BB1203 : The Air's Like Wine

Thursday 26th January 2012

When John S learned that I was not available this week, he grasped his opportunity with the following suggestion:

This is our big chance to suggest a leisurely stroll somewhere - six miles max and five hundred feet (all downhill). Or something different such as Branthwaite Brow (North Face) on skateboards and without oxygen. A true POUFFEboys route - flat most of the way. It'll be like walking the South Downs.

Here is his report of the actual event complete with my editorial notes:

When Elizabeth Deincourt married Sir William de Stirkeland in 1239 the sixteen hundred acre Sizergh Estate passed into his hands, as was the practice in those pre Women’s Rights days.

Subsequently the Norman surname “de Stirkeland” morphed into “Strickland.”  Today, almost eight hundred years later, Strickland family members remain resident in Sizergh’s imposing Castle (although the building is now in the care of the National Trust).

Somewhere along the line the family picked up the additional and diverting surname of “Hornyold.”  Whether the male members of the family have found this cognomen disadvantageous in chatting up blue-blooded totty is debatable. Come to think of it, it can’t have done much harm since the family is still thriving.

[Simon Hornyold subsequently advised that the Stricklands ran out of male heirs.  Henry Hornyold married the Strickland heiress. He was the younger son of the Hornyold family, at Blackmore Park, Hanley Swan, Worcestershire. where the Hornyold family have been in residence since the 11th century - one being hanged in 1068 as a a Saxon terrorist/freedom fighter! ]

Anyway, Sizergh Castle car park was chosen as the start point for the Boot Boys Thursday stroll, north along Scout Scar and Cunswick Scar (that of the silent “w”), to Ratherheath Tarn, a distance of a little over six miles.

This may sound straightforward enough but arranging the RV proved a headache.
[What's an RV?  Ed.]  
Clearly the planned route, being linear rather than circular, demanded that the “three car trick” be employed to ferry folk to and from the start and finish points. Bryan. who was deputed, in Don’s absence, to arrange the junket, was knocked out with a heavy cold and had to hand over the reins at the last minute to me, John S. I will not boor you, dear reader, with details of the complex and confusing flurry of e-mails and phone calls that followed.  Suffice it to say that it was a nerve jangling experience and only resolved as late as 10.30 p.m. on Wednesday night. If Don faces such problems every week, I worry for his sanity!  [No. Not every week! Ed.]

However, Thursday morning saw Mike, Tony, Stuart and me meeting at Ratherheath where Tony and Stuart’s cars were left for ferrying purposes. The party were then whisked via the magic carpet of Mike’s capacious Jag to Sizergh where James and Roger. were waiting by the roadside since both the Castle and the Car Park were shut for the winter! A minor and insignificant setback that served only to add six hundred yards or so to the outing.

Stuart, Tony and John stride forth

The day had dawned fair and promising but was threatening squalls and showers as we headed west on the footpath from the Castle. Within minutes we were enjoying a foretaste of the gloopy underfoot conditions we were to encounter elsewhere on the walk. It was like Passchendale without the HE and shrapnel. [For non-army personnel needing an explanation of RV and HE, see later.  Ed.]




Soon, however, were onto grass and climbing north through open parkland to join the metalled track connecting Holeslack Farm with the Brigsteer Road. On the climb, Stuart made friends with a sizeable erratic boulder, one of the many that pepper the landscape hereabouts.

Stuart on the rock

From the top of the rising ground the views to the south were magnificent for, whilst we languished under thick and threatening cloud cover, the sun shone upon the Fylde lighting the distant land and seascape whilst throwing Arnside Knott into stark relief.

A few yards further along the track brought us to the little church of St.John’s, Helsington.

Built in 1726, thanks to the generosity of John Jackson Esq of Holeslack Farm, the Church serves the village of Brigsteer several hundred feet below. It retains Helsington in its title after the sometime townland of that name in which it is situated, (Helsington was one of the twenty four townlands that went to make up the greater parish of Kendal).

St John's Helsington ....

 ..... plus a strange man

The Church boasts a striking mural above the altar. Painted by a Miss Saumarez in 1919 the painting is dedicated to the memory of:

All the faithful departed, especially those who fell in the Great War.

