BB1201 : The Eleventh Day of Christmas

Thursday 5th January 2012

I have long been confused as to which day is the twelfth day of Christmas and was relieved to discover that even learned ecclesiastic tomes differ in this respect.  The consensus seems to be that twelfth night precedes the twelfth day (a fact that had escaped me) which means that the evening of 5th December is Twelfth Night.  

Why then is the old saying "as surely as night follows day" rather than the other way round?

Tomorrow (6th) is the last day of the Christmas festivities, formerly (and still in parts of Europe) observed as a time of merrymaking.

This is reflected in the old song about the twelve days of Christmas starting with the Partridge in the Pear Tree and ending with Twelve Drummers Drumming, each of which represents an ecclesiastical allegory.  Perhaps today's report should have been called Eleven Pipers Piping except there were only six of us.  Six geese a-laying and its implied reference to the six days of creation definitely didn't feel right.

There is of course an alternative version of the song that refers to My Lord Montague of Beaulieu but we will pass over that and his five choir boys to spare those of a more delicate nature.  Anyway, it had no relevance to what we were doing!

So, what did we do to mark the eleventh day?

For the first time in BOOTboys' history, as far as I can recall, today we had alternative routes planned from the outset, allowing for mixed levels of capability or ambition.  It seems cruel to call them the A and B routes but for convenience rather than determining superiority, those are the terms I shall use.  Both started at the Staveley Mill Yard but one (A) did a circular tour of the lower Kentmere valley whilst the other (B) finished at a car left strategically part way round. With the exception of John (it was his car), whose knee limits him to around 6 miles, there was no predetermination of who would do what.

After the seemingly continuous heavy rain over the holiday period, it was a relief to find that the forecast was for a half decent day albeit with strong winds. Come the morning, however, things were a little different.  i.e. worse. i.e. rather wet!  Again!  And by strong winds, read up to 80 mph on the fell tops.  

But we were not planning to go that high.  Our route was principally that which we would have undertaken had we not had to abort our Christmas party outing due to, yes, rain and high winds!  

At least the weather forecast promised that there was no risk of ..... "Strong Sunshine". Oh, good!

Fortunately, by the time we had shifted the cars, the sun did start to come out and it proved to be an increasingly nice day, albeit, as promised, rather windy.

The Millennium Bridge

Crossing the river by the Millennium bridge, we trudged east across some remarkably wet fields, emerging onto the road by the Sewage Works!

Remarkably wet fields

The waterfall


We took the track heading north crossing the beck near the waterfall and continued on the side of the fell rather further than I had intended.  Instead of turning down to Birk Field we emerged on the back road through Littlewood farm with its interesting collection of ducks, geese, horses and eggs.

A horsey greeting

A barn for James

Eggs for sale

Belted Galloways

We passed a barn that James seemed keen on converting and then by some Belted Galloway cows, an increasingly common sight around South Lakeland.  In the distance we could see the Coniston and Langdale fells well coated with snow.

The view to the west

Our way led us north to High House and then west across the fields to take lunch sheltered form the wind and from the Shetland ponies.  One poked its head through the hole in the wall and was rewarded with my apple.  When we crossed over, they were very inquisitive and came to say hello then accompanied us down to the next stile.

A guest for lunch

The Shetland family.....

.... saying hello

There was now a superb view up to the fells circling the upper Kentmere valley.

Upper Kentmere valley and fells

On reaching Park House, we took the track north, along the side of Hall Beck, before heading east over the hill, where I had a panic.  I could not find my camera and was convinced I had dropped it.  I searched all my pockets twice and was about to lead everybody back on a search party.  Stan asked that I checked my pockets again but it still wasn't there.  However, it had miraculously then appeared with the strap round my neck and the camera dangling down my chest.  How it got there I don't know but it was a relieved Don that dropped down through the strangely named H P Plantation.

Hall Beck

H P Plantation.

On to Ullthwaite bridge where we stopped as usual for the team photo.  We must have taken more there than anywhere else.  James wanted an alternative one so here it is.

Comitibus:  Ullthwaite Bridge

The alternative team  picture.

After a path that resembled a stream by the side of the river, we reached Browfoot where John opted out as planned.  The rest of the party continued the A walk around Hugill Fell, past Williamson's monument which was accompanied by the moon in a totally clear sky.  There was still a bit of cloud on the hills to the west, however.

Path or stream?

The monument and the moon.

Crinkles and Langdales

As the sun was threatening to set, we dropped down to the A591.

Sunset approaching

From here it was an easy walk back to the Mill Yard to end the day where we started. Or to be more precise, unlike the start, inside the Beer Hall where John was patiently waiting for us.  The beer slipped down easily and the eleventh day could easily have turned into the twelfth night before leaving but wiser heads prevailed.

We hope you had as good an eleventh day.  Happy New Year!

Don, Thursday 5th January 2012


To Thine Own Self Be True

With regard to my quotation "as surely as night follows day", Philip sent me an e-mail "Just for clarification":

The saying you allude to in the opening part to your BB report is, in fact, based upon a quotation in Hamlet, Act Scene III: 

Polonius to Laetes:
"This above all to thine ownself be true and it must follow, as the night the day, thou can'st not then be false to any man"

My only further observation, other than thanking Philip for the clarification, is that as the night follows the day, equally so the day the night!



Dreek, Dreich or Dricht?

Guy W wrote regarding What a Grey Day confirming that HMc's complaint was misplaced.  To see why I told Henry "Up Yers" click on Dreek, Dreich or Dricht.


Bliadhna mhath ur

True to his nature, Henry would not take defeat lying down and has fought back with a strong defence of Dreich, invoking in evidence two BOOTboys.

See Bliadhna mhath ur for Henry's impassioned argument plus additional evidence to the contrary.





Thursday 5th January 2012

Distance in miles:

9.5 (John 6.5)

Height climbed in feet:




Other Features:

Lower Kentmere valley


Don, James, John L, Philip, 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 BB1201.

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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