Sunday, 25 November 2012

Survival tips for the bog bound.

A frozen bog. Do not be fooled...
For reasons that will become clear over the next week or so I can't actually tell you where we were yesterday, but suffice to say it was boggy.  That's not really narrowed things down much as "wet and boggy" is a term which could currently be used to describe around 90% of the national park; the other 10% are the lakes themselves.  So here's my thoughts on surviving in the boggy wilderness:

1.  Upon sight of the first bog you will instantly recall where you left your gaiters.

2.  Half way through the first bog you will also recall where your snorkel and flippers are.

3.  The deepest, wettest, soggiest bogs will generally be towards the start of the hike thus ensuring you're good and damp for the duration.

4.  All bogs are best tackled during the hours of daylight; during the hours of darkness bogs enter "stealth mode" and are not to be messed with.

5.  The path around the bog will, during the course of the season, become longer and longer until it becomes a route in its own right and merits an addendum in the Wainwright guides.

"Bog Buddy" required.
6.  Everyone has a theory for tackling bogs.  None of them actually work but arguing over them provides a welcome distraction when you're up to your knees in bog number 32.

7.  There is no safe place to put your rucksack when taking a break on a boggy walk; learn to juggle.

8.  Do not be fooled by frozen bogs - especially lower down the fells; they will lure you to their centre before cracking and engulfing you in their boggy mire.

9.  "Ninja feet" do not work.  (See point 6).  The idea that running quickly and lightly over the surface of the bog will somehow fool the forces of gravity is wrong.  It will not, however, prevent you from attempting it.

10.  You will require a "bog buddy".  A "bog buddy" is some poor sap who is conned into walking ahead of you, thus identifying the routes not to take.  NOTE: for a "bog buddy" to be truly effective they need to be taller than the deepest sections of the bog.  When Steve gallantly took the lead yesterday I thought it was because he loved me.  Turns out it was apparently because I'm "not much use in bogs deeper than 5ft 10in"  Charming.


  1. Beth, a week ago I was out at Wyth Burn (the valley off Wythburn funnily enough. When planning the route, I missed a place called 'The Bog'. When on the walk I found it. I'll go back, but only in a drought.

  2. Oh Ray I feel your pain! Yesterday waders would have been more appropriate than walking boots...

  3. Not "The Bog"!! Poor Ray! That really has to be one of the worst spots in the whole of the Lake District. I went there once... just the once...

  4. Excellent, survivival for bogs, decised to post in the Upper Eden Visitor Centre for all walkers who believe they should go where mere mortals and local fear to tread without map, compass and warm closthing at 15.00 on a winter's afternoon and then complain that is is muddy before or after the Mountain Rescue are called out. Seek local advice and don't go there.
    Ann Sandell Kirkby Stephen and District Walkers are Welcome

  5. Thank you! :-) Nothing quite as energy sapping as a bog yomping. Glad you enjoyed the post - we must come & visit sometime!

  6. Recently walked up Pen y Ghent... the boggiest walk I have ever done. Had to change our plans totally!