BOOTboys :  2004 The First Year

The early days of BOOTboys were not well documented at the time.  It had its antecedent in the Boxing Day (or thereabouts) walks that Ian would organise when staying with his in-laws at Christmas.  I remember, probably around 2001, going up Thornthwaite Beacon from the Kirkstone Pass with Ian and Sam (Martin) and finding it very hard going in my then unfit state and being embarrassed by how slow I was.  Revenge would have to wait until BB0617!  There was also a similarly arranged outing at Christmas 2003; a successful ascent of at least some of the Langdales.

Windermere from  a Langdale Pike

Bassenthwaite with Skiddaw in snow

From time to time Stan and I would bump into each other and he would always say how we really ought to get ourselves organised and get out on the hills but it took some years and the additional influence of others, particularly John, for it to come to fruition.

Unfortunately I lost all my records in the Great Computer Disaster of March 2004 but some self termed "saddos" have retained their electronic or paper diaries and have confirmed that the first such outing took place in January 2004. Although the name had not then been coined, in retrospect it merits being termed the first appearance of the BOOTboys .


BB0401  Harter Fell in the very very wet.

Thursday 22nd January 2004

John recalls the that "there were 5 of us - Don, Philip, Pete, Stan and myself and there was disagreement between Stan and Don as to what route to follow up Harter Fell -- Stan won. We had to bail out early because of the cloud and bad weather. I remember being wet through at the shelter on Nam Bield Pass!"

I have no recollection of any disagreement.  I just remember driving along Haweswater in the rain, wondering what on earth we were doing and later having similar thoughts on reaching the shelter on the Nan Bield Pass.

Stan's recollection is also of the torrential rain and of Philip's wife, Ann, telling his wife, Joan, on meeting her in Kendal that Philip had reported that Stan had tried to kill him! 

No photographic evidence has come to light, presumably as the conditions were so bad. Indeed after that inauspicious start, it is wonder we ever got out again!


BB0402 Rough Fell, Kidsty Pike, High Street and the Fairy

Wednesday 18th February 2004

This started from the same point, at the Haweswater car park, but on a totally different type of day- the sort you dream about.  John certainly must have been dreaming as for nearly three years afterwards he claimed that the walk was on his 60th birthday and had brought along a small cake from Les Beavis's daughter's bakery to share with Pete, Stan and me to prove it.  He even persuaded me to take a commerative photograph of him. Only now does he concede that he was actually a year older.

Birthday boy.  But how old?

Although it was a delightful walk in delightful weather, what I remember most about it was the bizarre experience I had when I processed the photographs on my computer.  

Do you believe in fairies?  Well you should because I have the photographic evidence.  This little fellow on the left was captured on camera on the other side of Haweswater.

If you don't believe me, check it for yourself.  Make a wish and click on the fairy.

Now do you believe?


BB0403  The Rydal Round

Tuesday 7th April 2004

Whenever we have visitors who want to have a gentle stroll in the lakes we invariably take them on the Rydal Round.  If there is another walk with such stunning views at any time of the year coupled with points of interest achieved at comparatively little effort, I would like to know where it is.

Even though this was originally intended as a "Slipper Stroll", Stan refused to set the route, not wanting to be accused of killing of Henry on his guest appearance so John L and I decided to take them plus John S and Brian W round the lake.  

We started with the stiff but mercifully brief climb up from the White Moss Common car park to pick up the footpath to Rydal Mount and proceeded clockwise to visit Rydal Cave and then along Loughrigg Terrace to drop down to Grasmere and back to the car park.

As far as I can tell, I failed to take my camera with me so no photos but here's one I prepared earlier!

Grasmere from Loughrigg Terrace


BB0404  Heron Pike

For Monday 12th May 2004 please read Monday 10th May 2004.

