BB1205 Part 3 : Why Don't You Get Back Into Bed?

Thursday 9th February 2012

Following on from BB1204's Two Men Went to Snow, today was supposed to be

Three Men went to Snow
Went to Snow, Three
Three Men, Fairfield and Traveller's Rest
Went to Snow, Three

Instead it turned into:

No Men went to Snow
Stopped from Snow by V
BOOTboys but no Transport
Stopped from Snow by V

I was preparing for our outing, a repeat perhaps of  BB1004, this time taking advantage of our seniority on the free (for us) 555 bus to the top of Dunmail Raise to be followed by a romp in the snow.

The coffee had just been poured into the flask when Stan rang.  Was I sure that I wanted to go out today, he asked?  I spoke to Bryan. He told me how cars were crawling and slithering round Kendal Green, his daughter couldn't get to school and there was a crash at the bottom of Windermere Road. The problem was verglas; a thin coating of ice making rocks and roads treacherous.. Rain falling on sub-zero temperature ground and immediately freezing.  Had we been able to reach the fells, then, properly equipped, there would have been little problem.  But the prospect of getting out of Kendal, never mind the bus reaching the top of Dunmail Raise, seemed remote.

"Why don't you get back into bed?" asked the wife, reminding me of the question posed by the Blockheads to Ian Reasons to be Cheerful, Part 3.  She looked so pretty; how could I refuse?  For some unknown reason, she immediately leapt out, leaving me to the dubious charms of Melvyn Bragg discussing Erasmus. Dozing, the news seemed full of how the Syrian authorities blamed the weather on terrorists.  Or vice versa. Then Radio 4 moved on to a discussion of male infertility.  It was time to get back out of bed.

In front of a blazing log fire, we enjoyed the flask of coffee that I had made earlier.

The previous day had been so different.  Very cold but, with the sun shining on the white Lakeland fells, it looked stunning

Mr & Mrs Smug had had a test run out in the snow.  We donned our Kahtoola Microspikes (about which, by coincidence, I had raved in the aforementioned BB1004) by the church then zoomed round Rydal Water anticlockwise, out along the Coffin Route and then back by Loughrigg Terrace.  With the significant exception of a well equipped group of local ladies including Charlotte C and Cath E, it was amazing how many folk we passed had no form of traction on the ice- falling down all over the place.  Had I had a rucksac full of Microspikes, I reckon I could have made a fortune.

By the cave we spotted a strange being:  Was it sheep?  Was it a geisha?  Or what?

Click on the picture to discover its true identity. Somewhat reminiscent of the similar apparition on BB0402.

We celebrated our smugness with an early supper at Zeff's, only slightly spoilt by a rather loud lady on the table behind me going on about "Female Genital Mutilation".  It nearly put me off my pizza.  Better than Male Infertility, I suppose!

After watching The Descendents in the cinema, we returned home after a remarkably good day. Time to get back into bed!

Don, Thursday 9th February 2012


A Boost To The Climb

Stan gently took me to task for reproducing his e-mail to me about That's Lyth without mentioning it to him first, saying that had he realised he would have given full credit to Bryan for turning out to give him support.  He added: "It certainly gave me a boost as the climb onto the Scar from Levens seemed far easier than previous years."

Well done Bryan but let this be a lesson to all BOOTboys that anything they tell me might be taken down and used in evidence.  

Who's that naughty person at the back who just said "knickers"?


He's Done, He's Dithered

My contention that The Air's Like Wine derived from John Masefields' The West Wind was only partially correct.  Although that phrase is there, the rest of the quoted words are not. John S rightly took me to task for the incorrect citation, saying:

Masefield has plagiarised himself!

The poem from which I snatched the phrase "... air's like wine.." was in fact Reynard the Fox. The couplet in which it appears is as follows:

"Then down on the mile long green decline
where the turf's like spring and the air's like wine,
Where the sweeping spur of the downland spills
into Wan Brook Valley and Wan Dyke Hill."

A great epic poem. I am particularly fond of other lines from the same piece, lines that run through my mind constantly when lagging behind the pack on BOOTboys outings. They describe the Fox as he begins to run out of puff:

"And here as he ran to the huntsman's yelling,
the Fox first felt that the pace was telling,
His body and lungs seemed all grown old,
his legs less certain, his heart less bold,
The hound noise nearer, the hill slope steeper,
the thud of the blood in his body deeper".

I know how he feels !


Thank you, John, for that correction. Naughty Masefield did use the air / wine allusion twice. My favourite couplet is from the Reynard tale is:

He slipped as he leaped the hedge; he slithered;
"He's mine," thought Robin. "He's done; he's dithered."

