: The Old Stink
21st December 2011
you a trainspotter in your youth?
most healthy pre-pubescent boys, I was.
you first saw a steam engine (we weren't
interested in boring new diesels) you "Copped"
next time you saw it, you "Stank" it.
frequently seen engine was known as an "Old
the time I would walk from to school via
the engine sheds at Longsight, armed with
my Ian Allan bible or the Observer's Book
of Railway Locomotives of Britain in the hope of seeing
something rare. A new cop would be duly
underlined; a stink would be crossed out.
now, I still like to hear, see and smell the old
trains on the erstwhile London Midland Scottish
mainline which I can see from the window
as I type these reminiscences.
Old Stink 6201 Princess Elizabeth near Natland
2011 BOOTboys award
for being an "Old Stink" in fellwalking terms
goes to Wansfell.
In fact, that is a tribute to the
hill which is why the hopefully penultimate outing of the year
went back to where it started (see
Revisited). Logistically, it is the easiest
proper Lakeland peak for us to reach when days are short,
not that such considerations stop us being there at
other times. This was our third visit this year with
three of the same team that came out in August on BB1123
First Indecision Outing, albeit
in reverse direction. The fourth, Stan, should
have come with us but, sadly, was under the weather.
the Scots would say, it was a dreek morning as we drove
up to Ambleside past a spooky looking Windermere (the
lake, not the town).
from the Lowwood Hotel
paid an extortionate fee for the time of year to park
then out of his magician's hat Mike produced some magnificent
Wabberthwaite sausages. Fuelled up, we set off up the hill to Jenkins Crag where we took
a Team Picture of what we would have liked the weather
to have been.
we would have liked it
over Windermere to Belle Isle
strange canteen, click for clarification!
we continued, past a peculiar canteen and
then missing the turning up to Robin Lane.
To be fair Mike spotted it but Bryan
and I confidently rejected the proposition.
I wish I could say that decision was
deliberate to provide us with the opportunity
to visit the strange cairn that carries
no plaque but some think is related to the
Romans. Here a more realistic team
picture was taken and we then turned north
up Robin Lane, noticing that Wansfell was
it really was, by the cairn
we joined the Hundreds Road and, later, Nanny Pie Lane,
turning left at the wall and steep slope that leads
directly to the Wansfell Summit. For the first
time in many months, I had to switch on my climbing
song to get me up. Guide Me O Thou Great Redeemer....."
Pike from the Hundreds Road
stopped just short of the summit, taking shelter by
the wall for lunch. I hae hoped for snow underfoot-
I had even taken my winter rucsac complete with crampons,
emergency tent and space blanket. However,
the weather was nasty-
spitty rain and low cloud- and little visibility. The
trek to the ever so slightly lower Wansfell Pike was
similar but then, as we dropped down toward Ambleside,
it became clearer and there were spectacular views over
to the Langdales and beyond as the clouds swirled round.
with Langdales behind
and Belle Isle
reaching a surprisingly un-Christmassy Ambleside, I
was reminded of a former colleague who lived there in
the early 1970s. He was a really nice guy and a Methodist
Lay Preacher. His leaving evening
was legendary. I can't remember that much about
it other than:
climbed the Langdales from the Old Dungeon Gill
think we came down by the screes before they were
run out (or maybe that is a schoolboy memory)
several pints, we were thrown out of the pub, possibly
because one member (not me) threatened to thump the landlord!
car came up the valley. We thought the landlord
had called the
police so I ran across the car park and attempted
to vault the wall only to find barbed wire on the
top which ripped my brand new trousers!
were camping in the field in two tents when the
occupants of the other tent decided to let down
our guy ropes!
led to a retreat to his house in Ambleside
where we kipped on the floor
B went to the loo and reappeared upside down on
the stairs complaining that a tree fell on him.
days. What was less happy is what was discovered
after he left. All I will say is that his
former employer was Derby County in Brian Clough's days.
the tale should end on a positive note. Today,
we had enjoyed a good outing and in trainspotting terms,
Wansfell is officially now an Old Stink!