My compliance officer had to point out that the e-mail advertising the walk had a non-calendar-compliant date and consequently all clients had to be issued with a statement that was clear and not misleading

The record reads: "An excellent excursion today with JPL, APM and me up Heron Pike (above Alcock Tarn/ Grasmere/ Rydal).  A bit steep to start but once up on the top wonderful views.  The threatened storms held off, the sun shone, the rhodies looked magnificent." and then ran out of comment!

My recollection is that the "bit steep to start" referred to Nab Scar and is somewhat understated!

Again I have no photos.


BB0405  Coniston Old Man

Thursday 10th June 2004

I had wrecked my knee gardening so was unable to join the party.  Stan reported:

1st attempt at COM went well with good visibility (only some very slight mist at times over distant tops) and no rain whatsoever.   Fell top conditions were quite blustery and cool with noticeably warmer breezes on the way down.    

As one might expect with 3 geriatric ex fell runners in the party, whatever the planned route, it didn't materialise. Someone suggested the 'tourist' route through the quarries was a bit grim to which I readily agreed, so we set off along the Walna Scar road intending to branch right up COM.

In the event we slightly overshot the turnoff so we decided rather than retrace steps 50 yards to carry on to Dow Crag (it being one of the best Coniston tops anyway)!   We set off down from COM, but again, rather than face the quarry workings, Graham suggested we descend via the grassier path further to the south which is a much better route, not to mention easier on the knees!

All in all an excellent day at a leisurely pace.

John had a slightly different version:

Good day. Weather conditions good for walking apart from a 10/15 min spell at the top when the wind was quite strong ( I could lean into it at 45degrees) and lower down it was too hot -for 10 mins).

Start time 10:18 , finish 14:40.

Started at end of metalled road on Walna Scar road (grid 289-971) -220 m above sea level. Headed East on Walna Scar Road, round bottom of Goatfoot Crag -up to Brown Pike (682 above sea level), along the ridge to Buck Pike and Dow Crag (778)- then lost height to Goat Hawse (649) then up to Old Man ( 803) -I found the pull from Goat Hawse worse than that from Rydal to Nab Scar we did last time but the experts said it wasn't as long or steep ---so I'll put it down to my blood donating on Wed !!. Got to Old Man around 13;05. Have to report that, yet again, we were overtaken by nubile young ladies who smiled at us cheekily, and accelerated away.

Great views on to of Coniston, Windermere and across to Pennines, Ingleboro, Morecambe Bay -and behind to Sellafield. Baled off down grassy tracks almost due South to hit the Walna Scar road again. PVH reckoned that the route/length/time was just about right for him though he was 5 mins in front of me at end- I reckon that I could have managed another hour provided there had been minimal additional height gained/lost. The others, Graham, Stan and Bryan looked as if they had been on a gentle stroll -Stan even ran down part of the bale off route -perhaps he was relishing the freedom to let the wind run through his hair as he hasn't got a good cap to keep his ears warm!!!

GCW should be reported to Trinny and Suzannah for low sartorial standards -fancy wearing the same rugby shorts he had when he played !!!-especially with his legs.

Did no-one take any photos?


BB0406  Borrowdale (Westmorland)

Thursday 8th July 2004

Today saw Gardiner, Hardaker, Lyons and Shore valiantly battling with wind and rain along the (Westmorland) Borrowdale ridge to the radio masts and then back through the haven of the valley.

John subsequently wrote:  "On a quick map measurement last night I got our Borrowdale trip at 5/6 miles -please tell me it was more!!---it certainly felt it was."

What he kept quiet about was his remarkable feat of strength that day.  He accomplished something that Kentdale LandRover claimed was totally unique and had never previously been heard of.  Without any fuss or bother, in a single swift movement, seemingly effortless, he pulled off the handle to the rear door of my Freelander.  That's what comes of going to the gym everyday!  Why did I not have my camera with me?


BB0407  Bowfell, Esk Pike and Whitwham

Thursday 29th July 2004

This is it.  The one the girls have been waiting for.  The long awaited revelation of more photos of Graham in the buff- never mind the walk!

