit that, on the fells, Bryan is a far better navigator than me.  Even if he is a girlie.  Anyway, in this particular instance we had both reached the same conclusion as to where we were and which way to go.  It just seemed as if we hadn’t!

Having reached the top end of Row we took the track up and onto Township Allotment. We had intended to take lunch at Lord’s Seat, the summit of Whitbarrow Scar, but a cold wind arose, surprisingly coming from the south, and it looked as if we were about to lose the sun so we found a convenient wall behind which to shelter and eat.

Losing the sunshine

Horizontal Trees

When I was preparing my packed lunch, I got some sliced ham out of the fridge.  It was ridiculously thinly sliced.  It called itself "wafer thin" but that was unkind to wafers. You could virtually see through it and it needed at least three layers to get a sufficient thickness to be able to taste it. I asked the wall-side diners what was the point of such thinly sliced ham?  Before I could deliver the punch line, Martin beat me to it:  “To give to vegetarians.”  He, too, obviously watches the Royle family!

Margaret told me later that it was on special offer.  I'm not surprised!

Snow capped Howgills behind Scout Scar and Brigsteer

Lord's Seat Team  Picture

Kent Estuary beyond Horizontal Trees

We paused briefly at Lord's Seat for the team picture and admire the horizontal trees before making the descent down the steep and somewhat exposed path down to Whitbarrow Hall where two teams, presumably at least one being of seriously naughty boys, were playing football.

Whitbarrow Hall FC

Belted Galloways with Strung Stornoway

Our path over Yewbarrow was blocked by some Belted Galloways plus a brown cow with a similar but narrower waist tie- a Strung Stornoway?

We passed through Birks farm (where the boys insisted I took a washing photo for Margaret) and then by the house with splendid pond reflecting the Scar.

Not the prettiest washing picture ever seen!!

Whitbarrow Scar reflected

Finally we rose up the incline through Buckhouse Wood and across the end of the scar back to the car at Raven’s Lodge just as the rain started to come in, bang on schedule.

So, returning to the book theme, was it a Wicked Hike???  

No, that comes in four days time and most of the second half of today’s walk was a useful recce for Sunday’s That’s Lyth big one.

Don, 21st January 2009


Post Scripts

Crow Crag:  Anyone interested in buying Uncle Monty's Country Cottage (as per Withnail & I - see BB0812 and BB0831) had better act fast.  It is to be auctioned on 16th February by Savills.  Guide price £145k.  We will report further once the brochure is available.

Meanwhile see Visit North West, Guardian, or BBC.


Henry's Castle:  Stuart F has secured more information about this interesting little barn.  BB0901 has now been amended to incorporate the detail.  See Henry's Castle.


Flying BOOTboys

Ever wondered what the BOOTboys do when not walking the Lakeland Fells? 

Click on the photo right and see if there are any familiar faces!

Well, actually, no!  But we can dream.

Man can fly.  It's amazing.  But be warned. It's a high adventure video, not for the faint-hearted!




21st January 2009


14.2 miles

Height climbed:

2,139 feet


Whitbarrow Scar (Outlying Fells)

Other Key Features:

Wicked, The Hike, Row

If you have Memory Map on your computer, you can follow our route in detail by downloading BB0903.

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, and certainly not from any skin head associations or other
type of social group,
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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2009 Outings

  • BB0901 : A Gordon Day Out
    Thursday 8th January
  • BB0902 : Thank You,
    Aunty Ethel!
    Wednesday 14th January 
  • BB0903 : A Wicked Hike???
    Wednesday 21st January
  • BB0904 : Take a Mug With You
    Sunday 25th January
  • BB0905 : Down in the Forest
    Thursday 29th January
  • BB0906 : Not How But Where?
    Thursday 5th February
  • BB0907 : Binsey Can Wait
    (but Uncle Monty Can Not)
    Thursday 12th February
  • BB0908 : Badgers on the Line
    Thursday 5th March
  • BB0909 : It's not a W!
    Thursday 12th March
  • BB0910 : Up on the Roof
    Thursday 26th March
  • BB0911 : Not the Blisco Dashers
    Thursday 2nd April
  • BB0912 : John's Comeback
    Monday 6th April
  • BB0913 : Two Churches, a Pulpit and a Cherry Picker
    Thursday, 23rd April
  • BB0914 : Companions of the BOOT
    Thursday 30th April
  • BB0915 : The Gale Force Choice
    Thursday 7th May
  • BB0916 : The Comeback Continues
    Thursday 21st May
  • BB0917 : BOOTboys Encore !
    28th May - 2nd June
  • BB0918 : Hello Dollywagon
    Thursday 11th June
  • BB0919 : Has Anyone Seen Lily?
    Thursday 18th June
  • BB0920 : Ancient Feet on the Greenburn Horseshoe
    Thursday 25th June
  • BB0921 : The Tebay Fell Race Walk
    Thursday 2nd July
  • BB0922 : For England and St George 
    Thursday 9th July
  • BB0923 : The Coniston Outliers
    Friday 31st July
  • BB0924 : Little To Be Said In Favour?
    Thursday 6th August
  • BB0925 : The Third Night of the Rescue 
    Thursday 13th August
  • BB0926 : Long Wet Windy Monty Bothy Fun?
    Thursday 20th August
  • BB0927 : Dear Mrs Scroggins
    Friday 11th September
  • BB0928 : An Ard Day's Hike
    Thursday 17th September
  • BB0929 : A Canter of Convalescents?
    Thursday 24th September
  • BB0930 : BOOTboys International Autumnal Expedition
    Wednesday 23rd to
    Sunday 27th September
  • BB0931 : A Bit of an Adventure
    Thursday 1st October
  • BB0932 : Paths of Glory?
    Thursday 8th October
  • BB0933 : When Yorkshire Was Welsh
    Wednesday 14th October
  • BB0934 : Unlocking the Whinlatters
    Thursday 22nd October
  • BB0935 : A Tale of Crinkley Bottoms
    hursday 5th November
  • BB0936 : Aye Up What?
    hursday 12th November
  • BB0937 : Where Eagles Wade
    Tuesday 17th November
  • BB0938 : After the Floods
    Thursday 26th November
  • BB0939 : The Mystery of the Missing Glove
    Thursday 10th December
  • BB0940 : A Too Short Walk
    Thursday 17th December
  • BB0941 : One Hundred and Onesfell
    Tuesday 29th December



  • BH0901 : Back to the Beginning 
    Thursday 13th August
  • BSKIB09 : BOOTskiboys in Saalbach
    14th - 21st March
  • BB09XX : Los Chicos y las Chicas de la Bota
    11th - 14th May
  • BB09Bav01 : Peaked Too Soon
    1st September



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