BB1204 : Two Men Went To Snow

Thursday 2nd February 2012

Where was everybody on this glorious day?  

Excuse after excuse- you know the sort of thing: "must wash my hair", "need to get my beauty sleep", "the wife wants me to go shopping".   Wimps (Stan exempted- see below)! Just because there's snow on the ground and sub-zero temperatures, it is no excuse not to get out in the wonderful sunshine.

At least Bryan was of similar mind, if not even more so.  He suggested that we park up at Kentmere then head up into the snow via the Garburn Pass.  So we did.

Driving up lower Kentmere valley

Looking down the valley from the Garburn Pass


I have to confess that I was, as is usually the case, over-well prepared.  We both had poles, crampons and ice axe.  I also had five handwarmers, four pairs of gloves, three warm hats, two sets of glasses and, instead of the partridge in the pear tree, a space blanket, an emergency bivvy tent, a torch and a great big sac in which to carry them all. Be prepared!  I wasn't a wolf cub for nothing.

Looking down into Upper Kentmere

Distant view of the Conistons and much more!

The scenery as we climbed up Yoke in the snow was nothing short of spectacular. Photos don't do it justice (apart from the horrendous "Fix The Fells" track which was rightly disdained by the snow, leaving an ugly scar on what used to be a lovely trail).  

Bryan posing near Yoke

Looking back to Yoke

Froswick ahead

Fixing the Fells?  Really?

By the time we approached Ill Bell there was a fair amount of ice underfoot, especially on the descents so on went the Kahtoola MicroSpike crampons.  I have had mine for a couple of years but this was first time for Bryan.

The Magic Micro Spikes

Nan Bield Pass dropping to Kentmere reservoirr

I think he was as impressed with their performance as I am.  They won't get you up and down steep ice fields but for general frozen patches, I think they are superb and so easy to put on even with gloves or frozen fingers.

Comitibus : near Ill Bell

Ill Bell summit

Froswick and Ill Bell

After Froswick we traversed round Bleathwaite Crag and Mardale Ill Bell.

Confession number two.  I found this section hard work.  The snow was deep in parts and the slope ran away from left to right whereas my legs run away from right to left. At least that's my excuse.

Yoke, Ill Bell and Froswick after climbing to Bleathwaite Crag

Haweswater from descent to Nan Bield Pass

Nan Bield Shelter comes into view

I was therefore somewhat fatigued by the time we reached the Nan Bield Shelter for lunch where we were joined by a game old lady who was out solo. I don't mean this to be sexist; it is just so rare to find an unaccompanied female on the hills, doubly so at her age and triply so in those conditions.  But she was well prepared and loving it.

However, I had had enough excitement. I voted to descend from there into the valley and Bryan kindly agreed that there was not enough daylight left to warrant doing the full horseshoe.

Kentmere withIll Bell and Froswick behind

There is little else to report except that Tony would be shocked to discover that we called in at the brewery in Staveley and failed to have a drink.  That was not the purpose.  I lost my favourite walking hat on a recent outing and thought I might have left it there.  If I did, it never found its way into the lost property office.  Bryan was secretly glad as he thought it was insufficiently sartorially elegant and lowered the image of the BOOTboys  I am not sure that he thought today's gaucho hat (not illustrated) any better.

I leave you with a silly little ditty; not quite John Masefield (see later) to be sung to the "Mow" song:

Two Men Went to Snow
Went to Snow, Two
Two Men, Ill Bell, Yoke and Froswick
Went to Snow, Two

Don, Thursday 2nd February 2012


Stan Flying Solo

Last Sunday was the That's Lyth Challenge Walk. This has been undertaken several times in the past as a BOOTboys outing but this time Stan was flying solo.  And flying he was, completing the 24 mile course in a new BOOTboys record time.