Well, actually the walk deserves a write up.  So you will have to wait a little longer to be titillated.  Although what I wrote at the time was remarkably brief given that we had been along the scary traverse and up the Great Slab where one slip would have meant certain doom!  My report simply said:

A strenuous but very satisfying stroll up Bowfell and Esk Pike today.  The computer says it was 3,589 feet and 9.36 miles but that does not take into account all the wiggling from side to side.  Talking of which, hats (and everything else) off to Graham who displayed a rare talent for skinny dipping in Angle tarn!

The response to these photos was quite remarkable:

Called Col to have a look at  "The Naked Ape". I have to record a reaction of uncontrolled laughter rather than anything more lascivious ! A highlight.


Despite feeling knackered yesterday my knees are ok to day -Not saying I could do the route again today but much less stiffness than usual -perhaps the knee bandages worked -or the sight of the Bingley Whale has magical properties


Is Graham becoming like that character in "Last of the Summer Wine" - the one they made do all the tricks and lusted after Nora Batty!?

When I let it be known that I had more photos which were rather more revealing (despite the effects of cold water) I received many requests for them to be shown.  But out of respect for Graham I desisted.  Until now that is!  Or at least would have been but I regret to report that mysteriously they have all vanished from my computer. And from the backup files on my laptop.  And ditto from the CD backups.  How on earth did he get them to self destruct?  Or has he raided my home to delete all the evidence?  I shall never know.  All I can say is sorry, folks, they are lost!


BB0408 Skiddaw

Thursday 26th August

Today's trip to Skiddaw was rather challenging.  A very steep start then up a long steep ridge whilst the weather ignored the forecast and brought the cloud and rain in several hours earlier than it should.  

Having achieved what I thought was Long Side only to discover it was only Ullock Pike with a near vertical ascent to follow in horrid conditions if anyone had said let's do a Paula I'd have turned round like a shot!  And then it got worse going up onto Skiddaw itself.  Coming down Carl Side however suddenly the mist cleared and there was a magical view of Derwentwater seemingly floating in the sky in front of us. From then on the day picked up!  11.2 km and 989 metres of ascent. 

Graham kept his clothes on today.

John added:

Thought you might be interested in the description of Skiddaw in one of my books. The walk described runs from the South East as opposed to the way we did it but leaves down the track we followed to the White Stones. The text reads......... "From the cairn marking the South Top it is 400m along the ridge to the true summit or Skiddaw Man. The summit is bare and stony, often lashed by winds and decidedly colder than the fellside leading to it. Return to the South Top where a decision has to be made. All but the most intrepid or hardened fellwalkers are likely to be daunted at the thought of descending the steep scree down to the col of Carl Side. If in doubt go back the way you came.  From the col the path down from Carl Side averages 1:4 with the ground falling away disturbingly to the left..."

So -are we hardened or intrepid??


BB0409 Loughrigg, not Ingleborough

Thursday 7th October

A run of bad weather meant the repeated postponement of a trip to Ingleborough but on this day, for once, the forecast was wrong. My report ran:

Perhaps the lesson is not to make up your mind until you open the curtains.

Having yesterday called off Ingleborough due to a not inspiring forecast, opting instead for a short Slipper Stroll up Loughrigg, today dawned fine and stayed that way. Indeed as we had our butties on the top of Loughrigg, it was so clear we could just see the top of Ingleborough peeping over Barbon Fell.  Still Loughrigg was possibly a more suitable stroll for those (i.e. me) who had done nothing since the last outing and consequently lost condition!

So Ingleborough remains an option for another day when, hopefully the sun shines and more people can get out.  

Again no photos.  I think my camera had gone kaput and I didn't get a new one until December.


BB0410 Place Fell

Thursday 4th November 2004

After more cancellations for bad weather and illnesses a successful day out was achieved. Only a brief report however:

Pete, Ian, Graham and I were joined by Sam (Martin). Although the weather was not as good as we had hoped, Place Fell proved a very pleasant challenge with superb views and a long undulating walk back above Ullswater and a well earned pint in the White Lion.


