Wainwright walks 73: Armboth Fell and the bog of doom!

Hills: Armpit Bog, sorry Armboth Fell

Classification: Wainwright (141)

When: Wednesday 19 August

Who: Me and the mountaineering minion

Distance: About 4 1/2 miles but felt like twice that

Time: Just under 3 hours

Weather: Dry and sunny, a bit windy

Post walk drink: Malbec

Post walk watering hole: The Crafty Baa, Keswick

Uses of the arse crampon: Still none. Need to send out a search party.

Mishaps: Megabog; a minor navigational mishap

After my short afternoon blast up Gavel Fell, the following day was our wedding anniversary. Normally our wedding anniversary consists of being rained on (unless we are in Egypt) and this time was no different! The enthusiasm to do a walk was somewhat lacking and we settled for a pottering about day including mini-golf and visiting a few hostelries (inevitably). Having completely failed to find anywhere to get booked in for dinner we gave up and our anniversary meal consisted of scallops with chorizo to start off with followed by rib eye steak with various trimmings. Nice but not quite what I’d had in mind and as per my previous post the sheer volume of organisation required to do anything much these days is really starting to grate – and given recent announcements likely to get worse rather than better over the next few months.

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Fiarach and the bog of doom!

Hills: Fiarach
Grahams: one
When: Sunday 28 May
Who: Me and the mountaineering minion
Weather: Strong sunshine with a bit of a breeze
Hangover factor: Surprisingly low
Bog factor: Zero on the approach track but pathless vertical bogfest on the hill itself.
Uses of the ar*e crampon: None, though certainly considered it on the really steep bits on the descent
Pre walk drink: Jarl Scottish ale (though not much of it)
Post walk drink: Same, followed by Pinot Grigio (too warm for Malbec)
Post walk watering hole: The Coach House, Killin (pre walk one as well)

Those of you that read my blog on a regular basis will know that I hate bog. In fact I hate it with a passion. The only decent sort of bog is when it has either dried out or frozen – in which cases it can make for a reasonably congenial walking surface. Although inevitably with the frozen sort I manage to find the bit that isn’t frozen with the result being one foot goes into freezing murky gunk.

The worst sort of bog is what I refer to as vertical bog. It is obviously not actually vertical but when trying to slog up a steep, soggy, squishy slope it certainly feels like it. Going uphill it seems to sap your strength massively; going downhill care has to be taken not to slip and end up with a wet and muddy rear end, although going downhill through bog doesn’t sap your energy in quite the same way as going up. There are certain hills which after doing them I refer to as ‘Bogatory’ which is that particular kind of hill walking purgatory where you think the bog is never going to end and wonder if you are ever going to reach the top, or (in descent) ever get out of it and end up being sucked down into some tar pit of doom, to be discovered millennia later by some archaeologist who will wonder what Scarpas are and why all hill walking gear for women seems to be pink. I also think that given I now do most of my walking in the Lake District rather than Scotland I have got a bit spoilt and forgotten what a proper Scottish bog is like. Well I certainly got a reminder on this walk! Continue reading