The mural

St.John’s is a singularly unimposing building but one which enjoys views to die for.

The view south to Arnside Knott

The view west to Whitbarrow Scar

... and further round to the north west

Crossing the Brigsteer Road brought us to the two-mile stretch of Scout Scar with its footpath skirting the very edge of the precipitous drop to the valley below.

The views over the Lyth Valley and, from time to time, the entire Cumbrian mountain range, must surely rank amongst the finest in England?

[Agreed, but  perhaps not today, judging by the photos!  Ed.]

Looking across the Lyth Valley

We reached the far famed Mushroom Shelter, about half way through the walk, just in time to avoid the worst of a bitterly cold sleety/snowy squall. Lunch was eaten hurriedly before chills set in and ancient limbs seized up entirely.

A kindly gentleman took the group snap [How standards have fallen!  Involving third parties to take photos?  Whatever next?  Ed.] and was rewarded with a bum steer to “” to see the results of his helpfulness. If he has managed to navigate his way to this blog – thank you Sir, and why don’t you join us?

Comitibus : Scout Scar Mushroom Shelter

The kindly gentleman

Cunswick Scar, a two thousand yard extension of Scout Scar, offers stunning views to the North, (the far Eastern Lakeland Fells), to the East, (the Howgills & Pennines) and to the West, (the Lyth Valley and the Central Western Lakeland Fells).

The Scar describes a gentle dip to its lowest point and an equally gentle rise to its highest point, a cairn at the top of Cunswick Fell. Strolling the downhill stretch on its close cropped yielding turf brought to mind John Masefield’s lines:

“…then down on the mile long green decline
where the turf’s like spring and the air’s like wine ..”

Or something like that !

Alas the poetic reverie was broken by the treacherous, slippery descent to the Crook Road that found John grovelling in the mud. No harm done – other than to his dignity. [Where's the photo? Ed.]

The last mile to Ratherheath Lane crossed Sir James Cropper’s land.  Staked out, as it was, for a Pheasant shoot, the BOOTboys were pleased to see no sign of beaters or Guns. And so the last few yards back to the waiting cars proved peaceful and without incident.

Stuart and I made our separate ways home whilst amongst the party returning to collect cars at Sizergh there was talk of pies and pints at the Strickland Arms. But whether that plan ever came to fruition - your correspondent hasn’t a clue.

All in all a good day out providing great company, a pleasant walk, fantastic views and the joke of the week.  [See below. Ed.]

And so to bed, as some other diarist, whose name escapes me, was wont to say.

John, 26th January 2012

Thanks, John, and also to Mike and Tony for the photos. Ed.


Army Terms Clarification

When asked to explain the RV and HE initials, John responded:

I must be regressing to Army days!  

RV is a colloquial abbreviation, in the military, for "rendezvous."  
Very handy for most squaddies who struggle with French !

HE is a martial acronym for "High Explosive."
(See Wikipedia
"List of British Ordnance Terms" - Subsection 16.)

I vaguely recall being cheered to the rafters in some long forgotten needle-match Quiz for offering the correct meaning of the word "Lyddite." - a high explosive developed in England at the time of the Boer War and used extensively in World War One.

Useless information or what ?? !!!


Joke of the Week:

A thousand Glaswegians were asked if Scotland should change its currency.

They overwhelmingly voted to keep the Giro.


The Wrong Sort of Mummy

Our Greek correspondent takes me to task for blind adherence to AltaVista Babel Fish when translating the colloquial term for the female parent into Greek in BB1202.

Seemingly the μούμια part of μούμια και μπαμπάς refers to the Egyptian Pharaoh type of mummy and not to the mother of the child.

All I can say is Οι συγγνώμες μου !





Thursday 26th January 2012

Distance in miles:

6.1 prior estimate

Height climbed in feet:

Not much!

Wainwrights (Outlying Fells) :

Scout Scar, Cunswick Scar

Other Features:

The Mushroom. Strickland Castle


James, John S, Mike, Roger B, Stuart, Tony


BOOTboys routes ares put online in gpx format which should work with most mapping software. This time you are unable to follow our route in detail by downloading BB1203.

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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