BB1603 : Westmorland is Open

Wednesday 13th January 2016

There has been an aura of gloom pervading the media concerning Cumbria and the aftermath of the rain and floods.  The impression has been created, wrongly, that the Lake District is closed.

We wanted to see for ourselves the problem with the A591 that had severed the artery from South to North, from Westmorland to Cumberland, as was.

It was a glorious day with the hills covered in snow.  

Coniston Old Man and Wetherlam

Crinkle Crags, Bowfell and Langdale Pikes

Our plan was to go up Tongue Gill to Grisedale Tarn then maybe over Dollywagon and Nethermost Pike before descending to Whythburn Church then returning to the Traveller’s Rest where we had left the car.

Linthwaite sausages for starters

Time to put on the microspikes

Although the sun was shining brightly, unfortunately for much of our climb it hidden by hill, leaving us in the shade.  Consequently, whilst the distant views were superb, it was a trifle cold.  

Looking back down Tongue Gill

A Tongue Gill waterfall

When we emerged from the shadows for the final stretch up to Grisedale Tarn it was magnificent.

View once in the sunshine

Grisedale Tarn and Dollywagon

There was a group of youths and adults who were watching us climb up and pass by.  They seemed well equipped and all in similar clothing so perhaps they were a school party.  Whatever, we soon discovered their tents so respect to them for camping out there in the snow.

John with his back to the group

Tents discovered


Yes, the snow.  Wenceslas would have been disappointed. It was not crisp or even.  It was deep however.  We were regularly sinking to our knees or worse and progress was very slow and tiring.

There was a distinct lack of enthusiasm for carrying on up Dollywagon and, seeing the slowness of a couple who had gone that way, I am sure our decision was wise.

Fairfield behind Grisedale tarn

It seemed to take an age to circumnavigate the tarn and reach the top of Raise Beck, by which time we were back in shade.  Seat Sandal is far from being my favourite hill and the way it grabbed our sunshine reinforced my opinion of it!

Carefully down the Raise Beck

Steel Fell across Raise Beck

The descent was easier going- provided you had microspikes for the steep, rocky, icy path.  Eventually we once again emerged into sunshine so, four hours after we started, we were able to rest and eat.

Comitibus :  Dunmail Raise

Domnhail's cairn in the A591 Island

When back at the top of Dunmail Raise (and King Domnhail’s cairn) we tracked north for a while, past the Road Closed signs and down to where the relief road is being constructed to help a limited amount of traffic- school bus for example- travel from Grasmere to Keswick and back.  It will be several months yet before the A591 is open for general traffic.

Road to Thirlmere and beyond closed

An A591 mine?

That was enough exploration, we decided, so walked down a very quiet A591, past what appeared to be an old mine entrance that I had never noticed when whizzing by, and back to the car.  The Travellers Rest was closed for the afternoon whilst being renovated.  Consequently we went into Grasmere village and to Tweedies bar.  A new one on me but worth a visit, especially as it has its own parking.

The message is, don’t believe the doom merchants.  The Lake District is NOT closed.  Much of it is open (paths and pubs and places to buy things) and currently spectacular.  It’s just that the historic relationship has been restored.

The creation of Cumbria always seemed daft to me, politically.  Mountains divide communities, not unite them.  

Keswick and the northern lakes, better referred to as Cumberland, once again can focus its communications easily across to Newcastle (although access via the M6 is good).

Grasmere and the Southern Lakes, i.e. Westmorland*, once more look south to Lancashire.

Potential visitors take note. Westmorland** is definitely open.  And I am sure the same is true of Cumberland***.  Come and enjoy.

Don, Wednesday 20th January 2016

* OK, Westmorland and Furness”

** OK, OK, Kendal is best avoided at the moment due to essential and non-essential roadworks closing bridges.  Use the by-pass.

*** Mike adds that at the Linthwaite, Windermere, they tell people to go to Keswick via Glenridding.  It is not a huge extra distance and it's a nice tour.

Photo Competition Results:  

Here is a selection of the entries for the photo competition.

The substances featured in these pictures taken on BB1602 were thought to be:

  • Reflection of Don's head and THE hat
  • Part of a discarded old advert concerning Mr Bradford and Mr Bingley in their bowler hats
  • A puddle in which the ice was rapidly melting before our very eyes,

  • Snow, coloured by a blue sky
  • Lakeland slate chippings
  • Strange blue coloured broken glass on a grass verge

  • Washed out painting of RAF logo
  • Demonstration of the first nano-second of the Big Bang
  • Newton rings from a petrol type spillage


In each case, the third bullet point is correct.

The prize for the closest to the right answers goes to my brother Alan.  Well, nepotism is perfectly acceptable as long as you keep it in the family!




Wednesday 19th January 2016

Distance in miles:

8.0 (Garmin)

Height climbed in feet:

1,933 (Anquet)


Grisedale Tarn


Don, John Hn, Mike, Stan, Terry


BOOTboys routes are put online in gpx format which should work with most mapping software. You can follow our route in detail by downloading bb1603 .

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!

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BOOTboys 2016



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