BB1206 : Armageddon Revisited

Thursday 16th February 2012

Oh, where have you been, my blue-eyed son?
 Oh, where have you been, my darling young one?

I’ve stumbled on the side of twelve misty mountains
I’ve walked and I’ve crawled on six crooked highways
I’ve stepped in the middle of seven sad forests
I’ve been out in front of a dozen dead oceans
I’ve been ten thousand miles in the mouth of a graveyard

And it’s a hard, and it’s a hard, it’s a hard, and it’s a hard
And it’s a hard rain’s a-gonna fall

Do you remember Bob Dylan's apocalyptic anthem written during the 1962 Cuban nuclear missile crisis when Kennedy and Khruschev went eyeball to eyeball and it seemed like the end of the world as we knew it was imminent?  

Of A Hard Rain is Going to Fall, Dylan said:

Every line in it is actually the start of a whole song. But when I wrote it, I thought I wouldn't have enough time alive to write all those songs so I put all I could into this one.

When we visited Latterbarrow on BB0710, it looked reminscent of the aftermath of a nuclear war.

The prospect of bad weather on the higher fells gave us the opportunity to see the extent to which recovery had taken place. Today was not the day to stumble on the side of twelve misty mountains. It was time to revisit Armageddon.

Latterbarrow after the Hard Rain had fallen, 2007

First, however and thanks to Mike's generosity, there was yet another opportunity to sample a Linthwaite Wabberthwaite sausage!  For Tony, this has taken over as his luxury breakfast of choice now that Greggy's no longer produce Corned Beef pasties.

Mike produces breakfast

Bryan inspects ball whilst Tony is scoffing

Tony produced a football signed by the Leeds United players in their pre-Premiership glory year (1992) which, for some strange reason, Bryan found even more ecstatic than the sausage.

After the sausage fest, we walked down to the ferry just in time to see the gates close and the boat move gently away from us.

Farewell, ferry

Bryan inspects ball whilst Tony is scoffing

To be fair, it didn't take long for it to return and take us over to the western shore and its strange aluminum boat.

Looking up .....

..... and across Windermere

After a couple of miles of heading north along the lakeside, we were wondering if we had found the right path to branch off for our objective.  I consulted my map and had a bit of a shock. I could see how to climb Fairfield but not Latterbarrow.  Wrong one brought. Failed at the first time of testing.  Fortunately Bryan, as you would expect, was better prepared and able to guide us up through the woods to the battlefield.  It was little changed.  A few conifers were starting to change the impression but it will take a long time before the scars diminish.  

Armageddon revisited

Another view of the devastation

After climbing a most unusual stile, we soon summited. Fortunately, the actual top of Latterbarrow is quite a pleasant grassy mound with spectacular views (on a clearer day) over Windermere and also to the west.  A good place to take lunch as long as you can get out of the wind.

Comitibus : Strange stile, Latterbarrow

Latterbarrow summit

Windermere from Latterbarrow

Bryan checks the map

Rain started to set in as we made our long way south, discovering en-route another battlefield.

One of Dylan's "Seven sad forests"?

The route passed a couple of minor tarns, evidence of some serious logging activity, and then St Valentine's Tree.

The first minor tarn

Strange tree, Latterbarrow

Serious logging

Second minor tarn

The descent to the ferry reminded me of ski resorts where you can return down a forest trail that is hair-raising on skis and not that easy on foot.  Just before the bottom, we were totally taken by surprise to find a building about which we were all ignorant, namely Claife Station.  

Claife Station as seen by me .....

..... and from below

According to the plaque, Thomas West's 1778 guide to the Lakes described several viewpoints or stations where "tourists could enjoy the best view of the Windermere landscape".  This one, however, was built in the 1790s and "was at its most fashionable in the 1830s and 40s, when it was used for parties and dances as well as for landscape appreciation".

National Trust artist's impression

and picture on warning sign

It is now in the hands of the National Trust, sadly derelict and fenced off

Same angle as on sign, different weather!

There is little more to report.  Just an uneventful ferry crossing and climb back up to the Linthwaite and the awaiting car.  

Awaiting the ferry

And an apocalyptic vision:

Oh, what did you see then, my BOOTboy son?
Oh, what did you see then, my darling young one?

I saw a pub full of pies and no Tony within it
I saw a big Alpine peak but no Bryan to climb it
I saw a five star hotel with no Mike to promote it
I saw a Bob Graham round but no Stan to support it
I saw a BOOTboys report with no Don to upload it
I saw a BOOTboys web site and nobody to read it 

And it’s a hard, and it’s a hard, it’s a hard, and it’s a hard
And it’s a hard rain’s a-gonna fall

Don, 16th February 2012



These Foolish Things

I was taken to task by occasional BOOTboy (well, he does live in deepest Dorset) Tim who reminded me that when he and his wife, Margaret, visited us several years ago, they went on a walk that passed Claife Station.  

He recalls that when he mentioned it to me, I told him that I wasn't aware of its existence. As is often the case these days, I had completely forgotten but, on being reminded, it made me think of the well-known song These Follish Things in which:Noel Coward strangely omitted this verse:

The day that Tim went to The Claife Station
He told me then it was a great sensation
Me, he now upbraids
Because the memory fades
Remind me of ... what was it again?

With apologies to the original writers who are variously shown on the internet as being:

  • Eric Maschwitz, Jack Stachey and Harry Link or
  • Holt Marvell, Jack Strachey and Harry Link or
  • Andy Spearpoint, Dolan Hewison, Perry Saunders and Justin Crawford
  • or was it Dave Dee, Dozy, Beakey, Mick and Titch?


West's Stations

Chris P also took me to task, gently, about the aforementioned building.  He wrote:

I know how you like accuracy so I am querying the name Thomas Weir as I have always believed that one of the first guides to the Lake District was written by Thomas West.

Many of the "stations" were known as West's stations.  Sometimes visitors were encouraged to look at the views with the help of a mirror.  

My apologies and the text has now been corrected.  I can only blame failing eyesight or the wrong spectacles!






Thursday 16th February 2012

Distance in miles:

10.5 (11.3 including ferries)

Height climbed in feet:


Wainwrights :


Other Features:

Claife Station


Bryan, Don, Mike, Stan, Tony


BOOTboys routes ares put online in gpx format which should work with most mapping software. You can follow our route in detail by downloading BB1206

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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