BB1132 : Perfect Pies

Wednesday 26th October 2011

Regular followers of BOOTboys may recall that Tony is very fond of pies.  Also, that he is a biker, albeit not necessarily very hairy.  

So when Pete spotted a new book being published entitled:

The Hairy Bikers
Perfect Pies
The ultimate pie bible
from the Kings of Pies

what option had we but to buy it for Tony as a surprise present?

The next question was where to give it to him?

Given that another of Tony's hobbies involves visiting public houses, the logical place would be the Three Shires Inn, in Little Langdale.  

Why?  Well, let me tell you a story.

Some weeks ago, Tony e-mailed me with a tale about his wife Pat's family:

The Three Shires Inn

The Tourist's Rest Inn

Over the years, when passing the
Three Shires Inn in Little Langdale,
I've mentioned Pat's family connection
with the place.

Her ancestors' initials are engraved in the cornerstones of the pub.

Her cousin has been doing a bit of research recently and come up with the results of the 1901 census:

In 1901 it was known as the Tourist's Rest and by a weird coincidence I've just discovered a postcard picture of the place on Ebay!!  Unfortunately, the auction had just ended but I've copied the picture off the site.

It was Pat's Great Grandad William Parry and her Great Grandma Martha who ran the place in 1901 along with their 5 kids (nowt else to do up there in winter!!).

The census records show William listed as innkeeper and slate quarryman.

Tony added that his mine of useless information gets deeper!  
Well, snap!  There is more to come. Just wait patiently for a while till we reach the pub.


After meeting up at the Linthwaite where once again Mike treated us to a starter sausage, we headed into Little Langdale valley where we left the cars at the parking area near Blea Tarn.  After walking round the tarn, we continued northward to the path that climbs Side Pike.  Our two previous visits (BB0606 & BB0912) were with John L who was not very well at the time and inclined to hallucinations about being interviewed by a certain Julia Bradbury.

2006 fantasy

2009 fantasy

This time, sad to report, there was no John with us, nor Julia.  Just the other four of the original Side Pike team, Bryan, Stan, Tony and me, plus Pete who was on the second ascent and Mike for whom this was his first.

Blea Tarn

We parked near Blea Tarn and made our way around the western side of the tarn before crossing the road for the ascent of Side Pike and the 2011 team picture.  Sadly there was quite a lot of mist about, spoiling the views.

Comitibus:  Side Pike

Aware of the warnings not to attempt any way off the summit other than the way up, we retraced our steps before turning left on the path toward Lingmoor Fell.  First, however, we had to negotiate the Big Squeeze (which has nothing to do with Jools Holland).

My medical condition has a couple of constraints imposed on me.  One is to avoid exposure in case I have a fit whilst tottering over a big drop.  So now I have a good excuse not to do the sort of things that I would not have done anyway due to wimpdom.  I can't remember what the other constraint is.  It might have been something to do with avoiding excess alcohol in case it damages my memory but I forget.

Anyway, that is my excuse for going through rather than round the Big Squeeze.  All the others followed suit.  I can't comment on their excuses!






The climb to the summit of Lingmoor Fell was steep in parts but easy to navigate despite the mist (just follow the wall).  The descent was equally simple and less taxing but with some dramatic views.

Lingmoor Fell summit appears

Elterwater from Lingmoor Fell

Looking over towards Tilberthwaite

Little Langdale Tarn

Eventually we reached the Three Shires Inn (so called due its proximity to the junction of the three counties Westmorland, Cumberland and Lancashire), where we presented Tony with the aforementioned book, Perfect Pies. He was quite taken by surprise.

I must confess that, as I had been the one carrying the book, I was glad to be relieved of it as it was unexpectedly heavy!

Tony and the Hairy Bikers

Steak Pie

Appropriately we all ordered pie and chips.  Although we would have preferred the pastry to have been less flakey, the pie was delicious.

Tony introduced himself to the Landlady who was interested to learn of his historical connection to the Inn and William Parry, the former landlord.

