BB1607 : I Remember Ewe

Thursday 18th February 2016

The early sunlight glinted off the Lion and the Lamb high up in the distance away to the north west of the lay-by on the A591 where we had agreed to meet, just outside Grasmere.

With free parking, it was a welcome change and one which would have pleased him no end, but unfortunately Don was unable to come out to play today, more of which later.

Here the BOOTboys gathered, Robin arriving early and John cruising in with a cheerful toot and a car load of banter.

Why start so early?  I'm not awake yet

John, Terry, Tony and Martin, our intrepid leader for the day, piled out and geared up, Martin performing a restrained "sat nav wiggle" to calibrate the all-important software that measures our efforts.

We set off in good weather, bright but chilly, soon walking beside the now calm River Rothay where we were greeted with the unusual sight of a caterpillar-tracked wagon ploughing along the middle of the river, then up the steep bank and out to dump its load of silt.

Boys Toys on flood damage repair in the River Rothay

Further down river was a sizeable excavator, bucket quietly poised like a huge heron waiting to feed the truck on its return. Despite its serious purpose it all looked like great fun; “… and he gets paid for doing that” said Tony, itching to play in the river too.

Shortly we emerged from the back lanes to the village tourist shops and art galleries, crossing to Easedale Road and over Goody Bridge heading towards Easedale on a good tarmac path that came to an abrupt end with a sign declaring, rather unnecessarily it was agreed, that the path, now dilapidated and boulder strewn, was unsuitable for cars. Why not spend the money on repairing the path rather than the sign? [Because idiots like me have tried to drive up that track!! Ed.]

Easedale Falls in the distance

Just look at my straight poles

We followed the steep but sure track winding up to Helm Crag, where half way up a jenny wren appeared but a few steps ahead and then darted into the tangled bracken undergrowth.

Gibson Knott with Calf Crag in cloud

Surreal view back to Grasmere

We climbed up to the southern end of the ridge and on to touch the top of Helm Crag where Terry loudly exclaimed with a smile – “eighty!” – [Sorry, Terry- not yet, that's the wrong top; Ed.] then immediately struck up a conversation with a young couple and their six year old daughter who were also Wainwright bagging [Oh dear; Ed!], all three sitting very comfortably on the peak, the little girl having climbed with greater ease than we were able, it had to be said – but we must have given them hope for the future!

A short distance from Helm Crag is another perilously protruding outcrop also known as The Howitzer (there appear to be two Lion & Lambs on the ridge). We discussed briefly the notion of climbing it because it looked marginally higher than Helm Crag but all agreed discretion was indeed the better part of valour, and anyway, we could have lunch at Gibson Knott if we pressed on, so on we went. [Terry- you can celebrate now. This is the Wainwright top of Helm Crag although it is the only one he never actually summited for the same reason.  Hope the little girl was still with you; Ed.]

En route to Gibson Knott the little jenny wren made itself known again with a brief but most melodic outburst – how can such a little creature make such a big noise? The views down Easedale and Greenburn Valley were a treat despite low cloud misting the air but fortunately never obscuring the magnificent vistas.

Lunch was taken on Gibson Knott and not a moment too soon so far as Tony was concerned.

Was it something in the sandwiches or possibly the tea that caused the mirage?

Looking through National Trust binos, there on the distant horizon, thrusting up to the sky through the mist appeared what surely could only be… Blackpool Tower.

As the Lion and the Lamb is surely the most pointed-at fell in Lakeland so Blackpool Tower must be the most observed landmark from Lakeland fells. Even passers-by, surely drawn to our laughter and exclamation, agreed they too could see the Tower.

So, let it be known, but only in whispers, Blackpool Tower is visible from Gibson Knott...  

Comitibus : Gibson Knott

Checking our phones over lunch for critical messages we learned from Don that Margaret’s dentist had cancelled her appointment, so they had gone to the pub, then for a walk, then to the pub – how lucky is that? No trip to the dentist and twice to the pub tended to dissipate earlier sympathies expressed and it must be said, even created a degree of envy!

Towards Coniston

Over Blea Ridge towards Wetherlam

And so onwards and upwards towards Calf Crag, the highest point of the ridge at 1,762 feet in old money. Snow was still lying thickly above 600 m as we could see looking across to Sergeant Man and High Raise and with the track becoming icy we discussed but dismissed the need for micro-spikes.

By now, the temperature was dropping fast, so we pressed on with relative haste to Calf Crag passing Pike of Carrs on our left. Underfoot it was very wet amongst the reeds despite being high up on a rocky outcrop.

Having touched in at Calf Crag cairn we headed due west into a bright sun with black clouds above, giving a rather eerie light. Then sharp left to pick up the trail down Far Easedale and along either side of Far Easedale Gill crossing over the stepping stones at Stythwaite Steps to the south path.

Here we were greeted by hardy, hefted Herdwicks of numerous shades of grey [Fifty? Ed.] with some generally ignoring us and some scurrying away, as they always do no matter how quietly one approaches.

Tony spotted one he thought he'd seen earlier, had a Frank Ifield moment and burst into song.  "I remember Ewe....."

This led, inevitably, to recollections of The New Seekers and the Shepherd's lament- "I know I'll never find another Ewe."  

And so, avoiding as many puddles and rivulets as possible that straddled the valley floor, we strolled back to Grasmere passing a long gaggle of school children with their teachers who had enjoyed getting "wetties" (they said) in their wellies, having paddled up Easedale to the waterfall.

Back at the layby we thanked Martin for his inspiring leadership and cat-herding abilities, learned of the epic distance and height we had travelled and so made a hasty bee-line for the Travellers Rest for a well-earned pint.

Tony raised his glass to his lips, looked lovingly at the contents and once again burst into song.

I remember you
You're the one who made my dreams come true.....!

I don't think he was singing about the sheep.

Robin, Thursday 18th February 2016




Thursday 18th February 2016

Distance in miles:

10.0 (Garmin)

Height climbed in feet:

2,052 (OS / Memory Map)


Helm Crag, Gibson Knott, Calf Crag


John Hn, Martin, Robin, Terry, 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 bb1607 .

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

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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 2016


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