BB0904 : Take a Mug With You

Sunday 25th January 2009

Take a mug with you, said the instructions, so Bryan took two: Stan and me.  I am not sure if Ian took Martin or vice-versa!

Last year, my previous day’s preparation for the event (the Long Distance Walkers Association's That's Lyth challenge) had been to attend a Burns Supper in Lancaster, with big meal, plenty of booze and bopping to a ceilidh so we didn’t arrive home until 1 a.m. or thereabouts.

This time, I thought I should be more professional.  Again we went to Lancaster but in the afternoon to attend a Wedding Fayre.  We followed this with a tea-time visit to the cinema (the excellent Slumdog Millionaire) and returned home mid-evening for a plate of pasta and an early night.  So far so good.  Then I woke at 3 a.m. and could not get back to sleep.  My mind was buzzing with weddings (wrote a chorus for Emma’s wedding song), the walk (what to wear, would my new shoes be a problem, drafting copy for this report) and finished up planning my own funeral (not so morbid as you might think- it’s your last party and you should make sure it goes off as you want.  That means planning it whilst you are still compus mentus).  I gave up trying to sleep at 6 a.m. and got up.

Once we were all assembled at the Scout Hut we compared mug sizes.  

Being a novice, I had the smallest.

Ian and Stan vied for who had the larger.  

The decision went in favour of Ian, not just for the size but also the branding- Towers Perrin, an actuarial firm of note- and for the fact of it being the one memorable outcome of a £1,200 Actuarial Conference.

One of the pleasures of having Ian back in the fold is his prodigious memory and his ability to fill in large gaps in my vague recollections of times now long passed.

Ian and the prize mug

Such as the night we went up the Langdales, downed eight pints in the bar afterwards, refused to be thrown out by the landlord, ran across the car park thinking there was a police car coming, ripped my new trousers vaulting a barbed wire fence, camped briefly in a field before a bout of tent letting down made us decamp to a colleague's cottage in Ambleside where Ian made a grand entrance after visiting the loo, head first down the stairs claiming a tree had fallen on him.  Ah, happy days!  I could just about remember which year it was: 1974.  Once upon a time, Ian could have told you not only the actual date but what was top of the charts and who Manchester United were playing that weekend.  You see- he does have his faults!  However on this occasion he was surprisingly vague- late March or early April, he said.  Come on Ian, its only 35 years ago!

"Welcome to Kendal.  Go!!!"!

However, today we didn’t see a lot of Ian or Martin.  

The mayor, Claire Feeney-Johnson, started the event with a exemplary short speech: “Welcome to Kendal.  Go!” and promptly set off herself!

In the hordes trudging through Kendal we soon lost contact with them.  Bryan’s plan was to start near the back, the psychology being that that way you are always motivated by overtaking people rather than being overtaken and we did overtake quite a few in the first leg.

I was wearing my new shoes- Inov-8 Roclites- and these seemed to be the footwear of choice used by a large number of the participants.  But this was their first outing and how sensible was that?  They seemed to be going well.  Even a white horse seemed impressed.

New shoes (before) .....

..... impress the white horse!

Last year, Crosthwaite had been probably the best feeding station so when we reached it today (7 miles in under two hours) everyone was greatly disappointed to find that only cold drinks were being served outside the building.  No-one had arrived to open the school for the event so the organisers had to do their best without any heating facilities.  They did have some fruity malt loaf, though, so I took two pieces to eat on the hoof.

The Witherslack stage passed quite smoothly despite a couple of minor routing errors although Stan was struggling a bit towards the summit but seemed to recover on the descent.  Just as we were going down the steep drop to the Hall whom should we see coming up but Roger and Denise out for a Sunday stroll wondering why 350 people were hurtling down in their direction.  No time to stop and chat, sorry!

Whitherslack feeding station (14 miles, 4 hours) was a triumph in comparison.  This year I was tempted by the hot dog with onions and ketchup and thoroughly enjoyed it.

The weather deteriorated as we rounded the bottom of the Scar and it was a close call whether or not to stop to put on cagoules.  Fortunately the rain didn’t last long and it was again a nice day as we trudged the tediously straight roads across the valley to Cinderbarrow.  Stan had new batteries in his legs on this stretch and it took a while to reel him in.

Team photo at Whitherslack Parish Hall

The third feeding station was at Cotes Corner (18¼ miles but I can’t remember the time). Just a brief stop for a cuppa and for some (but not me, they’re too sickly) a piece of doughnut then off up to Helsington.  

Whitbarrow Scar from Helsington

It was now Bryan’s turn to set a relentless pace and Stan, to a small extent, and me, to a great extent, had difficulty keeping up as we went over Scout Scar and across to the old racecourse.  

Bryan and Stan spot Kendal and accelerate

I was about shot as we descended into Kendal.  I remember thinking that it was now a beautiful day but that I was taking no notice of the scenery; I was almost in a trance. Then it struck me that due to my small mug I had actually taken on less liquid than on a normal, far shorter, BB outing and I could be dehydrating.  A quick slurp of water rectified the problem.

Kendal Castle across Aynam Road

Then, on crossing the main road, I had to hurry to avoid a car coming into the road from a corner and cramped up in my left calf.  

The same thing happened again as I crossed Aynam Road, this time in both calves so it was a great relief there were only a few hundred yards left.

We clocked in at the finish just inside 7 hours from setting off; pretty much the same time as last year despite the muddier conditions and the extra year of age!  

We couldn’t be more precise as we had no gps with us.  Mine apparently needs a software update to cure a fault and Bryan’s was inadvertently left at home due to reasons too gross for delicate readers.  The official distance was 23½  miles.

Looking round at the many folk who had done a quicker time was initially depressing then we realised that age adjusted, we had actually done pretty well and deserved the excellent creamed rice and fruit that was on offer.  Bryan was particularly pleased that we had beaten by 12 minutes the editor of the Long Distance Walkers Association magazine.  

Not that he is competitive.

And my new shoes had done pretty well also.  Just a minor problem with two lesser toes rubbing on each other.

Later on, after I returned home, I phoned Martin to ask how he and Ian had fared.

They had completed the walk in a leisurely 9 hours stroll, accompanied for the final seven miles or so by Ian’s two young sons.

So were we mugs to put ourselves through this?

New shoes (after)

Stan and I agreed that we had enjoyed much of the walk but had found the last stretch difficult.  Nevertheless we had the satisfaction of completing the challenge.  

So would we enter next year?  

What was it Steve Redgrave said after winning his fourth Olympic medal?  “If you see me anywhere near a boat you have my permission to shoot me.”  Or something like that. And then he went on to win a fifth Olympic medal.

However when I got home and took what I hoped would be a relaxing bath I had the worst cramp attack ever.  Imagine lying in a deep bath with your feet up on the wall and you get a minor cramp in your right toes.  As you try to relieve it, you feel a massive cramp attack in your left calf.  You grab hold of your left foot to try to pull it up to relieve the cramp and immediately you get another in your right inside thigh.  The thought crossed my mind that a man could drown dealing with these problems so I had to let the water out.  Fortunately, a few minutes later the cramp eased but my calf still hurts.

So am I mug enough to do this again next year?  Watch this space.  I am making no promises!  But if I do, I'll take a big mug with me!

Don, 25th January 2009



25th January 2009


23.5 miles

Height climbed:

3,200 feet


Whitbarrow Scar (Outlying Fells)

Other Key Features:

Scout Scar, Cunswick Scar, Lyth Valley


No tracklog this time.  For map see BB0803.

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