BB1326 : The Third Half

Thursday 1st August 2013

I know that strictly speaking something can't have three halves.

But sometimes it happens!

Mystery surrounded our destination.  I thought we would be going up Kentmere again, possibly to do the full round as compared the half measures of BB1313 : Poor Little Bo Peep and BB1314 : The Other Half.

Bryan's proposal was that today we should attempt the third half.

The idea was to go up Longsleddale to park at Sadgill then tackle the eastern side of that valley, returning down the Gatescarth Pass, thereby completing the trilogy.

Upper Longsleddale

Sadgill bridge

The forecast was for the mist to clear early revealing a very hot day.  Why, you might wonder, were we contemplating such punishment rather than a shady woodland stroll?

Because Tony is (or is supposed to be) in training for the Big One.  Not to mention that Bryan is in training for Mongolia.  And Stan recovering from a month's non-appearance.

The climb up Great How is quite but not extremely steep but Tony seemed to be suffering from the outset.  His feet were severely uncomfortable.

When we stopped for the third catch-up, the reason why he was struggling dawned upon him.

If you put your left orthopaedic foot support insole into the right boot and vice-versa, there will be a rather unfortunate impact on the ease with which you will be able to walk.

And that is putting it mildly.

Once the insoles were swapped over, he positively romped up the hill.

Comitibus :  Tarn Crag

Righting the insoles

Sadly, the clag was refusing to clear.  

The wind was cold, the air very damp and visibility poor as we reached Grey Crag and little better by Tarn Crag.

Dropping down out of the mist, we found a lump of rocks behind which to shelter to have lunch. In fact there was a good, if somewhat dark, panorama of the middle half, i.e. the eastern Kentmere (western Longsleddale) fells and, across the dip, Branstree.

Kentmere Pike, Adam Seat and Branstree

For some reason- I can only think that it was for condition training- we decided to tackle Branstree.

I find this to be one of the most boring hills.  It is a featureless slog up by the side of the wall / fence although Bryan tried to liven it up by demonstrating a ballroom dancing move to Tony.  The tedium is slightly relieved by the strange trig point at the top.  

Take your partner

The trig point

However, the lack of a decent view of Haweswater, unless you travel quite a way to the north, is a disappointment.  Stan and I did drop down someway to get a glimpse.  The reservoir was a little low, as you would expect at this time of year, but nowhere near as bad as back in 1984.

Haweswater 2013

Hawestwater 1984

The descent was another tedious slog down by a different wall / fence to the top of the Gatescarth Pass.  However, on this occasion we spotted something not previously seen. Or if we had seen it, no one remembered.

The boundary marker

Against the fence was a stone with a large L carved upon it.  Levering up the stone revealed an H on the reverse, that being the more southerly side.

A little further along we found a stone with the same letters this time on the same face with a dividing line between them.

Clearly boundary makers but for what do, or did, the H and L stand?  

First thoughts were Longsleddale and Haweswater till it dawned on us that, before the drowning of Mardale, Haweswater was insignificant.

And might L more likely be Lonsdale or Lowther?  

Anyone got any suggestions as to the meaning of the letters?

Even Wainwright is silent on the subject.  Perhaps he was distracted as he passed by whilst composing his verdict, rating the hill as "completely uninteresting".  Not quite. Mostly uninteresting, yes.

Now with sunshine becoming more summer-like, it was a long, easy descent down the pass which, as noted on BB1313 is a "white road".  Half way down (or up) was a family who had driven their vehicle to have some white road fun.  The kids were having more fun damming the water running down the gulley.  Meanwhile, the embryonic River Sprint was tumbling along.

Off road!

River Sprint (click for action)

And so the third half of the Longsleddale / Kentmere valleys was completed.

Early finishes were needed so there was no opportunity for a first or second half (pint), never mind a third.  However, Tony and I put most of that right in the evening.  We have noted many times Tony's fixation with Lady Anne Clifford.  Tonight there was a play on at the Town Hall about her:  

Lady Anne Clifford - a Woman Cast Out  

Attendance at this Kendal Community Theatre production was mandatory.

It proved to be a well acted and strong portrayal of her life, albeit time-constrainedly abbreviated to one troublesome husband rather than the actual two.  Tony was sufficiently moved to have his photo taken between the young Lady Anne and her mother.

Tony with young Lady Anne and her mother (left)

Tony with the older Lady Anne

I think he is stalking her.  When Tony sent me the photo of him with her Ladyship (as featured in BB1325 and shown above, right) I thought she was a cardboard cut-out.  I stand corrected.  She was for real.  My humble apologies, My Lady.

Homage duly paid, we went round the corner for a swift pint at Burgandy's.  However (and I know that those who know Tony will find it hard to believe), we did not stop for another. Not even a third half.

Don, 1st August 2013




Thursday 1st August 2013

Distance in miles:

8.2 (Garmin gps)

Height climbed in feet:

2,477  (Memory Map / OS)


Grey Crag, Tarn Crag, Branstree

Other Features:

Lady Anne Clifford


Bryan, Don, Stan, Tony



BOOTboys routes are put online in gpx format which should work with most mapping software. You can follow our route in detail by downloading bb1326 .

To discover which Wainwright top was visited on which BB outing - although it may not be quite up to date - see: Which Wainwright When?

For the latest totals of the mileages and heights (ditto) see: BB Log.

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