Wednesday 21st December 2011
above tale of the visit to the Old Dungeon Gill prompted
John S, who was there and the one implied to have threatened
the Landlord, wrote to correct the record:
recollection of the I.M.L.P's (Infamous Methodist Lay
Preacher's) farewell bash tallies with yours perfectly,
with the exception of the "threatening to thump
the Landlord" passage.
recall the incident clearly, (albeit through an alcoholic
haze at the time plus the passage of almost forty years
since), as "incitement" rather than "threatening"
to thump the Landlord.
can, to this day, recall the slurred but tender Pickering
tones of the "W.M.F.Y" (World's Most Famous
Yorkshireman) shouting "Hit 'im Johnny" whilst
I was trying, peacefully, to negotiate an extra five
minutes drinking up time with the said Landlord.
how it was. I'm sure the W.M.F.Y. will confirm.
suggested that the Hit 'im John related to another incident
when we were returning from a restaurant with John driving,
not having consumed much alcohol, when we were followed
by the police and stopped down a narrow country lane.
John, being sober, got out of the car and approached
the policemen saying in a sensible tone "What's
wrong, men?" whilst the aforementioned Pickeringer
and latterly pillar- I think I have spelt that correctly-
of society) shouted from the back seat "Hit 'em
however corrected my memory, pointing out that I was
referring to the second such incident and that the first
was definitely in the ODG. He added:
I recall, someone had just bought a final round of drinks
in anticipation of closing time but closing time was
called within a minute or two of being served. Then,
within another minute or two a very noisy barman came
around shouting "Drink up it's past closing - havn't
you homes to go to ... " etc at the top of his
voice and in a very aggressive manner.
that point, on checking our watches, we decided that
they had their clock set five or ten minutes ahead of
the actual time and that fact, coupled with our statutory
ten minutes drinking up time, meant that we had at least
a quarter of an hour in hand to finish our pints. I
was telling the barman this, admittedly in quite a heated
way because of the perceived injustice, when the famous
words were uttered.
a Grey Day?
Scot, Henry McC takes me to task for the use of the
you know I am an avid follower of the exploits of the
. I am also aware from my previous experience of working
for you that your actuarial background requires complete
accuracy of detail. In these circumstances, I feel it
pertinent to point out that the Scots say: "it
was a DREICH morning".
correctly summarises my character but, in my defence,
I produce as evidence the Urban
definition that "dreek" means bad weather.
"The kind of weather which makes you miserable:
dull, grey and wet. If it rains hard and water runs
down your neck it's dreek".
is reinforced by the Soap Lady of Lewis in her BBC Scotland
Weather n'est-ce pas ...?!
interpretations such as A
Hard Rock Band of Bangladesh
or the acronym for Digital
Representation of Emotionally Expressed Knowledge
are not relevant to this argument.
concede that the aforementioned Urban Dictionary also
gives a definition of "Dreich", namely "A
combination of dull, overcast, drizzly, cold, misty
and miserable weather. At least four of the above adjectives
must apply before the weather is truly dreich".
similar in meaning, the alert will observe the specific
absence of grey from the latter definition and, as it
was exceedingly grey (evidenced by the picture of Windermere),
I stand by my assertion that it was a dreek morning.
That it was also a dreich morning, I would
Merriam Webster dictionary throws further light (if
that is the right word) on the matter. Its simple
definition of "dreich" is "dreary"
and it goes on to state that "historically regarded
as a dreich
corner of Britain, Scotland's very name comes from the
Greek word for "dark".
rest my case.
My apology to Larry
Grayson fans for
misquoting his catchphrase in the heading of this addendum.
Dreich or Dricht?
W also wrote regarding What
a Grey Day saying:
brother in law, an absentee but avid Aberdonian, uses
the word “dricht” with very much the same meaning. It
comes into frequent use at this time of the year. Given
the variety of dialects in Scotland, together with the
absence of any great concern for regimented “correct”
spellings prior to the 20th century, dreek, dreich or
dricht - it’s all the same when the view is restricted
to 15 yards, rain is slowly trickling down your neck
and your boots have finally started leaking!
Henry, as they say in Glasgow, " Up Yers!"
L, if no-one else, will like that!
of course as is his competitive nature, fought back
with the following argument:
have read your interesting and amusing defence. I too
have been doing some research . A number of Scots language
publications provide some helpful information.
"Dictionary of Scottish Language" ,"
Parliamo Scots", "Scots Tongue",
" Scottish Vernacular dictionary" . I have
also referred to the " Oxford English Dictionary
". All these publications refer to "dreich"
not "dreek". Whilst I accept that the Urban
dictionary which you quote refers to "dreek"
, I could find no mention of Scottish origin. The Urban
dictionary also refers to " dreich" and its
"old Scots origin".
the holiday period I was in contact with a number of
Scots and I asked them the "dreich " or "dreek
" question. Result-- "Dreek" 0 "Dreich"
keep up to date with things Scottish via BBC Scotland.
