Date - 20th June 2013 Distance - 5 miles
Ascent -
Map - OL6 Start point - Dalegarth Station (NY 1730 0069)


Summits Achieved

Name Height (ft) Height (m) Grid Ref
Boat How 1105 337 NY 1772 0340



It was a quiet Monday afternoon, Dad and Uncle Brian being at Elaine's as usual. Grizzly and Shaun had arrived with cake and tea, so all was well with the world. Steaming mugs in paw and one Grizzly's delicious cherry and ginger scones with butter on the plate.

"The scones are really scrumptious", said Tetley, with a look of ecstasy on his face.

"Thanks pal. Just glad you like them", replied Grizzly.

"I see that Dad has Thursday down for a walk with Uncle Eric", remarked Allen, with iPad in paw.

"What's the weather forecast?", asked Little Eric, through a mouthful of scone.

He quickly navigated to the Met Office app, and replied, "a dry day with sunny periods and fairly light winds."

"So has any decision been made about where to go?", asked Grizzly.

"Well", replied Allen. "There is an e-mail here from Uncle Eric, suggesting going over to Eskdale to climb Boat How."

"Oh, that would be just great as it is one of my outstanding Wainwright Outlying Fells", enthused Little Eric with glee.

"Dad will be talking with Uncle Eric tomorrow or Wednesday, so we will just have to wait until then to see what the final decision is", said Shaun. He had by now been and got Wainwright's Outlying Fells book and went on, "Wainwright starts the walk from Boot, but there is no where to park. The best alternative will be Dalegarth Station, that is the terminus of the Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway."

"That will be nice for our pals, Barnaby, Lee, Grizedale and Ginger. They always come along to say hello to Uncle Eric, so if we go to Eskdale, then they will be able to have a ride on the railway, while we are on the walk", said Tetley.

Well, I'm going to keep my paws crossed that this will where we will go", said Little Eric, helping himself to another scone.

"You really are a cake stuffer", laughed Allen, refilling his mug, then getting another scone too."

"And like Dad, you are a real tea belly", retorted Little Eric.


The Walk

The arrangement was to meet Uncle Eric in the station car park, and this large sign welcomes visitors to Dalegarth. The sign refers to Boot Station, closer to the village, which was once the terminus of the railway. That was prior to the early 1920s, and long before it was run as a heritage railway. As well as passengers it has also served at times mines, to transport the iron ore and granite.

We all gave Uncle Eric a cheery greeting, and once he and Dad were ready, got ourselves settled in Dad's rucksack.

As we walked out of the car park, Allen called out to Barnaby, Lee and pals, "hope you have a good time on the railway."

"Thanks" replied Barnaby. "Enjoy the walk and take care."

Dad then took a picture of the station, where our pals had gone to sit on the platform to wait for the train. Beyond the wall at the end of the platform can be seen a field, and at its far side there is another wall. It was on the far side of this that the original route ran to Boot. It is still possible to walk along the route, now a grassy path.

Our minds turned to the walk, and Shaun said, "we go along the road to Brook House, where it is left on the narrow road, to the tiny community of Boot. Very typical of Lakeland with its white painted houses."

Strolling along, Grizzly suddenly called out, "those planters in the shape of a dog and pig are interesting and rather unusual."

Just beyond we reached the bridge over the Whillan Beck, whose source is on the flanks of Scafell. To the right is Eskdale Mill, that can trace its recorded history back to 1294 and is one of the last remaining working mills in the Lake District.

Then through, to quote Wainwright, 'an often opened gate to a much trodden path half right'. This is because it is one of the routes to Scafell and also Wasdale.

"In about 150 yards, we go through a gate on the right", instructed Shaun.

"What are those distant hills?", asked Little Eric.

"The Birker Fells, that we passed as we drove over the fell road this morning", replied Tetley. The prominent one in the centre is Green Crag. We climbed them all in May 2009.

"Oh yes, I remember now", replied Little Eric. "We bagged a good few summits that day."

The way led through walled pastures, at one point passing a team of volunteers who were repairing the path to provide a gully to prevent flooding.

Dad and Uncle Eric stopped briefly to chat. The poor man furthest away in the picture had the worst job chipping away at a large rock.

