BB1532 : The Crash Test Dummies

Wednesday 16th September 2015

A service occasionally offered by the BOOTboys is to act, in exchange for appropriate fee of course, as Crash Test Dummies.  That was our role today.

It was glorious and perhaps we should have been on the high hills but bad weather was forecast for later in the day.  It never arrived but that didn't matter.  We were on a mission.

Mike has commissioned Mark Richards to compile guide leaflets for walks for guests from his hotel- Linthwaite House, near Bowness, overlooking Windermere.  

Mark had known Alfred Wainwright (as had Stan) and his style is clearly influenced by him (by AW, not Stan!).

We, Stan, Tony and I, were to act as Crash Test Dummies for a draft of a new leaflet.  

Our fee?  A down payment of Linthwaite's famous sausages followed by gold on successful completion.

Linthwaite © by Mark Richards

Normally, excepting lunch stops, Tony just does as he is told as far as directions are concerned, which made him the ideal candidate to be the tour leader, using the instructions as his guide.  Somewhat to our surprise, he set off in the right direction and generally maintained this fine performance all day long!

Tony points the way

Oh No It's Not!

The first part of the walk is the worst.  Down the hill from the hotel to the ferry. The problem is that it is mostly road and there are few footpaths.  Care needs to be taken on the bends where visibility is limited.  Also don't be fooled by the sign that seems to say "Ferry Closed".  Unless it is lit up, it isn't.

At the landing stage everything becomes much easier.  We arrived just in time to miss the ferry.  Frustratingly, the barrier was lowered and the motor chugged into life as we approached.  It took twenty minutes before it returned but it was a beautiful day so it was no hardship to be sat at the waterside with fine views up and down the lake.

Ferry farewell!

The view up the lake

Once on the other side, the first feature was the Claife Viewing Station.  This was built for 19th century travellers to have a fine view of the lake or, according to the posters, to attend a lantern-lit party.

Entrance gate

The Viewing Station

The site is being slowly restored by the National Trust.  There is now a café at the entrance gate and it is a short climb from it to the stone built Viewing Station.  Unfortunately it is in a state of serious disrepair and is fenced off but steel beams have been inserted not just to prevent collapse but, it would seem, to enable restoration.  However, it is easy to see its attraction as a viewpoint up and down the lake.

Hard times

Up the lake to Ill Bell and pals


Down the lake to Gummer's How

The next stage of the walk was a surprisingly steep and longish climb up the wooded hill, not to be undertaken lightly by those of limited mobility.  Once the top has been reached, it is a pleasant and much more gentle descent to Far Sawrey whilst enjoying the open views. On reaching the village we passed Braithwaite Hall- a 17th century building now used as the Village Hall.

Braithwaite Hall

The Cuckoo Inn

To our surprise, Tony was not tempted to stray into the Cuckoo Inn but led us down to St Peter's Church with its strangely striped roof.

St Peter's Church

Church candle holder

Next, across the fields to Near Sawrey and Beatrix Potterland.  We didn't visit her house, Hill Top, as not all of us had our National Trust cards with us.  Nor did we go in The Tower Arms even though it was by now approaching noon. Instead we pressed on up a track to a junction.

Approaching Near Sawrey

Mr McGregor's House?

Here Mr Richards suggests tuning right to return to Far Sawrey but he does mention an option to continue up to Moss Eccles Tarn and then Wise Een Tarn. We think that should be the main objective, the turning being simply a device to shorten the walk if necessary.  Wise Een Tarn should be the highlight.  Not only is it an attractive tarn and an ideal picnic spot, it offers tremendous open views over the Lake District, round from Coniston Old Man, past Wetherlam, the Crinkles, Bowfell and on to the Langdales.

Wise Een Tarn

We returned to the junction where the recommended track took us back to Far Sawrey.  Again Tony avoided the temptations of the Cuckoo but I could not let them leave the village without treating the boys to an ice cream at an attractive new little café cunningly named Hill Stop.

Comitibus :   Wise Een Tarn

Comitibus :  Hill Stop

Next was a climb up a track that led to a path dropping down to the side of the lake where a footpath has been installed to protect walkers from the traffic on the very narrow road.  En route we had a distant view of the Arts and Crafts house Blackwell.


Wedding party

Once again we arrived at the ferry just in time to see it depart.  But again it was no hardship.  The sun was still shining and there are far worse places to linger awhile whilst watching a wedding party sail by.

I don't know why but the climb back up the hill to the hotel seemed a lot less daunting than when we came down it.  Strange.

Once at Linthwaite, we Crash Test Dummies gave Mike a few suggestions which we thought might help readers.

The leaflet is very Wainwrightian in design, both in the style of the drawings and the long paragraphs. Regarding the nature of the instructions, personally I would have preferred a more terse " bing left, bang on, bong right" type of provision of directions rather than his more wordy descriptions but, on the other hand, it is intended for those unfamiliar with the area.

However, Tony managed to take us round without undue problem so it must be good! The author deserves hearty congratulations for producing a useful guide to an interesting walk through fine countryside featuring several particular points of interest coupled with exceptional Lakeland views.  How's that for the use of adjectives?!

If you recall, payment for completion of the Crash Test Dummy exercise was to be made in gold.  

Sat on the terrace at Linthwaite in the afternoon sunshine, gazing up the lake to the fells, we looked forward to our reward and were not disappointed.  

This gold was not delivered in nuggets, nor in a crock nor a casket.  Simply in a bottle.  

Liquid Lakeland Gold,  Delicious.

Don, Wednesday 16th September 2015

The Shining Lookalikes




On reading your report on climbing Helvellyn recently [BB1531], I could not help be struck by the similarity between Terry and Jack Nicholson.  I wonder if they are related; and if the BOOTboys will be undertaking a remake of The Shining?

Yours, etc

Festus Q. Stenchfizzer III




Wednesday 16th September 2015

Distance in miles:

10.5 plus 0.6 on ferry

Height climbed in feet:



Near & Far Sawrey, Wise Een Tarn


Don, Mike, 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 bb1532 .

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
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boys. Likewise written comment.

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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.
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BOOTboys 2015



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