Interestingly I have heard the weather presenters referring
to "Dreich" weather conditions.
suggest you confer with two of your BootBoy colleagues.
Ask the question to Brian W, a Scot. Also ask John L.
John, a Yorkshireman, was dispatched to Glasgow for
a long period of corrective training. Ask John the "Dreich"
or "Dreek " question.
a proud Scot I say "Dreich" and I have never
heard "Dreek 'being uttered by a Scot although
for obvious reasons , "Dreich " is used extensively.
Perhaps you will be able to find a Scot who will say
"Dreek" but your quote "as the
Scots would say" suggests a common, normal and
regular usage of " Dreek", I suggest that
in view of the evidence you should perhaps revise your
use and understanding of the Scots language.
New Year or as the Scots might say -Bliadhna mhath ur.
did wonder whether that concluding Scots phrase might
be something rude but I should have known better, it
is simply Gaelic for Happy New Year.
was confident that John L would support the party line.
However he confirms Henry's account but that he was
only exposed to the Glaswegian version during his missionary
work in Scotland.
informed me that in Edingburgh yet another similar sounding
but differently spelt word is used.
part of my evidence, i.e. that relating to Dricht, comes
from the Highlands and that of Dreek comes from impeccable
sources including the very BBC Scotland to which Henry
refers and not from a few drunken Glaswegians, my case
is sad that an exiled Scot should have nothing better
to exercise his mind than this dreary argument but,
as shown earlier, that
very word, dreary, is the
Merriam Webster dictionary
definition of "dreich"!!!!!
in a seasonal spirit of goodwill, I hereby amend my
original statement "as the Scots would say"
to "as some Scots would say".
Further than that, I cannot be moved!
least we are united in wishing all Bliadhna
mhath ur and Lang
may yer lum reek.
Ruler of the World
well known Irishman Seán Mór
(i.e. Big John S) sought clarify matters in the great
think I know the answer to the "Dreich/Dreek"
are, invariably, unable to enunciate the gutteral "ch"
or "gh" suffixes to many Gaelic words. "Sassenach"
itself is a fine example in that the "ach"
bit should be formed by the back of the tongue touching
the soft pallet and air forced between the two - just
like hawking prior to spitting! Brits and others
notable example is "Lough" and "Lock"
and the finest example in Ireland is the foreigners'
mispronunciation of "Connaught" which should
be pronounced "Cunucht" (looks rude) but usually
finishes up as "Conort".
Heaney, ("Famous Seamus" as he is known, irreverently,
in Ireland), theorises that there is an "OCH"
line which separates England and Wales from Scotland
and Ireland. The "OCH", he argues, is pronounced
correctly to the West and North of the line and incorrectly
to the South and East. He must be right!
from the fact that the term Sassenach (or Saxon) includes
Lowland Scots as well as English, I
can largely accept the pronunciational eludication from Seán
Mor but cannot agree with his final paragrpah. Henry
(being understood to be Lowland, Heaney does not apply)
had claimed a uniformity of spelling in Scotland whereas
it was Dòmhnall (which when translated into English
means mighty ruler of the BOOTboys world) and
who suggested there were regional variations.
reading about our last outing, Ian G thought I had
To find out more see Two-timed.
21st December 2011
climbed in feet:
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 BB1139.
see which Wainwright top (excluding Outlying Fells)
was visited on which BB outing
For the latest totals of the mileages and heights see: BB Log.
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A Promenade of
The B Team
A Little Bit Of
Home From The
Taking The Brunt
Up The Spout
Not The Royal Wedding
Kentmere Parts 1 & 2
5th, Saturday 7th May
Five Unknown Tarns
Gurnal Dubbs Revisited
A March Through The Mist
Wednesday 15th June
All The Way From Barrow
Suitable For The Guests!
Graylings In Flagrante
First Indecision Outing
The Tale of Tony's Triumph
The Gunpowder Trail
Wednesday 7th September
Four Lords a-Leaping
Thursday 15th September
Heversham Head and Mhor
Training For The Himalayas
Turn Again, Whittington
The Windermere Three Peaks
Wednesday 26th October
Erotic, Erratic, Improbable
The Princess, the King
and the Tower
The Leck Beck Trek
The Wild Wet Show
Of Mice and Men
Thursday 15th December
The Old Stink
The Castle and
Way Of The Roses
- 14th September
Click on the photos
for an enlargement
or related large
see which Wainwright
top was visited on which
outing see Which
download a log of heights and miles and which Wainwrights
been done by which BOOTboy
in the"modern" era, i.e. since the advent