BB1015 : By Lake, Ridge and Wainwright

Sunday 11th April 2010

It was 5:45 a.m. when the alarm went off - a time of day you forget exists once you become a pensioner! What you also forget is how pleasant it is to be out at that time. I walked to the main road where Stan was due to collect me. Kendal was silent, the only sound being the birdsong. The sun had just risen and was trying to break through the thin cloud cover. Ahead lay the prospect of a big day in the hills. Life seemed pretty good.

Stan and I were on our way to Rosthwaite in Borrowdale for the start (at 8 a.m.!) of the Lake Ridge and Wainwright Challenge walk organised by the LDWA (Long Distance Walkers Association). The route is officially described as 23.5 miles long and has no less than 7,750 feet of ascent / descent amongst some of Lakelandís finest scenery. It was co-founded by several members of the group, and poignantly one of those members, Eileen Knopfel, died in 2009.  So they decided it would be a fitting tribute to re-run it in her memory, and by doing so raise some well deserved funds for CancerCare.

After unsuccessfully scouring the centre of Keswick looking for a newsagent that was open so Stan could get a Sunday paper, we arrived at the event car park 20 minute before the start. An urgent call of nature for Stan used up most of this spare time and within minutes of registering we were off, along with the 60 or so other walkers. And so, almost immediately, began the first big climb of the day to the top of High Spy - 2,000 feet of it.

Gathering for the start

 Already trailing at the back!

My failure to check the weather forecast (or even Stan's e-mail warning me of the weather forecast) resulted in me making a disastrous equipment choice. I was wearing a pair of shower-proof walking trousers so as not to have to carry any overtrousers. Bad choice I realised as I began to sweat profusely on the climb. I managed to solve the problem to some extent later in the day by rolling my trouser legs to just below the knees a la Monty Python. It would have been better to have had Stan's choice - shorts; but it's only a few weeks since the snow went and I've not adjusted mentally to the fact that it's warm!

Sweat apart, I was climbing pretty well and we reached the summit in just over the hour. Having gained all this height though, we now faced the prospect of losing it all again as we descended the ridge towards the Newlands valley. It was a a pleasant descent, picking our way on good lines on grass to avoid the rockier path, with wonderful views over Derwent Water and to Keswick and the Northern Fells.

Part way down the first runners, who had started at 8:30, passed us. Stan's son Martin was amongst them, getting some mileage in before tackling the Scottish Islands Peaks race. Stan and I found it quite hard to stop ourselves tagging on and trotting along with them (and it has to be said on a couple of occasions we did, and were pleased to find that we could actually keep up!)

Runners passing on descent from High Spy

Checkpoint 1 in sight below ridge to Hindscarth!

The first Checkpoint at Low Snab farm was a welcome break - a sit down, couple of cups of orange and a jam doughnut. What was less welcome was that we had to start climbing back up again. And not just a gentle climb. The first 600 foot or so were viciously steep. Our target was the summit of Hindscarth. The sun was out by now and it was a lovely day, with barely a breath of wind. We plodded steadily on and finally reached the top after another 2,000 feet of climb from the valley and a little over 3 hours after leaving Borrowdale. We felt quite pleased with ourselves.

 Stan on the climb of Hindscarth

View from Hindscarth towards High Spy

Over to our left was a high ridge linking Hindscarth to Dale Head. It's only a mile and 200 feet or so from one to the other and it was on our route. However today we were going to have to do another 12 miles and almost 4,000 feet of climbing to get there! I could picture Tony and Pete questioning, in no uncertain terms, our sanity had they been there!

Stan nearing the top of Hindscarth

Dale Head + Honister Pass - leave them for later?

But to Stan and me it seemed perfectly sensible. We just wanted to have a nice long day! So we turned right  and headed along the connecting ridge that leads to the summit of Robinson. This is a special top for me as it was the final one on my 1989 Bob Graham Round, so it was nice to be up there again on a 'big day out'.

But as is the way with this walk we weren't about to be allowed to stay up high. Instead we set off after 3 young lady runners on the descent to Buttermere. We kept up with them for a while until we chose to take a different line across Buttermere Moss. We would like to think that we left them behind at this point, but it seems unlikely!

