BB1806 : Known Knowns and Unknowns

Thursday 22nd February 2018

It was the then United States Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld, who in February 2002 famously said:

There are known knowns;
there are things we know we know.

We also know there are known unknowns;
we know there are some things we do not know.

But there are also unknown unknowns,
the ones we don't know we don't know.


16 years later, the current scribe of the Comitibus, Donald BOOTboy today observed the same three states of knowledge.

Loughrigg is definitely a known known.  This was our 11th visit.  It was rather cold. We expected that.  However why was the weather not as sunny as the forecast suggested?  Maybe that was why we weren’t buzzed by James in his plane.  Maybe it wasn’t sunny enough for him to fly and drop his Jeremy Corbyn leaflets on us as he had promised.  Maybe he should have been with us instead.  All known unknowns.

Fairfield Horsehoe 

Windermere from near Lily Tarn

Lily Tarn 

Grasmere from Loughrigg 

After we came down from the summit to take lunch in that area between Rydal Water and Grasmere, an unknown unknown took me by surprise, morphing into a known unknown.  I hadn't known that something was missing.  Where was my flask of coffee?  I could have sworn I had put it in my rucksack. It didn’t matter that much, I wasn’t thirsty.

We crossed over to the Coffin Route and made our way along to the Rydal Hall café for coffee and cakes.  This is in danger of becoming a habit- cake shop stops, I mean.

Before we set out, I had a surprise in store for the boys, a visit to what for them was an unknown unknown- the Buckstones Jump (or Jum as it is strangely called on an earlier OS map).

Unfortunately for Martin and Mike, this was transformed into and remained a known unknown- they had to make an early exit so were unable to join Stan, Tony and I on the trek to make it a known known.  

Given Stan's long and vast experience of the Westmorland Fells, it had surprised me that for him it had been an unknown unknown, even though he had once passed by it on a fell race.

It was now the sunny day we had expected earlier and much more sheltered than on the fell.  We climbed alongside the beck, through light woodland and out into the open countryside and there it was.  A natural rock dam creating an upper and lower pool.  And a jump if you are brave enough to leap across the fall.  Just who Buckstone was and why he jumped remains a known unknown.  As is whether or not he survived the leap.

Bucktones Jump, looking downstream

Bucktones Jump, the lower pool

The Jump having now been converted to a KK, we returned to Ambleside by a woodland path.  I thought our next stop would be a KK but to my surprise it had been an UU.  I anticipated the boys would want to stop for a jar.  But it had been a long day so they decided they wanted to go straight home so we did.

Once back in our kitchen, a KU transmuted into a KK.  I found my coffee flask.  I thought I must have left it at home but I hadn’t.  It had been with me all the time but had fallen through a hole into the bottom pocket of my rucksack, a gap that had been an UU but is now a KK.

That it had been a good day out was agreed to be a KK.  Where next week’s BB expedition will take us presently remains a KU.  Unless something happens that stops us going out.  Hang on. If the unexpected stops us doing what we intended, isn’t that a UK - an unknown known?  Mr Rumsfold never mentioned those.

Don, Thursday 22nd February 2018



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Comitibus Stan, Tony, Martin, Mike, Don



BB1806 : Known Knowns and Unknowns


Thursday 22nd February 2018


Loughrigg, Buckstones Jump

Distance in miles:


Height climbed in feet:



Don, Martin, Mike, Stan, Tony

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