BB1002 : Snowcumabulating Potter Fell

Thursday 14th January 2010

This was to be my first outing of the year.  The long range planning started excitedly.  A fine day was in prospect and Helvellyn in the snow seemed a glorious opportunity.  The level of ambition was then lowered a little to Fairfield.  Then, as the forecast deteriorated with the warning "The combination of wind, cloud and spindrift make virtual, or actual, white-outs so excellent navigational skills are imperative", to Kentmere.  

On the day itself, after yet another overnight snowfall plus lingering mist, things were looking bleak. Let's just go to Staveley, suggested Stan, and see what we can do from there.  Let's just stay at home for the day and see what we can do there, said Tony.  So we did the former and Tony the latter.

My first challenge was to get up the hill to Stan's house.  Easy Peasy.  I have to say that I have been really impressed with my Subaru Forrester over the last month.  Where other vehicles have seriously struggled, it has never let me down.

I was tempted to press on up Kentmere valley but Stan wisely suggested we park just at Barley Bridge and head up toward Potter Fell.  

Barley Bridge, Staveley

With my usual indecision, I had thrown enough gear into the back of the car to equip a small army, provided they were all marching in different conditions.  I chose the snowboarder jacket and normal leather boots in anticipation of soft snow but with back-up Grivel Spiders in the sac, just in case. What a good decision not to wear the very heavy mountain boots with full crampons. Perhaps it was their weight that had slowed me down so much last time out and not the post Christmas lethargy!

The fresh snow provided easy walking up the lane to Brunt Knott Farm, where sensible diversification into holiday cottages was quite evident although I doubt if there were any guests there today.  Beyond the farm, it was another matter and the snow quickly became quite deep. As we neared the top of the pass over to Longsleddale we were sinking in and it was hard going.  Stan likened it to football training where you jump in and out of the rubber tyres.  But the tyres are all the same thickness whereas up here you could find yourself holding on the crust, or sinking in up to your knees.  Occasionally even worse.  Stan complained about me taking his photo that made his legs look shorter as they were short enough already.

Brunt Knott Farm

A short legged Stan

We left the path (although there was no sign of a path or even any human footprints by now- just fox trails, some very recent judging by the smell) and followed the wall that runs by the summit of Potter Fell.  if you thought conditions under foot were bad before, they got considerably worse up here.  It was very deep snow and extremely slow going. Visibility was poor and I was having the same trouble as I do when skiing in not being able to read the terrain, thanks to steamed up glasses.

Stan reckons that one mile in these condition is worth three on a normal day.  I think that's an underestimate!

We didn't bother trying to find the actual top.  We've done it before (in thick mist- BB0633  Potter Fell vanquished) and were more interested in getting down to Gurnal Dubbs and finding a nice spot for lunch.  Eventually we came to the track down to the Dubbs.  

Gurnal Dubbs comes into view

Compare its appearance today with that less than two months ago on BB0937.

Looking back over Gurnal Dubbs

Gurnal Dubbs Boathouse

We hoped that the Lord Lieutenant might be throwing a party at his boat house and invite us in for a hot toddy but no such luck.  In fact, surprisingly, there was no sign of anybody having been in the area for a long time.  

Hungry and in need of shelter for a rest, there was nowhere suitable here so we pressed on down to Potter Tarn and beyond to the very lonely Birk Field.  I remember looking at the house when it was for sale maybe forty years ago and thinking what an idyllic position in the summer but a nightmare in winter.

Still true!

Potter Tarn

Comitibus: near Potter Tarn

On reaching what passes for a road there was a pile of long dead sheep.  Maybe this was where the foxes had been heading?

We eventually found some rocks on which to sit and enjoy a late lunch.  Tony would have faded away by now, it was gone 2 p.m.!

Refortified we dropped down to the back road to Staveley, passing en-route a dramatic building conversion with a commanding view over the village, to emerge at back at Barley Bridge and the car.

Staveley comes into view

A grand view over Staveley

It was only 6.7 miles but, using Stan's formula, it equated to 20.  It felt like it!

Don, 14th January 2010

If you want to comment on this report, click on .




Thursday 14th January 2010


6.7 miles

Height climbed:

1,262 feet


Potter Fell (nearly)

Other Features:

Gurnal Dubbs


Don, Stan


If you have Memory Map on your computer, you can follow our route in detail by downloading BB1002.

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!


E-mail addresses on this web site are protected by

 Spam Trawlers will be further frustrated by
 Spam Blocker: help fight spam e-mail!  




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



If you want to join
he BOOTboys Inter-continental
Fan Club
let us know and
you will receive
of new
BOOTboys reports.


Home Page










2010 Outings

BB1001 :
The Most Perfect
 Winter Day
Thursday 7th January

BB1002 :
 Potter Fell
Thursday 14th January

BB1003 :
A Snowy Equipment Test

Thursday 21st January

BB1004 :
Leave It To The Professionals

Thursday 28th January

BB1005 :
That's A Lyth Record
Sunday 31st January 

BB1006 :
Reasons To Be Cheerful
One, Two, Three
Thursday 11th February

BB1007 :
Can You See Clearly Now?
Thursday 18th February

BB1008 :
In Memory Of
Thomas Williamson
Thursday 25th February

BB1009 :
Almost a Mountaineer!
Wednessday 3rd March

BB1010 :
The Beginning Of The End
Thursday 11th March

BB1011 :
The Free Men on Tuesday
Tuesday 16th March

BB1012 :
We'll Get Them In Singles,
Thursday 25th March

BB1013 :
The Fools on the Hill
Thursday 1st April




BSB2010 :
boys in Zillertal
Saturday 30th January
to Saturday 6th February





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!