It turned out that two ladies had visited earlier in the year who also had a link back to the Parry family- presumably distant relatives of Pat.

On the wall was a photo of the Tourist's Rest seemingly taken around the same time as the one that Tony had but with some people on it.  Are these Pat's ancestors?

The Tourist's Rest with Pat's ancestors?

Outside on the wall we saw a plaque dated 1903::

By cross referencing with the 1901 census we can work out that these were:

E E L: Emma Last, Single age 40
A K P: Annie Parry, age 8 (Pat's Grandad's Sister)
E E L P: Emma Parry, age 6 (Pat's Great Aunt)
J S P: John Parry, age 3 (Pat's Grandad)
W M P: William M Parry age 1 (Pat's Great Uncle)
R T P is probably Ronald Parry, age 14 (Pat's Great Uncle)

We do not know why Pat's Grandad, William Parry, age 45, innkeeper and quarry man, and his wife, Martha Parry, age 46 are missing from the inscription.  Interestingly, the census tells us that he came from Wales and she from Scotland where their eldest child was born.

We do know a bit more of the history of the Tourist's Rest.
Or should it be Tourists' Rest?

The Ambleside Lakes Herald, Issue 180, August 31, 1883 reported on page 4:

Ambleside Petty Session

Wednesday before G.H. PUCKLE, R. WITHERS, G. REDMAYNE and

Mr. J.T. BOWNASS appeared on behalf of J. Herbert LANGDON of the "Tourists' Rest", Langdale for an extra licence to sell wine, essentially for the accommodation of visitors who frequented that district. The bench would have before them an application on behalf of another house, and it would be for them to decide which house was the most suitable. The "Tourists' Rest" had been constructed with a view of obtaining a more extensive license, and possessed 3 drinking rooms, sitting room, and 3 bedrooms. The rent was £24 and this house was much better situated for supplying the wants of the visitors than the Birch House Inn. Some 14 or 15 carriages passed this house each day during the summer, and the landlord was often asked for wine.

Superintendent SHIELDS said he did not think there was any necessity for fresh licences there being sufficient already at Skelwith Bridge and Langdale.

Mr. GATEY made application on behalf of Daniel Dixon BOWNASS for a licence to sell all intoxicating liquors at Birch House Inn, Little Langdale. The arguments in favour of additional accommodation for that neighbourhood used in the previous application applied equally in this, and there were also special things which applied to that house. The accommodation was the same as in the previous case, and the house was more favourably situated, being at the junction of three roads. The application was made entirely in the interests of the general travelling public, who often required something other than a cold glass of beer. It was probable that the road would become an important one, some four or five coaches passing daily at the present time. The rent was £24.

The bench stated that they had decided to refuse both applications.

And there's more.  Coming soon!


Our return was less challenging; a rather gentler stroll.  We approached the crossing of the River Brathay along a strange raised footpath by the side of a cart track.  Fortunately we did not need to ford the river but could use the footbridge.  Shortly afterwards we passed the ancient Slater's Bridge, spoiled to my mind by the presumably more recent addition of a metal handrail.

Tony and the Hairy Bikers

Steak Pie

We continued along the track to Fell Foot and re-crossed the river.  I was curious to see Ting Mound which is not, as I had first thought, another name for the nearby Castle Howe.

In fact, it is an ancient monument dating back to Viking times, then used as an open air meeting pace by courts and bodies responsible for the administration and organisation of the countryside.

One theory is that it is situated here to take advantage of the Roman roads, one to the fort at the top of Hardknott pass, the other to the Galava fort at Ambleside.

In reality there is little to see other than a slightly elevated rock.

Ting Mound information board

Castle Howe

Castle Howe, on the other hand, is a volcanic lump that was used as a fort in neolithic times.

The Langdales and Side Pike across Blea Tarn.

From here it was a short stroll back to Blea Tarn and the cars  But before leaving, I return now, for the last time, to the topic of the Tourist's (or sts') Rest.  Much to my amazement (seeing as it was me who compiled the page for the web) I found a reference to the Tourist's Rest on the Natland website.  See The Fallen Remembered and also The War Graves.