Here is what he had to say about the day:

The event seemed to have been taken over to a large extent by runners and joggers. After the off I was virtually left standing and when I got to the end of Sandes Avenue I looked back and there was no one to be seen.  I did have a few minutes wondering whether I'd bitten off more than I could chew.  In the event, by the time I got onto the Golf Course I started to catch people up and it became clear that a lot of the walkers had set off early.  I had passed most of them by the time I got to Crosthwaite and was on my own from there to Witherslack.  The conditions were near perfect and I was enjoying the day.

I managed to jog most of the downhill and most of the way from the top of Scout Scar, which as it turned out was a good thing as Martin and his mate had decided to wait and see what time I did - they clocked me in at 6 hours 15 mins.  If I'd been much slower I'd have never heard the last of it.  This was at least 30 minutes quicker than I had expected, particularly given the extended route to 24 miles and my level of unfitness.  Had just over 30 minutes in stops at the checkpoints so managed over 4 miles an hour.  I could probably have reduced the stops a bit, particularly at Witherslack where I stopped for 20 mins,  but otherwise I was probably pushing my limit.  Bryan [who acted as pacemaker in the last section until burned off by Stan.  Ed.] made the point as we came off the Scar that it was a record whatever time I did as it is a 'new course'.  In any event I will not be trying to better it but have set myself the target of doing the event every year at least until I am 70!  This seems to tie in nicely with the saying that there's no fool like an old fool!!

Stan, Sunday 29th January 2012


The Ghostly Head of Helsington

John asks whether anyone saw the "ghostly head" appearing in the BB1203 report?  

He observed that:

If you enlarge the snap of Stu, Tony and me "striding out", you will see my ghostly head, inverted, staring up from the puddle closest to the camera !!  

How can this be? We three must be some seven or eight yards from the puddle - surely too far away for a reflection to appear?

Also there is no sign of my midriff which, judging from the angles, should appear in the other puddle, furthest from the camera.

Spooky or what?

John S for Spectre?

I did in fact notice the ghost when I first received the photos but quite forgot to include it when compiling the report!  Did anyone else spot the spectre?  Click on the picture above to see it in context.


The West Wind:

John's quotation last week of The Air's Like Wine was, as he correctly stated, by John Masefield.  That part of the quotation appears in a poem called The West Wind:

IT''S a warm wind, the west wind, full of birds' cries;
I never hear the west wind but tears are in my eyes.
For it comes from the west lands, the old brown hills.
And April's in the west wind, and daffodils.

It's a fine land, the west land, for hearts as tired as mine,
Apple orchards blossom there, and the air's like wine.
There is cool green grass there, where men may lie at rest,
And the thrushes are in song there, fluting from the nest.

"Will ye not come home, brother? ye have been long away,
It's April, and blossom time, and white is the may;
And bright is the sun brother, and warm is the rain,
Will ye not come home, brother, home to us again?

"The young corn is green, brother, where the rabbits run
It's blue sky, and white clouds, and warm rain and sun.
It's song to a man's soul, brother, fire to a man's brain,
To hear the wild bees and see the merry spring again.

"Larks are singing in the west, brother, above the green wheat,
So will ye not come home, brother, and rest your tired feet?
I've a balm for bruised hearts, brother, sleep for aching eyes,"
Says the warm wind, the west wind, full of birds' cries.

It's the white road westwards is the road I must tread
To the green grass, the cool grass, and rest for heart and head,
To the violets, and the warm hearts, and the thrushes' song,
In the fine land, the west land, the land where I belong.


Jake Walton

This poem has been adapted and set to music by the Irish singer Jake Walton on his 2001 album:

You can read his lyrics at  Emain -  The Unkown Land and listen to the music at The West Wind.





Thursday 2nd February 2012

Distance in miles:


Height climbed in feet:


Wainwrights :

Yoke, Ill Bell, Froswick

Other Features:

Nan Bield Pass


Brian, Don

BOOTboys routes ares put online in gpx format which should work with most mapping software. You can follow our route in detail by downloading BB1204.

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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