BB1213 : The Book of the Month, part 1

Thursday 5th April 2012

We all need a challenge to keep us motivated.  It was very noticeable how, after Stan and I completed the Wainwrights, we drifted because we had no specific target in mind. We talked about various possibilities but for some time there was no overriding goal in our subsequent outings.  

Partly to overcome this problem and partly as a training exercise for Mont Blanc later in the year, Bryan has set himself the target of completing all of Wainwright's Eastern Fells in April.  

The Book of the Month.

Today was his first part: the Fairfield Horseshoe.  I have, of course, visited all the tops involved but I have never previously done them as part of this classic circuit.  

It was time to put that right.

Every webpage about the Fairfield Horseshoe seems to talk about its fell race and the best time of 75 minutes.    Bryan might have been able to do something close to that once upon a time but not me so no more mention.

We, i.e. Bryan, decided we should do the route anti-clockwise which suited me as I remembered the climb up Nab Scar to be hard work.  It was a superb day as we parked by Rydal Mount.  I switched on my GPS and we followed the track by the Hall and then south. Here we met our first obstacle.  Yesterday's gales had brought down a tree that was presenting an almost impenetrable barrier.  Almost.  Fortunately we found a way through.

Blocked path!

Bryan negotiates a way through

On reaching Scandale Beck we turned north and attacked our first objective Low Pike.

The Conistons and round from Low Pike

High Pike with Dove Crag behind

So far so good.  The next was more exciting.  There was a rocky cliff in the way and people struggling to get up.  Bryan decided that we should take the direct route by the wall. Once there I could see why others had opted for a more central route.

Looking back over Low Pike to Windermere

Talk about one giant step for mankind. I was so intent on trying to figure out how to overcome the challenge that I quite forgot to get my camera out.  

Bryan just about managed it.  I then took a vertical leap for a minuscule toehold and missed.

Fortunately I managed to get my knee onto a shelf and pull myself up, not knowing whether to be ashamed at my lack of technique or proud of my stumbling triumph.

What I did know was that my knee hurt!

We pressed on up the steepish climb at too great a speed.  I had to slow down to keep my heart from bursting.  Once past these slopes, however, we made good progress over up to Dove Crag and a coffee stop.

A distant view of Great Gable

Hartsopp Above How and Ullswater

Helvellyn with Striding and Swirral Edges

I decided to pull out my GPS to see how well we were going and, disaster, found it was no longer in my pocket.  Nor my rucksac.  It must have fallen out lower down on one of the several occasions when I pulled my map out of the pocket.  Why, oh why had I not kept it in my rucksac as I normally do?  Or put it in a more secure pocket?  Foolish BOOTboy.   A present from some very good pals.  Sorry lads.

One direct consequence is that today's statistics are estimated by plotting the route manually from memory so should be treated as no more than a reasonable approximation.

Bryan looking for a route up

Comitibus :  Dove Crag

Fairfield round to Cofa Pike ....

..... and on to St Sunday Crag

We made our way round to Hart Crag and the Fairfield summit taking several minor detours to look down into the gullies that lead down eventually to Brothers Water.  Lunch and stunning views were consumed just past the summit.  Is there a better vantage point in the Lake District to see the panorama from Coniston Old Man right round past Bowfell, Scafell, Gable, Skiddaw, Helvellyn to High Street, with Ingleborough in the distance to the south and the Scottish Solway hills to the north west?  If so, where is it?

Fairfield panorama

The way back, Windermere and Coniston Water in the distance

Looking back at the horseshoe

After rounding the top we began the return, first to Great Rigg. Bryan wanted to take in a detour to Stone Arthur; not normally part of the horseshoe, but if this were included it would make the rest of his month's challenge just a little easier, logistically.  I think he had been worried about overstretching me but I have to say that other than being puffed on the steepest parts, I was going well and keen to add to the day.  Stone Arthur was therefore duly knocked off and we traversed round the head of Greenhead Gill to rejoin the main path to Heron Pike.  

Don on a mission

The lass behind the bar did not object to what is becoming the norm of photographing the bar person (male or female, in case you were beginning to wonder my motives) provided we described her as the best barmaid in the best pub of the day.

That I gladly do.

All that was left was the steepish drop down to Nab Scar and similar continuation to the Badgers Bar at the bottom where we agreed on how lucky we had been to be out on such a magnificent day.  And how, despite our advanced age, no one had been allowed to remain in front of us on the round.  Silly old fools!

The best barmaid in the best pub of the day

I thought my legs might start to protest after sitting supping in the sun but am pleased to report that they made it safely back to the car.  I am not sure that there would have been enough life left in them to drive home, however.  It's a good job that Bryan is a lot fitter than me.  He needs to be if he is to do all the Easterns this month!

Don, 5th April 2012


A Call of Nature

Sorry if anyone was offended by last week's rear view of Tony apparently responding to a call of nature but it was included by specific request.  I shall refrain from saying from whom came that plea but an examination of the Comitibus from either today or last week might give a clue!


When the Hair Turns Grey

Just when you think there is nothing more to be added to the Big Josie story, another tale crops up on the internet.  This time the wheel goes full circle as the posting refers back to the BOOTboys website!  Provided you are not put off your beer or otherwise easily offended, see When the Hair Turns Grey.


When the Hair Turns Green


Jamie seems to be sprouting big green hair.  We shall see more when he is home soon.




Thursday 5th April 2012

Distance in miles:


Height climbed in feet:


Wainwrights :

Low Pike, High Pike, Hart Crag, Fairfield, Great Rigg, Stone Arthur

Other Features:

Fairfield Horseshoe


Bryan, Don,

BOOTboys routes are normally put online in gpx format which should work with most mapping software. But not today.  Route estimated by hand.

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.

E-mail addresses on this web site are protected by  

 Spam Trawlers will be further frustrated by
 Spam Blocker: help fight spam e-mail!  



BOOT boys

If you want to join
he BOOTboys
Fan Club
let us know and
you will receive
of new
BOOTboys reports.

Click on
to contact us.


For the index pages
of our various outings
click on the relevant
link below:

Home Page












Click on the photos
for an enlargement
or related large picture.



To see which Wainwright
top was visited on which
BB outing see
Which Wainwright When?.

To download a log of heights and miles and which Wainwrights
have been done by which BOOT
boy in the"modern" era, i.e. since the advent
click on BB Log






BOOT boys © is a Lakeland Enterprise productio