There is another reference to it in Lakeland Hunting Memories, noting that the huntsman La'al Tommy Dobson, the Veteran Master of Eskdale and Ennerdale Foxhounds for 53 seasons, died there in 1910.  

The report in the Westmorland Gazette at the time records him as being:

"Almost as famous as the celebrated huntsman, John Peel".

These days it might read:

"Almost as famous as the celebrated pieman, Tony Ryan".

Don, 26th October 2011





This week's report has produced a higher than normal number of responses.  Some, of course, liked the Sick Swan story but Roger B, who had hoped to be with us but was prevented by commitment to clients, wrote:

What a great story!

Two elements struck chords with me:

  1. Mr Parry, slate quarryman and innkeeper, could well have moved to little Langdale from the North Wales, where Parry is quite a common name. The cashier at the firm in Chester where I served my articles was Mr Albert Teague. When I told him that I was moving to Kendal he told me that he had been born and brought up in Little Langdale where there were a number of Welsh "immigrants" who had moved there because of their slate quarrying skills. Perhaps his father or grandfather had moved with Pat's grandfather?
  2. I was pleased to see that Mr Gatey was representing one of the failed licence applicants. He would have been the father of the Gatey who later joined William Heelis in partnership in the 1930s. A distinguished predecessor to Richard Brownson certainly had a number of successful and unsuccessful attempts to persuade the licensing bench!


Tony added:

You've found some really interesting additional facts opening up some other interesting avenues. Some of Pat's other relatives are called Bownass (who appeared for Herbert Langdon in 1883) and she also had an uncle called Jack Langdon Parry who died relatively young. "Langdon" seems very unusual so there could be a connection there somewhere as well.

Turning to the corner stone, the initials are all the names of the kids in order of birth with the exception of Emma E. Last (aged 40 and listed as a visitor) Who was she?? Possibly the younger sister of Martha? (Aged 46 and Pat's great grandma).

I think the date shows 1903 after enlarging the pic.

This is getting more and more intriquing!! The article on Tommy Dobson mentions more of her family.

May Bownass and Fred Bownass were Pat's Auntie and Uncle (on her dad's side) and eventually took the Post Office in Little Langdale. Pat's Auntie Ann (her dad's sister) is still alive and only lives up the road on Heron Hill. I must go and see her.


Subsequently Tony reported:

I was at a family funeral in Coniston yesterday where my sister-in-law gave me the picture shown below. It's not brilliant but, with the exception of E.E.L carved on the left of the cornerstone, all the kids match the rest of the initials:

Back row: Martha Parry (46), William Parry (45) Ronald T. Parry (16)

Front Row: Annie K Parry (9), John Parry (4), Emma E.L. Parry (7)

I calculate the picture to have been taken in 1902 - 3 which would also match the date inscribed on the corner stone.

Pats cousin's also thinks the E.E.L must be the sister of Martha who was staying with them.


Chris Peters then joined in the fun, leading to this mini report:

Our Links to Big Josie

Oh what strange connections there are!  We have unearthed an improbable but true series of links from Big Josie, of the Burnmoor Inn and BOOTboys fame, to The Three Shires Inn of Tony's family to naked men from the rather upmarket Sharrow Bay Hotel on Ullswater and by a separate route, much to my surprise, to me!

Folowing the items on The Three Shires, above, Chris P told me that

It is a very small world!  In 1968 I married Valerie Poole at the church in Chapel Style. Valerie was the younger daughter of Harry and Phyllis Poole who owned the Three Shires Inn from the mid 60s until the early 80s.  Val and I ran the hotel for two weeks in late July for about six years to give the Pooles a break and we also did a few weeks in January and February each year.

We were divorced after seven years and I subsequently married the sister of Richard [a BOOTboys reader and potential member] B. Weird reading that Richardís predecessor in his firm of solicitors, Mr Gatey, was involved with licensing the famous hostelry!!

