It was like being twelve years old again.  The sheds.  9A, Longsight on the way home from school.  Mickies1 and if you were lucky a Semi2.  Oh what joy.

These sheds were at Haverthwaite.  Victims of Dr Beeching.  Inside were two old tank engines but no longer grimey.  Sparkling blue and red.  The only filthy thing was the weather.

It was Martin’s comeback but the gods were against us.  Maybe not quite- the café was open.  More nostalgia. 

Then the rain eased and we were on our way.  On foot. I’m not convinced about the joy of actually travelling by these trains- the excitement is seeing the power of the beast and being enveloped by smoke and steam.  That and getting the number of the engine.  If you were lucky you might see a namer.

We walked north through the village then under the A591 to emerge at Backbarrow.  Here was the first test of Martin’s new hip, the climb across slimy field then onto the open fell of Canny Hill.  A bridle path took us down to Newby Bridge where Robin pointed out the site of a Roman Wharf, more recently used for loading gunpowder.

This was the first bale out opportunity for Martin.  He was still game, not lame.

Another testing track followed, taking us up by Wintering Park and down to Finsthwaite House.  This rather fine Georgian (?) building has its looks somewhat marred by what we presumed was an Alpine style snow retainer on the roof. Is it to protect from avalanches such fools that wander out into the garden in deep winter?

At Finsthwaite itself we made directly for its fine church.

It was drizzling but in the porch were two benches large enough for the five of us plus Robin’s dog, Holly, to sit for our lunch.

We examined the church.  Soon we were joined by two others.  Tour guide Tony was able to point out to them many interesting features:

  • A stained glass window with what appears to be a grammatical error in the inscription at the bottom:

    Her????  Click on the picture to see the explanation. 
  • The mystery of the parentage of Robert Rawlinson, killed in action in 1915 at the Battle of Loos, aged 21.
  • The meaning of the word, inscribed on a memorial plaque "Relict". Nowadays we would say "Widow".
  • The grave of Bonny Prince Charlie's alleged daughter Clementina Johannes Sobiesky Douglas3 with its enigmatic inscription:

    But behold which King cometh?

Amusingly, one of them was the rector, who knew nothing of these matters, nor the name of the church, St Peter's.  To be fair, he had only been in the job a few weeks and he has ten others to look after.  He is now in a much better position to impress his parishioners and weave these stories into his sermons.

Robin explained that the Bishop seemed to be at war with some of his clergy. Perhaps the Rector is the arbitrator.  Who will be the victor?

Our next objective was High Dam but, as that is quite a steep climb, Martin took the wise option of heading directly to Lakeside and the train back to his car at Haverthwaite.  Mike, Robin, Tony and I pressed on.  Plus Holly of course.

I had a bit of nostalgic fun on the way up.  I found myself talking to a guy who was climbing to the tarn to meet a group of youths on a training exercise.  After a few minutes chat he said, “Right, I’ll have to press on now” and off he tried to shoot. Somewhat to his surprise, but not to mine, he couldn’t shake me off.  I kept a steady one pace behind him almost all the way up.  The almost is because he gave up and pretended he needed to go a different way.  Victor!  Yes, the old juices still flow.

We might have circled the tarn but instead opted to visit Stott Park Heights, a viewpoint about half a mile away.  

The only drawback (apart from the drizzle) was that we had to return via the tarn, which was no great hardship.  It was there that a call came through from Martin. He was safely back at the car.  Victor!  He said it was pouring down at Haverthwaite.  Fearful that the rain might catch us soon, we took the road route down to Lakeside, passing the old Bobbin Mill on the way. That looked like an interesting destination but not for today.

As we approached the landing stage we heard the unmistakable hoot of the train departing.  We had missed our return.  We had to wait an hour.  We passed the time by supping a poor cup of tea and a half decent biscuit whilst agreeing how the staff needed to be trained.  Tinny radio blaring out from the kitchen for the benefit of the workers but no thought of customer.  Fortunately we couldn’t hear it outside.

The train arrived on time and we had the pick of the carriages, apart of those pre-booked by the various travel companies.  At first we thought it was for Japanese but that proved not to be the case.  The tourists were actually Chinese. The old order changeth.

The line is only about four miles long but offers a pleasant view of the lower reaches of Windermere.  We could see steam and I tried to encourage it to come into the compartment but it wouldn’t.  I didn’t take any photos from the train but I certainly did of the engine.  REPULSE.  An odd name.  I much preferred the one in the station yard.

W. G. Bagnall’s Saddle Tank  Nº  2996 : VICTOR

Don, 4th October 2018


Mixed class also known as black fives (from the pre-BR numbering system).


Semi-streamlined engines of the London Midland & Scottish Railway.


Some Mickies were "Namers" (the engine also had a name).  All the Semis were namers.


See The Cumbrian Princess



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If you want to know which BOOTboys reports refer to having visited any particular Wainwright or certain other tops, see BOOTboys Hill Log.



I asked daughter Emma whether the characters on the "Danger Please Keep Off" sign on the side of Victor were Chinese or Japanese.  Here is her reply:


The first bit is in Chinese:
     Danger (top left)
     Please maintain distance (first line under Please Keep Off)

I think the bottom line and the two characters at the top on the right are Japanese but contain some Chinese characters (which Japanese often does).

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Comitibus:  Tony, Martin, Don, Mike B, Robin (+Holly)


Map : OS 1:50k




Thursday 4th October 2018


Finsthwaite, High Dam, Stott Park Heights

Distance in miles (Garmin):


Height climbed in feet (OMN):


GPX track



Don, Martin, Mike B, Robin, Tony


If you want to know which BOOTboys reports refer to having visited any particular Wainwright or certain other hills, see BOOTboys Hill Log.

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