BB1522 : The Somnambulist and the Mells

Wednesday 17th June 2015

William Wordsworth is often cited as one of the Lake District's and maybe England's greatest poets but how many of his works can most people recall?

A bit about "host of golden daffodils" (which to my surprise were around Ullswater and not Dora's field at Rydal) and maybe that odd description of Westminster bridge, "Earth hath nothing to show more fair", and that is about it. However amongst his vast repertoire, mostly of vast length, is one I had not previously encountered- The Somnambulist, written circa 1833. This is an Arthurian type tale set by Aira Force and inspired by a sleepwalking lady in the 18th century neo-gothic house, Lyulphs Tower overlooking Ullswater.

 List, ye who pass by Lyulphs Tower

 At eve; how softly then

 Doth Aira-force, that torrent hoarse.

 Speak from the woody glen!

 Fit music for a solemn vale!

 And holier seems the ground

 To him who catches on the gale

 The spirit of a mournful tale,

 Embodied in the sound.

The poem then goes on (at length) to tell the tale of Sir Eglamore and his lady who. distraught by his absence, "In sleep She sometimes walked abroad".  

On his return he finds her, or her ghost, plunged into the foaming torrent.  He rescues her but alas too late.

As we passed over Aira Force and above Lyulphs Tower, no sign was there of such sad happenings so on we pressed around then up Gowbarrow.

It is quite possibly the best way to see Ullswater without too much effort although the path is a little exposed at times.

It had been an unusually late start due to the inclement weather of the morning dispersing by mid afternoon.  In fact it hadn't dispersed as much as we had been led to expect but at least it was dry as Terry bagged his first Wainwright of the day before we returned by the side of Aira Beck and its falls to the car.  

Still no somnambulist to be seen.

Two more Ws to go and, seeing as time was tight, we drove to Brownrigg farm for the circuit of the Mells.  

Great and Little Mell from Gowbarrow

No sooner was the ascent of Great Mell (W2) completed than one of our number took a telephone call.  He was, it transpired, expected back in Kendal for dinner with friends that evening and it was already close to six o'clock.

Various options were considered, the conclusion being that the capture of the third and final Wainwright of the day took priority as did dining with the boys but it would help if we could shorten the other activities so that some degree of face could be salvaged by his late arrival at the host's house for post-prandial activities.

Little Mell from Great Mell

Great Mell from Little Mell

Skiddaw & Blencathra

Consequently, rather than walk, we drove to the foot of Little Mell where a quick & cold up & down was performed (in Stan's case exceptionably quick down- I think he was re-living former fell-running glories) following which off we all went to the Brotherswater Inn for monster platters; in my case the biggest piece of gammon I have seen in many a year.  

Gargantuan Gammon

To the Comitibus

Hopefully our late arriving friend didn't get into so much trouble that, with disturbed mind, he became a somnambulist.

Somehow, I rather doubt it.  That's not at all like James!

Don, Wednesday 17th June 2015




Wednesday 17th June 2015

Distance in miles:

7.4 (Garmin)

Height climbed in feet:

2,707 (Garmin)


Gowbarrow, Great Mell Fell, Little Mell Fell


Don, James, Stan, Terry

To discover which Wainwright top was visited on which BB outing - although it may not be that up to date - or for the totals of the mileages and heights (ditto) see the Excel file: BB Log.

You can navigate to the required report via the Home Page

Photos have been gleaned from many sources
although mostly from me and other
boys. Likewise written comment.

I apologise if I have failed to acknowledge properly the source or infringed
copyright.  Please let me know and I will do my best to put things right.

Unless stated otherwise, please feel free to download the material if you wish.
A reference back to this website would be appreciated.


To see which Wainwright top was visited on which BB outing see Which Wainwright When? This may or may not be up to date!

For the latest totals of the mileages, heights and Lakeland Fells Books Wainwrights see: Wainwrights.
Ditto warning!

   E-mail addresses on this web site are protected by

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


BOOTboys 2015


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















The photos & maps
on these pages
will normally retain
reasonable quality
if you expand
your screen
to view them.











BOOTboys © is a Lakeland Enterprise production