This is all very personal but the Three Shires Inn was a very important part of my life!!  

He went on to add that the Bower House, just down the road from Big Josie's Burnmoor Inn at Boot in Eskdale, used to be run by people called Marsham who were much maligned by Big Josie.  On their day off, they would go over Wrynose and Hard Knott Passes to The Three Shires, sometimes staying the night because Mrs Poole was such a good host and cook.

Mrs Poole also did the preparatory work for the television programme presented by the renowned chef, John Tovey. Before achieving fame at the Miller Howe Hotel, Tovey worked at the renowned Sharrow Bay Hotel where he was the "third man" to its owning partners, Messrs Francis Coulson and Brian Sachs.  Would you believe that this odd couple also used to drive over to The Three Shires on their day off?

Chris tells an amusing story about Coulson and Sachs.  They were fond of swimming in the sea on the Solway coast, naked of course.  One day, a dog walker spotted their clothes and for a bit of fun, hid them.  C&S were unable to find them so had to drive back to the Sharrow Bay without any clothes on!!  Fortunately for them, they were barely noticed.

Mr & Mrs Heelis

To extend the list of improbable but true connections, we now link Big Josie to Beatrix Potter.  

The aformentioned solicitor, Mr Gatey was the partner of Mr Heelis, who married a certain Beatrix Potter.

During the Second World War, Beatrix Potter used to visit her husband in hospital in York, where my mother-in-law was working as an auxiliary nurse.  

She recalls how rude and demanding Mrs Heelis was to her.

However, the consequence of all this is that we finally know my link to Big Josie!  

I really am a BOOTboy!    Well, sort of!


The Big Squeeze

Changing subject completely, John S wrote about the Big Squeeze

I've been both 'round it and through it in my youth - but I was about five stones lighter in the late seventies !!

Just as well John L. and I weren't with you yesterday. We'd have had to either go around the Big Squeeze, or fall off or turn back.*

He then provided the following artist's impression:


Finally,  I was wondering how I might subtley work into this report the score of a certain recent football match.  Then it dawned on me.  Why be subtle??  Hence the seemingly irrelevant inclusion of a wounded bird.  Scroll down for the explanation.







Manchester United:



Manchester City:


 Yes !


Here is the new M.U.F.C. logo:



What a pity I could not have used that
as the title for today's expedition!






Wednesday 26th October

Distance in miles:


Height climbed in feet:


Wainwrights (Outlying Fells):

Side Pike, Lingmoor Fell

Other Features:

Three Shires Inn


Bryan, Don, Mike, Pete, Stan, 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 BB1132.

To see which Wainwright top (excluding Outlying Fells) 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

 BB1121 :
Suitable For The Guests!
Thursday 28th July

BB1122 :
Graylings In Flagrante
Wednesday 3rd August

BB1123 :
The First Indecision Outing
Wednesday 24th August

BB1124 :
The Second Indecision Outing
Thursday 25th August

BB1125 :
The Tale of Tony's Triumph
Wednesday 31st August

BB1126 :
The Gunpowder Trail
Wednesday 7th September

BB1127 :
Four Lords a-Leaping
Thursday 15th September

BB1128 :
Heversham Head and Mhor
Thursday 22nd September

BB1129 :
Training For The Himalayas
Wednesday 28th September

BB1130 :
Turn Again, Whittington
Thursday 13th October

BB1131 :
The Windermere Three Peaks
Thursday 20th October

BB1132 :
Perfect Pies
Wednesday 26th October

BB1133 :
Ol' Men Rovin' 
Wednesday 9th November

BB1134 :
Erotic, Erratic, Improbable
Or What?
Thursday 17th November

BB1135 :
The Princess, the King
and the Tower
Wednesday 23rd November



The Way Of The Roses
12th - 14th September




The Way Of The Roses
12th - 14th September


 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 BOOT
boy in the"modern" era, i.e. since the advent
click on BB Log.