BB1623 : To Boldly Go.....

Wednesday 15th June 2016

Not quite in the Captain Kirk league, nor that of seeking the source of the Nile, but Bryan has long wanted to start from the source of the River Kent and walk its length to where it joins the sea.

When he suggested that I might like to join him, I looked over the edge of the precipice where it is born, took a sharp intake of breath and decided that was not for me.

Until today.

Click on USS Enterprise above for fun!

However, first we had a different mission to undertake; one without Bryan. Regular readers may recall that Terry is playing catch-up on the Wainwright trail and, with John away, this was the chance to pull another back.  The forecast was not encouraging for a long travel but somehow or other Mardale Ill Bell (not to be confused with Ill Bell) had eluded him.  With an early start there should be just enough time to knock it off and escape before the rain and potentially lightening set in.

The farmer at Green Quarter is very accommodating for walkers looking for an off-road parking place so once again that was our start point.

Speed being of the essence we charged up the valley, only to make a bit of a Horlicks of our approach at Hallow Bank where we took the wrong path- the escape route from Kentmere Pike, faffed around trying to improvise a way back but gave up and returned to the Nan Bield trail.

Tony inspects the preserved old van.....

... and a derelict barn

Kentmere reservoir, Ill Bell & Froswick behind, Mardale ill Bell just peeping right of centre

I think Tony had been hoping for an early lunch (it had been an early start after all) at the Nan Bield shelter but taskmaster Stan drove him on up the steep climb to Mardale Ill Bell.  

Tony spots the Nan Bield shelter.....

..... where Terry is luxuriating

Meanwhile Terry insisted on having his photo taken luxuriating in this very welcoming structure (except today the wind was in the wrong direction).

There was something I wanted to check at the summit.  Although the OS map shows a cairn, which is generally taken to be the summit, it actually shows other parts as being a few feet higher.  Armed with GPS I was intrigued to see if that was the case.  It is a near run thing but I can confirm that the cairn appears to be and is the true summit although there is very little in it.

A rather dry Haweswater

Ill Bell from Mardale Ill Bell

Clouds were building in the distance but Stan was keen to press on to High Street to hide behind the wall for lunch.  I was concerned both about the weather and the total distance involved so we stayed where we were to eat then decided to investigate the Bryan route down from the rim to the Kent Valley.

Stan hunts for the descent

Inevitably there are no paths, indeed nothing to show that anyone had boldly gone before us.  We examined a couple of possibilities then discovered a steep but short grassy descent alongside an embryonic trickle. It looked possible so we tried it.  It was possible.  We all negotiated it without too much difficulty.  There you are, Bryan- it does boldly go!

Terry & Tony boldly going.....

Comitibus: Descent into Kentmere

..... whilst Stan recces the next section

Tony shows from whence we boldly came

It is quite a long descent to the reservoir, passing the large sheepfold behind which is alleged to be an ancient settlement.  We might or might not have found it but convinced ourselves that we had discovered the right scattering of stones and boulders.

The Kent winds its way down the valley

Tony walks the dyke walls, Mardale Ill Bell behind

The forecast evil weather never materialised.  I think I felt six drops of rain but certainly plenty of sunshine.  There were many Wheatears serenading our progress.  Apparently their name has nothing to do with wheat, nor with ears.  I leave you to guess its true derivation but the colour of its bottom might give you a clue!  Ditto had Terry decided to skinny dip.

Terry resists skinny-dipping

Captain Tony at the helm

One of many Wheatears

Storm gaugings

After the reservoir it is doubly long walk on the track back to Kentmere village itself where the church has been wrapped in polythene.  

A Kentmere door

The church in polythene

Finally, the cruel climb back up to the farm- the downside of taking advantage of their hospitality.

Naturally thereafter we boldly went to a place to which we have often boldly been before.  The brewery in Staveley.

Don, Wednesday 15th June 2016

Tony Gets His Ducks In A Row

As seen on his stroll round to Stan's house this morning




Wednesday 15th June 2016

Distance in miles:

13.0 (Garmin)

Height climbed in feet:

3,043 (Memory Map)


Mardale Ill Bell, source of River Kent


Don, Stan, 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 bb1623 .

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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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 2016


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