"Right, we just keep on along the path, passing through a few gates in the process", advised Shaun.

Then just before the last gate on to open fell, we encountered some cattle with calves.

Checking the book and map, Shaun said, "we need to look for an old ruined building on the left side. This is the marker for where we leave the path to ascend to Boat How."

We kept our eyes peeled and shortly Grizzly called out, "there it is."

Meanwhile to the right ahead, stands mighty Scafell (3162ft) the second highest mountain in England.

So once opposite the derelict building, we duly went left past it, and then on over the rough trackless ground to cross a shepherds track. Then onwards in the same direction to soon reach the rocky prominent outcrop that is the summit of Boat How, with just a single stone as a marker.

"Yippee", cried Little Eric."That's another Outlyer ticked off for Uncle Eric and me."

We did not need a second asking to jump out of the rucksack and settle for our usual picture, Dad getting the flag out to add extra colour.

Uncle Eric then wandered round the summit area, and Allen asked, "what are you looking for?"

"Some stones to add to the cairn, but it seems there are none about", he replied. Then he went on, "I think this will be a good place to have lunch."

"Ooh yes", agreed Allen, "my tummy is rumbling."

So we settled on the grass and enjoyed our sandwiches and pieces of Grizzly's delicious coconut and raspberry slice, with this wonderful view before us.

Distantly from left to right are Kirk Fell and Great Gable, that dominate the scene at Wasdale Head. Immediately behind Burnmoor Tarn, are the lower slopes of Scafell. Burnmoor Tarn is one of the largest entirely natural tarns in the Lake District, being about 40 feet deep.

"What a truly wonderful view", sighed Little Eric, as he munched away on his sandwich.

"It really is", responded Tetley, "and again, it just goes to show that you do not need to be high on the mountains to get such views."

We were reluctant to leave, but finally Dad called out, "Uncle Eric and I have finished, so it's time to settle in my rucksack again."

"OK", called back Grizzly.

Now, as Wainwright says, we headed south towards the antiquities . There was a clear tractor track, that kept us rather east of Low Longrigg, and so missed the first two ancient stone circles, instead coming to Brat's Moss, where there are three more.

We stood a while surveying the scene and visiting the three circles. After a while, Allen said, "this is such a wild and lonely place and one can only wonder why they were built and what significance they had to these people, all those centuries ago?"

From the last circle, we followed the track coming to a group of ruined stone buildings that Birkett says were once peat houses. Here we joined a bridleway, the stony path descending to Boot, and passing a Herdwick ewe with her lamb that Dad was quick to snap.

"Oh heck, failed again to have a sheep picture free story", complained Tetley, "and we were so near the end of the walk too."

Just before we reached the gate into Boot, we noticed the substantial ruin of a stone building that was built on an embanked platform

"I think that might have had some association with the Ravenglass to Eskdale Railway", said Uncle Eric.

He kindly lent Dad a book on the railway by W J K Davies. From this we were able to deduce, that this building housed the offices of the Nab Gill iron ore mine. As we said earlier, the line originally went to Boot station, that was situated just a short way beyond the building, looking in this direction.

Then, looking left was Boot, with its white houses, and we strolled down to the gate into the hamlet,

walking through it again to the mains road, and right along this to Dalegarth Station, where Dad and Uncle Eric went and had tea and cake in the cafe. Uncle Eric's treat, for which Dad says, "thank you."

We looked about, but there was no sign of our pals Barnaby, Lee, Grizedale & Ginger. "They must not have arrived back from their train trip", said Shaun. Then to Dad he said, "if it's OK with you, we will sit here on the station and wait for them. There is a train due fairly shortly."

"OK lads", Dad replied.

"There is still some sandwiches and cake", piped up Allen, "so we can have another picnic", as he slipped his rucksack off.

"Ooh great", cried Little Eric, "I can't wait to have another piece of the delicious coconut and raspberry slice you have made Grizzly."

"Just glad you like it. I got the idea, when we went with Dad to Elaine's, as it was on sale there, and I asked her for the recipe."

Soon we heard a whistle, and Tetley called out, "the train is coming."

It pulled into the station, hauled by a black locomotive, called Sampson.

The passengers piled off, and we looked along the platform, but there was no sign of our pals.