Shown below is the full poem.  There are many other stories and songs about Reynard the Fox that can be explored via Wikipaedia but strangely this one is missing.  

Oh, what an erudite site is the BOOTboys!


Reynard The Fox
The Ghost Heath Run

Like a hound for stay, like a stag for swift, 
With his shadow beside like spinning drift.,
Past the gibbet-stock all stuck with nails,
Where they hanged in chains what had hung at jails,

Past Ashmundshowe where Ashmund sleeps,
And none but the tumbling peewit weeps,
Past Curlew Calling, the gaunt grey corner
Where the curlew comes as a summer mourner,

Past Blowbury Beacon shaking his fleece,
Where all winds hurry and none brings peace,
Then down, on the mile-long green decline
Where the turf's like spring and the air's like wine,

Where the sweeping spurs of the downland spill
Into Wan Brook Valley and Wan Dyke Hill.
On he went with a galloping rally
Past Maesbury Clump for Wan Brook Valley,

The blood in his veins went romping high
"Get on, on, on to the earth or die."
The air of the downs went purely past,
Till he felt the glory of going fast,

Till the terror of death, though there indeed,
Was lulled for a while by his pride of speed;
He was romping away from hounds and hunt,
He had Wan Dyke Hill and his earth in front,

In a one mile more when his point was made,
He would rest in safety from dog or spade;
Nose between paws he would hear the shout
Of the "gone to earth" to the hounds without,

The whine of the hounds, and their cat feet gadding,
Scratching the earth, and their breath pad­padding,
He would hear the horn call hounds away,
And rest in peace till another day.

In one mile more he would lie at rest
So for one mile more he would go his best.
He reached the dip at the long droop's end
And he took what speed he had still to spend.

So down past Maesbury beech clump grey,
That would not be green till the end of May,
Past Arthur's Table, the white chalk boulder,
Where pasque flowers purple the down's grey shoulder

Past Quichelm's Keeping, past Harry's Thorn
To Thirty Acre all thin with corn.
As he raced the corn towards Wan Dyke Brook,
The pack had view of the way he took,

Robin hallooed from the downland's crest,
He capped them on till they did their best.
The quarter mile to the Wan Brook's brink
Was raced as quick as a man can think.

And here, as he ran to the huntsman's yell­ing,
The fox first felt that the pace was telling,
His body and lungs seemed all grown old,
His legs less certain, his heart less bold,

The hound-noise nearer, the hill slope steeper,
The thud in the blood of his body deeper,
His pride in his speed, his joy in the race
Were withered away, for what use was pace?

He had run his best, and the hounds ran better.
 Then the going worsened, the earth was wetter.
Then his brush drooped down till it sometimes dragged,
And his fur felt sick and his chest was tagged

With taggles of mud, and his pads seemed lead,
It was well for him he'd an earth ahead.
Down he went to the brook and over,
Out of the corn and into the clover,

Over the slope that the Wan Brook drains,
Past Battle Tump where they earthed the Danes,
Then up the hill that the Wan Dyke rings
Where the Sarsen Stones stand grand like kings.

Seven Sarsens of granite grim,
As he ran them by they looked at him;
As he leaped the lip of their earthen paling
The hounds were gaining and he was failing.

He passed the Sarsens, he left the spur,
He pressed up hill to the blasted fir,
He slipped as he leaped the hedge; he slithered;
"He's mine," thought Robin. "He's done; he's dithered."

At the second attempt he cleared the fence,
He turned half right where the gorse was dense,
He was leading hounds by a furlong clear.
He was past his best, but his earth was near.

He ran up gorse, to the spring of the ramp,
The steep green wall of the dead men's camp,
He sidled up it and scampered down
To the deep green ditch of the dead men's town.

Within, as he reached that soft green turf,
The wind, blowing lonely, moaned like surf,
Desolate ramparts rose up steep,
On either side, for the ghosts to keep.

He raced the trench, past the rabbit warren,
Close grown with moss which the wind made barren,
He passed the spring where the rushes spread,
And there in the stones was his earth ahead.

One last short burst upon failing feet,
There life lay waiting, so sweet, so sweet,
Rest in a darkness, balm for aches.
The earth was stopped. It was barred with stakes.




BB1205 Part 3

Wednesday 8th February 2012

Distance in miles:


Height climbed in feet:


Wainwrights :

Rydal Water

Other Features:



Don, Margaret


BOOTboys routes ares put online in gpx format which should work with most mapping software. You can'f follow our route in detail by downloading BB1205 as there ain't one!

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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