BB1226  His Ass From His 'Owgill

Thursday 23rd August 2012

Do you use the word "Dummock" for any reason?

I have to confess that it is part of my vocabulary, often being used with the adjective "great" to refer to a stupid person, generally meaning me!

But what does the word Dummock really mean?

My ultimate source of reference for such matters is the seven volume


presented to my great grandfather, Seth, in 1894 by the


Strangely, the relevant Volume III, covering DEST - GLOS, was the only volume filed upside down in the bookcase- something that would have puzzled Holmes or Morse.  

However, the riddle to be solved was no murder but whether it was a result of the inversion that all references to Dummocks had dropped out?

Beau Blue and Daniel: adopted asses

Frustrated, I tried that modern source of all wisdom, Google, which led just to one definition, "Ass", but without further explanation.

The third attempt, the Collins Millennium dictionary, also did not recognise Dummock.  

However, it was more helpful in giving three meanings for Ass, namely a donkey, a foolish or ridiculously pompous person or the Americanisation of an Anglo-Saxon term for a particular part of the anatomy.

Conclusion:  Dummock = Ass = Foolish Person

I was right.

Winder, the start of the Howgills

The reason for the investigation was JHn's request that we visit the Howgills.  I started planning a route.  If, like I did, you look at the OS map, in the Howgills, near Calders you may see reference to two minor tops called Little Dummocks and Great Dummocks. This is what had stiired me into an investigation..

Who were these stupid persons after whom the hills were named?

Actually, if you are more careful than I had been, you will soon realise that the Great Dummock was indeed me. On the map, it's an "a" not an "o".  Dummacks, you Dummock!  

You could say that I didn't know my Ass from my 'Owgill.

Once clarified, it became a relatively easy process to conjure up a trip around the aforementioned hillocks.

From our meeting place at the Sedbergh Peoples Hall, we first set off up Winder, by-passing the sole patch of scree and gorse that had frustrated us in the mist during BB0503, our visit to the Wheregills.

The gorse scree

Going well up Winder

Looking back over Sedbergh

Winder summit, Arant Haw behind

School Knott

Calders from Arant Haw

We all seemed in good form and Winder soon gave way to Arant Haw and then Calders. Here we split.  Those dummocks who wanted to visit the Dummacks went with me. Wiser heads stopped for a brew.  I have to say that I see no reason ever to bother with the Dummacks again apart from one view down Long Gill.  If boggy, tufty terrain is what turns you on, there are plenty more from which you can choose.

Long Gill from the Dummacks

Mike finds Philip's cushion

Regrouped, we pressed on towards The Calf but suddenly Mike set off running- yes, you read that correctly, running back in the direction from which we had come.  His hope was to find his wallet lying where they had stopped a brew.  No wallet was to be found there but he did discover Philip's hi-tech cushion!

At the top of the Calf, Mike made another discovery- the reappearance of the Roger Twins, last seen on BB1222.  This achievement led him to a Bolt-like celebration.

Mike discovers the Roger Twins

Mike's Bolt-like celebration

The weather was now blowing a cold wind from the west which made our route decision easy.  Down to the east and find somewhere for lunch.  Bryan's seemingly impromptu navigation led us directly to an old sheep fold at Bowderdale Head that served the purpose admirably.

Comitibus :  Bowderdale Head

Cautley Spout

Next, after a brief shower, was the test to get in a position to see as much as possible of Cautley Spout without risking life and limb.

Cautley Spout and Cautley Crags

Thereafter it was an easy if somewhat long stroll back, past some interesting if remote old farmhouses and into Sedbergh.  

Cautley Home Beck meets the River Rawthey

Farmhouse 2

Farmhouse 1

The Dalesman

Once again, we had split into two groups, largely due to Philip texting whilst walking!

I was in the second group so we did the logical thing to track down the advance party.  

First we tried the Red Lion but there was a good reason why our colleagues were not there.  It was shut.  Next was the Dalesman but still no one to be seen.  They must be in the The Bull, we decided but again no.  

Baffled, puzzlement enhanced because no-one was answering their mobile phone, we retraced our steps to the Dalesman.  Just as we arrived, the call came through.

"Where on earth are you?" said Mike.  "At the Dalesman" said I,  "Where are you?"  

It transpired that they had gone the alternative way through the town and were waiting for us in the market place, fearing that something dreadful had happened to us.  It had.  We hadn't yet quenched our thirst!

Midway through quenching, a debate arose as to which group's LP we would want if castaway on a Desert Island.  Mike was quite clear that it would be Elbow, a cult rock group from Bury that he has followed for years.  Philip on the other hand voted for the Northern Irish band, Ash.  They asked me which I preferred.  I had to confess.

I couldn't tell my Ash from my Elbow.

Don, 23rd August 2012

PS If you were worrying about Mike's wallet, don't.  It was in his other trousers!


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Boxing up a seasonal special Alexis


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Report from the European Summit

This Summit is fortunately Merkl and Hollande free.
Our European Correspondent, Bryan, has posted a photographic record on Flikr.

Click on GranParadiso / Mont Blanc to experience the real thing.


The Tale of Mr William Heelis

When I first reported on the BB15 visit to Helsington Church, I wrote about the relationship between the Reverend Arthur T Heelis and the William Heelis who married Beatrix Potter.  

The item speculated that they were cousins.

A Heelis-connected reader, Pamela Smith, wrote to challenge that assumption and the church's historian, Mike Fleetwood, now agrees that in fact they were not that closely related.

The BB15 text has been amended accordingly.




Thursday 23rd August 2012

Distance in miles:


Height climbed in feet:




Other Features:

Winder, Arant Haw, Calders, The Dummacks
The Calf, Cautley Spout


Bryan, Don, John Hn, Mike, Philip,
Roger B, Stan


 BOOTboys routes are put online in gpx format which should work with most mapping software. You can follow our route in detail by downloading bb1226.

To see which Wainwright top 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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