BB1811 : Do You Do This For Fun?

Wednesday 11th April 2018

That’s what the young lass asked us as she struggled up the hill with her huge Duke of Edinburgh rucksack on her back.  "Do you do this for fun?"  Well, yes, I suppose we do although, like for her, there are times when it doesn’t very much feel like it.

She was not on her own.  We met several groups of youths climbing up from Coniston with varying degrees of enthusiasm and heading for respite in Langdale. Some were enjoying it more than others.  Some had been out in yesterday’s atrocious weather.  Others had had the good fortune of only starting today, a far better one than forecast earlier in the week.  All, it must be said in defence of modern youth, were polite and happy to chat with three old duffers making their way down.

We, Mike, Terry and I, had started from High Tilberthwaite, near the Andy Goldsworthy Touchstone Fold, and headed up the track above the Tilberthwaite Gill chasm, passing various mine shafts and quarries on the way.  One deep quarry was populated on the rim by many school children awaiting their turn to abseil down to the quarry floor.  We didn’t get the opportunity to ask them whether they did it for fun.  I hope they did.

There was another mining relic on the Crook Beck plateau which we could not understand.  There were several poles that obviously had had purpose but no hints of what they had been doing, either in relation to ground above or below.

On the descent, we looked across to Coniston Old Man, its top shrouded.  Lower down is the quarry and we could hear the occasional boom then, on one occasions, smoke emerging from the cavern.

We reached Coniston about noon and selected the The Green Housekeeper for lunch then, for fun, tormented Tony by sending him a photo of the delights delivered.  To his credit, his response was a restrained: Very civilised - love the tea cozy!! 

For the return we had several options but elected to take a somewhat unusual route to Tarn Hows (deliberately, not by error) and then a very usual route down by the beck to the A593.

From there, fields and track led us back to High Tilberthwaite and the car.

Had we all had fun?  Well, yes. I think we had.

What do you think we then did for fun?  You might be surprised at the answer!

Don, Wednesday 11th April 2018


Chris P:

I am intrigued by the “mystery “poles on the fell side on Coniston.  I started walking in that area in April 1964 and continued on a regular basis for over 30 years.  I recall many derelict and open mine shafts  fenced off with wooden poles.  I think many of these have since been filled in but maybe the posts were left there!



Tony's tale of the Amphicar brought back memories of another amphibious vehicle- the DUKW, generally known as Ducks.  I remember them on the treacherous beaches at Southport.  They were the only safe way to venture out onto the seemingly golden sands that go out for miles.  I have a memory from my youth that still makes me shudder. Together with two pals, I caught the train to Southport. We headed out towards the sea.  After a mile or so over the soggily wet sands we decided it was time to return.  Halfway back to the shore we passed a sign, facing inland of course.  Danger.  Do not pass this point.  Sinking Sands. Fortunately (and obviously) we survived to tell the tale.  From then on, I decided the only way I would go out on Southport's sands was on a DUKW, though sadly I never managed it.

DUKWs were ex-US amphibious vehicles. Each letter is a designation for a specific identity component. "D" stands for 1942, "U" stands for utility (amphibian), "K" stands for front wheel drive, and "W" indicates two rear-driving axles.

The last memory I have of a DUKW was not that long ago, in the Albert Dock in Liverpool where I was amazed to see The Yellow Duckmarine in active service. However that didn't last very long.  After two sinkings involving 33 passengers the Wacker Quackers were withdrawn from service in 2013.

What I particularly like about this picture, apart from the DUKW, is that I can see the windows of the Albert Dock flat in which I used to stay whilst working in Liverpool, many years before the DUKW appeared.

Click on the photos to see the original articles.



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Map : OS 1:50k


BB1811 : Do You Do This For Fun?


Wednesday 11th April 2018


Tilberthwaite, Coniston, Tarn Hows

Distance in miles:


Height climbed in feet:


GPX track

BB1811 GPX


Don, Mike, Terry

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