"I wonder where they have got too?", said Grizzly.

"They must have stayed down at Ravenglass to explore, and then maybe got off at another station. We will just have to be patient and wait for the next train", replied Allen

Little Eric was looking closely at the locomotive and asked, "what do the initials R H & D R, mean?

Tetley replied, "I thought the name did not ring a bell, for a Ratty locomotive, as they are mainly named after the local rivers." Then after a moments thought he said, "they stand for Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch Railway, which has the same gauge of 15 inches, as the Ratty. It must be on loan."

"I remember a long time ago that Dad and Uncle Brian took Scooter, Higgy and his pals on that line, when they went to visit Auntie Joyce and Uncle Barry in Kent", added Grizzly.

Meanwhile, Sampson, was detached, turned on the turntable, and run round to the other end of the carriages. Soon after, the whistle sounded, and the train pulled gently out of the station. It was to soon meet a train hauled by locomotive, Wroxham Broad that was on loan from the Bure Valley Railway in Norfolk, at a passing loop, and this train soon arrived at Dalegarth, where we saw our pals hop out of one of the open carriages.

They hurried over, and Lee called out, "we have had a super time and Barnaby brought his camera along and took a few pictures.

"That's great", replied Allen. "They must be included in our story. Will you tell the tale, Barnaby?"

"Sure pal", he replied. "We sat a little while enjoying the lovely views, after you and Dad set off, then got our tickets and waited for the train. It was hauled by Sampson, which I guess you have seen. This and Wroxham Broad are on loan, as the Ratty locos are undergoing repairs at present. We rode all the way Ravenglass, where we got off and explored the station, went to the shop and then sat on the platform to have our picnic.

"It was ever such good fun", interjected Lee. "I love to see the staff turn the locos round on the turntable. I would have liked to have had a go myself."

Barnaby then took up the tale again. "After a while Wroxham Broad arrived with its train, the one we would travel back on, but before we set off, I went and took a picture of it."

Grizedale interrupted now. "I like this locomotive, and suggested to Barnaby to take a picture of the inside of the cab. Lovely"

"Having done this, it was time to get into our carriage ready for the return trip, and I took this shot of the station looking towards the signal box and workshops."

"Not long after the whistle was sounded and gently we pulled out of the station, soon passing Muncaster Mill, that is still operating. Then at the first loop we passed a diesel hauled train", went on Barnaby.

"Nothing wrong with diesel, but I was glad we had steam hauled trains in each direction, despite the smoke and soot getting in my eyes at times", said Lee, laughing.

"As we got on towards Irton Road, the fellside rose high above us to the right and we wondered what it was called", said Barnaby.

Ginger butted in now, saying, "we had no idea, but I said, I am sure STAG will know."

Quick as a flash, Tetley replied, "It is Muncaster Fell, which we climbed in January 2009."

"Oh yes, I remember that well", went on Grizzly. "We had that terrific rain storm when we were on the top of The Knott, but it was a completely different day in the afternoon, on Muncaster Fell, with glorious sunshine!"

Barnaby again took up the story, "As we rode along this section to Irton Road, we could see Eskdale opening out before us the high fells coming into view and we thought about you all on your walk. Beyond Irton Road , the next station is The Green and then the halts of Fisherground near the campsite, and Beckfoot. It was around here at the loop, that I captured this shot of Sampson, coming from Dalegarth."

"Just great", cried Shaun. "We have all had such a good day, and will have lots to tell our other pals when we get home."

"Absolutely", replied Barnaby with a broad smile on his face. "Scooter and pals will be jealous too."

"Yes, but they have the visit to the Bluebell Railway to look forward to in September", replied Allen. Scooter has told me he just can't wait to ride the whole line, including the recently opened extension to East Grinstead."

Dad and Uncle Eric came out of the cafe now. "Good trip, then?", asked Uncle Eric.

"Oh yes", replied Lee, with enthusiasm.

So, now it time for home, but just before, we all went and sat in a play train in the car park to have our picture taken.

l-r, Shaun, Tetley, Allen, Ginger, Lee with Grizedale, Grizzly, Barnaby with Little Eric.

Then we said our goodbyes to Uncle Eric, thanking him for his company.

A grand day out!!


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