BB0919 : Looking for Lily

Thursday 18th June 2009

Firstly, an update for Withnail fans (topical as Sunday Times gave away the film last week).  The sale of Uncle Monty’s Country Cottage (see BB0907), a.k.a. Sleddale Hall, has fallen through.  It seems as if the purchaser’s bankers didn’t share his vision for the potential success of this isolated cottage as a visitor centre.  Now, there’s a surprise! See Westmorland Gazette.  Maybe Kate Moss will be in with a second chance!

On to today’s adventure.  Options were limited by the forecast of severe buffeting by 60 mph gales on the tops coupled with the prospect of showers, heavy in the afternoon. A day to stay low.

We decided to go to the Sedbergh area, or to be more accurate, I persuaded Stan and Pete that it would be a good idea.  I had an ulterior motive.  There is a tarn that I have seen on the map but never managed even to glimpse from the road down to Sedbergh. Its name is Lily Mere and it seemed that it should be visible from a footpath that passed just to the south.

We parked at Bridge End- this is where the road from Kendal passes over the River Lune before reaching Sedbergh. In Jamie’s time there, this used to be a favourite place for the boys to go in the evenings, swimming or canoeing.   Sedbergh School is now co-ed but judging by the pink knickers abandoned on the river bank it is still a favourite place for the boys to go!


Bridge End


The evidence

We followed the Dales Way south, through fields of meadow flowers then the attractive farm yard of  Luneside with its decorated grinding wheel and kid goats, crossing the river at the first opportunity.

A meadow flower field with Winder behind

A floral griding wheel


Kids and lambs

The Lune, upstream

I nearly missed the view up-stream, so busy was I consulting the map.  Perhaps I should have consulted a little harder as not long afterwards we had a slight navigational mishap that led us through a field with an enormous bull who took a close interest in us but, fortunately, even more in his heifers.  After escaping over a rusty barbed wire we discovered the path we should have taken.

The bull

An alpaca pack

Our next departure from the path was more as a result of what should have been the obvious route being obscured by a pack of alpacas (if pack is the correct collective noun- it certainly sounds right). Not having the 1:25k map for this area meant that rather more guess work than usual was needed.

As we passed through the Greenholme yard, the forecast rain started so we donned the bad weather gear.  Fortunately, however, it was only light and hardly worth the worry!  We climbed up onto the open moorland and took a deliberate departure from the path to climb a small, unnamed knoll.  I had hoped to get a first sight of Lily Mere but it was not to be.

The going was hard work in tufty heather but we pressed on to the path that on the map skirts Lily Mere but in reality skirts a dense plantation of conifers plus extensive fencing and signs saying “Private”, all of which succeed in frustrating prying eyes.  Once or twice, a glimpse of water could be seen but nothing conclusive.  

We had to make do with Killington Reservoir.  To be fair, it made a good place to take lunch- there was a strong wind blowing but it was not cold and the rain was still holding off.

Killington Reservoir.....

..... picnic spot

I thought there might be an opportunity to see Lily Mere from the road but the contours were wrong.

Knee deep in heather 

We crossed the main Kendal to Sedbergh road and made for Firbank Fell. The map shows a track all the way across the fell but it soon vanished on the ground. We were back on even tuftier heather than before.

I took out the gps to check that what I thought was the highest point was indeed so. However, I couldn’t find the gps reference on the map.  Then I realised, it was still set to the French system.  Once reset, it confirmed that my conclusion was right and we claimed the summit.

The view from Firbank Fell

The map suggested there was a path down to the Lune and we soon found a gate into a field which looked as if it had been turned into a paradise for trials bikers with trails laid out with orange and white markers.  This was because that is exactly what it is.  It is the land purchased by the Westmorland Motor Club in 1994 so that it could hold its events well away from complaining townsfolk.

Bike trails for.....

..... Westmorland Motor Club trials

We crossed a road, from which, in the distance, we could see Fox’s Pulpit where Tony had preached to rather less than George Fox (see BB0913).  

Fox's pulpit


Dropping down towards the valley, there was a good view of the Howgills and a convenient post for a team photo.  We reached another field of meadow flowers and, just as I said “This is much more even ground,” Pete put his foot down a hole and damn near wrenched his ankle.  I was told in no uncertain terms not to make any more stupid statements!

The Lune upstream.....

..... and downstream

There was a footbridge across the River Lune and, this time, I noticed and admired the views both up and down stream.  

We rejoined the Dales Way a little above the river and after only one more minor navigational hiccup caused by lack of attention, reached the magnificent small viaduct for the now defunct Lune Valley railway line.  

We debated how old the viaduct might be. 

According to the excellent Visit Cumbria site, it was built in 1857-61.

Waterside Viaduct

Waterside Viaduct

From here it was a short stroll along the river, where we could hear but not see kingfishers, back to the car.  It had been an interesting walk over a variety of terrains in far better than expected weather, the only disappointment being having no clear sight of Lily Mere.  Consequently, on reaching home, I jumped into my Googlecopter and took a photograph of what its proud owners don’t want you to see.  Here it is:  Lily Mere.  As ever, click for an enlargement.

 Lily Mere

 Don 18th June 2009


Afternote:  I've Seen Lily

The original working title of BB0919 Looking for Lily was "Has anyone seen Lily?" and it was under that heading that I distributed to those on the e-mailing list the alert about the report.  It elicited two responses.

One was from Roger T who said "In response to the question in the title of the latest BOOTboys walk, yes I have.  However it was in excess of 50 years ago!  It was during my schooldays at the original Holme Park when Nick’s father was in charge.  For a short while we had a student teacher called Mr Williams whose parents used to live at Lilymere and we were taken for a walk around the pond. I can’t remember too many details about it.  I can also remember skating there during a cold spell but couldn’t tell you which year."

The scond response was from local architect Ian G who informed me that he knew it well as he designed the replacement house for the owner plus the adjacent gamekeeper's cottage.  However, out of respect for the owner's privacy, he could not send before and after photos!

So, short of a bit of rural incursion, that's about as close as we are likely to get!


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Thursday 18th June 2009


10.2 miles

Height climbed:

1,306 feet



Other Key Features:

Firbank Fell, Lily Mere, Killington Lake


Don, Pete, Stan


If you have Memory Map on your computer, you can follow our route in detail by downloading BB0919.

Steve G advises: "For those who like to look at your meanderings but use Tracklogs or other software then your logs can be converted using the freeware utility GPS Babel."

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