On the way down to Buttermere

At last a few miles on the level

We found the second Checkpoint of the day in Buttermere village hall and were delighted to find that there was hot cups of tea, cakes, sandwiches, and bowls of fruit and rice pudding to fuel us up for the next stage. We chose to make the most of it and settled down for almost half an hour. But all good things must come to an end, so we joined the hordes of day trippers and walked down to the lake. The next few miles along the lakeshore were a pleasant break from all the ups and downs, but the climbing had to start again and this time it was up to Scarth Gap, the pass between Buttermere and Ennerdale.

Once on there we began the lovely scrambly climb to the top of Haystacks. There must have been 20 or 30 people on the summit and I had to push my way through the throng to perform the traditional 'touching of the cairn'. We were quickly away and on to Innominate Tarn, famed as the place Wainwright wanted his ashes scattering because it was so peaceful. Not today though. Families were happily paddling in the tarn, with associated dogs having a swim. An opportunity for us though to ask someone to take the Comitibus photo.

On the climb towards Haystacks

Comitibus: Innominate Tarn

From there it was a steady trek across the quarry workings to Honister Hause and the final checkpoint. There was a cut off time of 4:30 at this checkpoint and we reached there comfortably within that. But it seemed to us likely that quite a few people wouldn't make it. My neighbour, who was helping at the event and had fed us at Checkpoint 1 and again at the finish, confirmed it the following day. She said the last person had reached Rosthwaite at 7:30 and that anyone reaching Honister after 4:30 that wanted to continue was sent on the alternative route (which I imagine was straight down the pass rather than over the tops).

Anyway for us it was a quick drink and piece of cake and we were off again on the final 1300 feet of climb to the top of Dale Head.

As we climbed discussion turned again to the Bob Graham. We both remembered this as being a tedious climb following a fence with nothing in the way of views, and undulating in such a way that you kept thinking you had reached to top of the ridge.

But for me it had also been a turning point. I had been losing time on my schedule and was becoming ever more doubtful of my ability to claw it back so as to finish within the 24 hours. Iíd already done 62 miles and 26,000 feet, and was facing another 12miles / 2150 feet with only 3 hours left. But as I climbed Dale Head that day I suddenly felt really strong and all doubts disappeared. I finished with 15 minutes to spare.

Now that was insanity!! Today was just an old manís version of it!

Nearing the top of the Dale Head climb

Happy memories: ridge to Hindscarth & Robinson

This time we reached the top fairly easily and headed off eastwards taking a grassy line down towards Dalehead Tarn. Here we passed a group of mountain bikers, although mountain bike carriers would be a more accurate description. We pondered over why, given the boom in mountain biking in recent years, the numbers of riders we encounter on the hills seems to be much less than when the sport first started.

Anyway we said hello and pressed on to start our final descent down the gully we had ascended at the start of the day. We had a chat to a walker from Liverpool whose mate had decided to retire at Honister, although given he wasn't at the finish when we arrived it's possible he didn't retire completely but took the 'alternative route' rather than hang around for a lift.

Mountain bike carriers at Dalehead Tarn

Nearing the end

A slight, unintended, diversion near the end meant we had to cross the river via the stepping stones rather than the bridge but we skipped across and reached the village hall 9 hours 36 minutes after we started.

A nice cup of tea to finish a great day out

The proof!

We both agreed that it had been a splendid day out. There is something really satisfying about a long day in hills, particularly when the weather is as good as on Sunday. We look forward to other BOOTboys joining us next year!   

Bryan, 11th April 2010


Afternote:  What Bryan and Stan didn't realise until much later was that Stan's son, Martin, failed to finish.  Something to do with his feet having got wet.  A result that gave Stan a certain amount of unfatherly satisfaction and and the fact that his old man out performed him caused Martin a degree of ribbing from his friends. Another victory for the tortoise over the hare!


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11th April 2010

Distance in miles:


Height climbed in feet:



High Spy, Maiden Moor, Hindscarth, Robinson, Haystacks, Dale Head

Other Features:


Wainwright Countdown:

Don & Stan: 31     Bryan: 7 (all unchanged)


Bryan, Stan


If you have Memory Map on your computer, you can follow our route in detail by downloading BB1015.

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 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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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

BB1014 :
The Windmills on the Moor
Wednesday 7th April

BB1015 :
By Lake, Ridge and Wainwright
Sunday 11th April

BB1016 :
The Ten Lake Tour (+5Ws)
Thursday 15th 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!