BB0411 Wetherlam

Thursday 4th November 2004

A stunning day.  Only a relatively short walk but Bryan took Pete and I up the north face of Wetherlam and I soon found how out of condition I was.  A big struggle going up the at times near vertical gullies so plenty of stops to slow the heart down.

Magnificent views from the top all over everywhere.  

Pete & Bryan on Wetherlam. Scafells in background


Bryan told us of the "Brocken spectre" phenomenon he had experienced recently, only the second time he had encountered it.  It was news to us but apparently under the right conditions of low intense sun behind and cloud in front you can see your image projected onto the clouds, halo-ed by a rainbow.  

To prove it Bryan has forwarded this photo and if you look carefully you can definitely make out his outline.

Click on it for a larger version.  Don't you think it's a remarkable likeness?

For more on Brocken Spectres see BB0603.


BB0412 Mini Effort on Langdales

Thursday 25th November 2004

John mentioned in an e-mail that "Bryan and I had a mini effort  in Langdales-- on 25th Nov and that was it for 2004". I know no more but that was not quite it for the year.


BB0413 Kentmere

Sunday 26th December 2004

The year finished with Ian's Boxing Day walk.  Ian, Sam (Martin), Keith, Jamie and me.

The original idea was to start from Hallow Bank but the ice on the road gave rise to certain difficulties in getting up there.  Indeed it was quite exciting as cars made their own way down the road irrespective of what their drivers intended.

Instead we made our way back to the village and then walked up the Garburn Pass and someway toward Yoke.  Two years after the event I can't exactly recall how far we went but I do recall it being a wonderfully bright day with snow underfoot.


And so ended the first year of the BOOTboys.

However, as a foot note, what was probably the first proper Slipper Stroll should also be remembered.


SS0401  Side Pike

Thursday 5th August 2004

E-mail from John to Don:

Don -remember looking at Side Pike and wondering if it would be suitable for a Slipper outing for Margaret?

Gill and I did it this morning -I get the feeling she does not regard it as a starter walk!!

Parked in ODG and walked up the road to Blea Tarn -at top turn left over stile  and follow route straight up hill -some hand holds needed on some of the outcrops. Took an hour to the top  and a further hour to get to Blea Tarn---the route off and under buttress was a bit airy -Gill muttering she didn't like it. A quicker/shorter route would be to park in the Blea Tarn c/park ,walk round the Tarn ( lovely view of Side Pike  with Langdales in background and Blea Tarn in foreground) and you hit the road opposite the stile ref'd to above-saves the hard work clogging up from ODG Great views on top back down the  Langdale valley, up Mickleden to Rossett Ghyll, left of Band up Oxendale to Crinkle Crags and behind on other side over Blea Tarn


More than two years after the events, memories dim.  Perhaps not all above is totally accurate, but to the best of my knowledge and recollection, it is in spirit if not in absolute fact!.  Certainly, however, it is not complete.  If anyone can correct or preferably add to the record or donate the odd photo, please let me know and it will be included.

Don, 14th January 2007


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BOOT boys


This pages describe
adventures of
a loose group of friends
of mature years who enjoy defying the aging process
by getting out into the hills
as often as possible!

As most live in South Lakeland, it is no surprise that our focus is on the Lakeland fells and the Yorkshire Dales.

As for the name, BOOTboys, it does not primarily derive from an item of footwear but is in memory of Big Josie, the erstwhile landlady of the erstwhile Burnmoor Inn at Boot in Eskdale, who enlivened Saint Patrick's Day 1973 and other odd evenings many years ago!

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To download a log of which Wainwrights have been done by which BOOTboy in the "modern" era, i.e. since the advent of BOOTboys click on Wainwrights

If anyone wants to claim other peaks, please let me know and I will submit them to the adjudication committee!