name of our walking group, BOOTboys,
is only partly
to do with footwear worn on the hills and nothing to
do with any hooligan sub-culture.
It is also partly in memory of a night in 1973 when we chanced
upon the Burnmoor Inn at Boot in Eskdale.
it is not exactly true to say "chanced". We
had heard tales of the Inn and its eccentric landlady,
Big Josie as she was known, and we wanted to see if
they were true.
After a day's walking on the fells
we found out. They were true. Somewhat tame by modern
day standards but rather risqué in the early
Having seen for ourselves, in the best
traditions of investigative journalism we made an excuse
Josie was Austrian. She had a
daughter by a soldier who was killed on the Russian front in WWII. Subsequently she met and married John, a
British soldier, and they settled in Eskdale, at Boot's Burnmoor Inn.
Many years later, her teenage daughter was brought over from Austria to
look after her step-brothers.
After John died, Josie started
to drink heavily and her eccentric behaviour
developed. Her antics were legendary. Several
descriptions exist on the web and Eric Robson, in his
book "After Wainwright", relates the tale of a typical
she was drinking a bottle of gin a day and the doctor
advised her that unless things changed she had less
than six months to live. She left the Burnmoor
Inn and moved to Gosforth where she became a more respectable
woman who stopped drinking.
died in 2001. Boot
would never be the same again.
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have been gleaned from many sources although mostly
from me and other BOOTboys.
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