BB1118 : West Side Story

Thursday 7th July 2011

No Jets(kiers) or Sharks.  No PJ Proby singing Summerwear.  No one admitting to Feeling Pretty.  Just a BOOTboys outing down the west side of Lake Windermere.

But how to get there?  By steamer from Bowness to Ambleside, of course.  How else would one take best advantage of a cloud-shrouded rain-threatening day?!?

John PL collected Roger T, Tony, James and me and took us to the Royal Windermere Yacht Club where Roger was able to use his exalted position to enable us to park for the day.  

Royal Windermere Yacht Club

Bryan considered that our plan was too soft.  Now preparing for his Himalayan trip in the Autumn, a walk without hills was of little training value so he opted to increase the effort expended by cycling from home in Kendal to Bowness and back. Then he realised it was a Thursday which meant he had to remain housebound, babysitting!

We made our way round to the pier where we met with Mike who had walked down from the Linthwaite House Hotel.  I noticed earlier in the week that he had put a link to the BOOTboys site on his hotel blog.  See Eating out, and a walk or three.

We caught the Teal to Ambleside and sat in the open on the top deck to take best advantage of the view.

The Teal arrives at Bowness

Boat house at Langdale Chase

The Langdales

Wray Castle

Approaching Ambleside

Mike with brolly

Blelham Tarn

As we reached the Ambleside landing stage, the threatened rain began and we hastily donned our bad weather gear- apart from Mike, that is, who was sartorially using an umbrella.  

After a brief examination of the remains at the Galava Roman Fort, we made our way round the head of the lake.

Fortunately there is a footpath that runs within the woods and fields alongside the road more or less all the way down to Low Wray, passing Blelham Tarn en-route.

Galava Roman Fort

Wray Castle

Approaching Wray Crag

Here we turned north east to pick up the track that leads to Wray Crag where we had lunch.  My attempt at the team picture nearly went horribly wrong when I slipped on the rocks when rushing back to join the others!


Comitibus:  Wray Crag

Wray Castle Boat House


Looking north

Wray Castle Boat House front door

We thought about going round Wray Castle which is open to the public for a couple of months before work starts on its conversion but none of us had our National Trust membership cards with us and £3.50 is way beyond our means.  Instead, we debated on the likely success of it as a luxury hotel in such an out of the way place with limited access and no private lake frontage.

The view north from near Wray Castle.....

..... and from a bit further south

We continued south along the west side of the lake all the way to the Ferry House.  

I thought we would be catching the ferry back across but there is now an alternative small launch for foot passengers, bizarrely named Muriel II.  

Most of us took that as it drops you off in Bowness Bay, saving the walk back from Ferry Nab.

Mike, however, took the ferry as it is the direct route back to the Linthwaite.

Muriel II

A strange metal boat.

Belle Isle house

As our boat sailed past Belle Isle, its Georgian round house brought back memories.  In the latter days of its ownership by the Curwen family they were experimenting with various ways of making the property commercially viable, including building a business centre cum lecture theatre in the grounds.

I recall that in 1988, when I worked for Prolific Financial Management, we used the theatre to explain to the staff based in Kendal (our administration centre) our plans for the following year.

On the lawn, a huge marquee had been erected for an event to be hosted by King Constantine of Greece for the Round Square on the following day.

Consequently, we were able to use it that night for a black tie dinner.

The only way across to the island was by small boat and it was blowing a force nine gale.  Still, in those famous words, we counted them all out and we counted them all back!

Belle Isle, 1988 style

We counted them all out.....

..... and counted them all back in!

As we once were, BOOTboys 1988 style!







Back to the present day and photos from our boat:

Looking north-west up to the Kirkstone Pass

Looking north

On reaching the Yacht Club, John was baffled to find that his bleeper wasn't working and the car doors would not open.

Then he realised he had left his headlights on and the car battery was dead.

For a while we wondered if we might have to adjourn to the bar whilst the AA were summomed but it was not to be.  

The car was soon restarted with one of those "Dynamic Jump Starter" kits and we were on our way back home.

The Dynamic Jump Starter

I realise, of course, that today we cheated and that this is only half a West Side Story- that of the lower half will have to wait for another day.  It could be a long wait. Shore access is much more limited and, other than the narrow, busy and footpathless road, there is no obvious route at the southern end.  But, to quote for the last time something from the musical:

Could it be? Yes, it could.
Something's coming, something good,
If I can wait!
Something's coming, I don't know what it is,
But it is
Gonna be great

Don, 7th July 2011


Additional photos from Mike:








Thursday 7th July

Distance in miles:

15.0 (8.8 on foot)

Height climbed in feet:




Other Features:

Lake Windermere


Don, James, John PL, Mike, Roger T, Tony


BOOTboys routes ares now being put online in gpx format which should work with most mapping software. You can follow our route in detail by downloading BB1118.

To see which Wainwright top was visited on which BB outing see
Which Wainwright When?

For the latest totals of the mileages and heights see: BB Log.



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2011 Outings

BB1101 :
Wasnfell Revisited
Tuseday 11th January

BB1102 :
Recuperation Scar!
Thursday 17th February

BB1103 :
A Promenade of Pensioners
Thursday 24th February

BB1104 :
The B Team
Thursday 3rd March

BB1105 :
A Little Bit Of Wind
Thursday 10th March

BB1106 :
A Linthwaite Round
Thursday 17th March

BB1107 :
Home From The Pulpit
Thursday 24th March

BB1108 :
Taking The Brunt
Thursday 31st March

BB1109 :
Up The Spout
Wednesday 6th April

BB1110 :
Not The Royal Wedding
Friday 29th April

BB1111 :
Kentmere Parts 1 & 2
Thurs 5th, Saturday 7th May

BB1112 :
Five Unknown Tarns
Wednesday 11th May

BB1113 :
Gurnal Dubbs Revisited
Thursday 19th May

BB1114 :
A March Through The Mist
Wednesday 1st June

BB1115 :
Brief Encounter
Wednesday 8th June

BB1116 :
Extraordinary and
Lesser Mortals
Wednesday 15th June

BB1117 :
Farewell David Daw
Wednesday 29th June

BB1118 :
West Side Story
Thursday 7th July

BB1119 :
st Side Story
Wednesday 13th July

 BB1120 :
All The Way From Barrow
Wednesday 20th July



 Click on the photos
for an enlargement
or related large picture.


To see which Wainwright
top was visited on which
BB outing see
Which Wainwright When?.

To download a log of heights and miles and which Wainwrights have been done by which BOOTboy in the "modern" era, i.e. since the advent of BOOTboys
click on BB Log.