BB1610 : Hello Fairies

Thursday 3rd March 2016

It was a beautiful day as we drove down to Arnside.  The sun shone on the snow-sparkling Lakeland Hills.  We had clearly made the wrong decision to stay low.

It was a threateningly nasty day as we parked on Arnside Knott.  The clouds had gathered and it was trying to spit rain.  The Lakeland snow now had a cloud blanket.  We had clearly made the right decision to stay low.

Fortunately the threat of rain soon passed but it remained a dullish day and the decision remained correct.  

First objectives- the giraffe tree, the viewing point and the summit cairn of Arnside Knott.  Quickly achieved.

The giraffe tree

Arnside Tower

Next objective Arnside Tower.  We went a different way to that I had intended, along a path with a perilous drop to the left.  Fortunately, I had brought my stick to use in the event of a sciatica moment and it proved useful to help negotiate the trail.

At Arnside Tower, inevitably Tony wanted to explore it, despite the No Entry signs and despite the fact that he gave it a good going over last time we were here- BB1403.

Next the Pepperpot.  Following what appeared to be the right path without first consulting the map proved a mistake and we had a bit of an off-piste excursion before achieving the objective.

Sighting Blackpool Tower

Comitibus : The Pepperpot

We had lunch to Tony’s delight, sat on a pile of logs, not long after noon.  Stan seemed fearful of us being attacked by bears so used his bushcraft to hang his bag in the trees.

Stan protects his grub


Continuing on our way, our route led past Hawes Water but not the big one in the Lake District.  This is a little one, probably in Lancashire in which case the duplication of name is forgivable.  We had a minor detour along the boardwalks to take in the view.

The next stretch was a pleasant stroll across fields and lanes, accompanied at one stage by several deer.

At Slack Head, we found the path to Fairy Steps.  Not only did we find the path- we found their house where one sat on guard on the roof.  Naturally I took its photo.  But I hadn't said hello nor asked its permission.  More fool me.

The guarding fairy

The former tunnel of trees

The approach to Fairy Steps used to be through a dark tunnel of pine trees.  Not no more.  Some nasty disease has threatened them so mass culling has taken place and quite destroyed the ambiance.

The Steps themselves, however, remain as ever- a narrow gap between two limestone cliffs down which to descend.  Going up is relatively straight forward. Going down is more of a challenge.  The key question is whether to face out or face in.  Whether to see what you are doing but have only heel contact or to be in a more secure foot and hand position facing the rock but relatively blind.

I opted for face in, partly in case the sciatica kicked.  Good decision.  Two rock steps down and bang, it kicked in.  I realised what I had done wrong.  I had forgotten to say “Hello Fairies” when I took the photo and was now being punished for my lack of courtesy.

Next feature was the Hazleslack Pele Tower.  Not as big as Arnside’s and not accessible.  Still noteworthy, however.

Hazleslack Tower and .....

..... Hazleslack lambs

John had been keen to get away early so had left his car at the phonetically appropriate Carr Bank.  We said our farewells and took the railway embankment back to Arnside.

The problem with parking half way up hill is, obviously, that what you save at the outset, you have to pay back at the end.  It’s a cruel way to finish the day.

When Mike and I looked at our Garmins, they said we had done 35 miles.  

Yes, I know you have to reset them before you set off.  We did.

Yes, I know you have to let it find your location before you reset them.  We had done.

In fact both of us reset it twice to make sure the memory was clear.  Both Garmins had shown at the outset a distance travelled of 0 miles.  So how did we achieve the bonus 24 miles?

Had the Fairies wanted to say sorry for their earlier cruelty?  

But, if so, how did they arrive at an average speed of 11 mph, given that they reckoned our top speed was only 4.5 mph?

It was mischief.

Those naughty Fairies must have been at work again.

Note to self and a warning to others:

Next time you visit Fairy Steps, on no account fail to say “Hello Fairies".

Don, Thursday 3rd March 2016




Thursday 3rd March 2016

Distance in miles:

11.2 (Garmin adjusted)

Height climbed in feet:

1491 (OS / Memory Map)


Arnside Knott, The Pepperpot, Fairy Steps


Don, John Hn, 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 bb1610 .

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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