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Monday, 18 February 2013


Marilyn 280 - High Rigg - NY 308 219

The car park at 9:50 am at Legburthwaite (sounds like a Dickens character) was empty.There is a scale of charges which irritatingly makes you predict how long your walk will take so I had to choose between two hours or four, and had to opt for the latter - £4.50.

Within the first quarter mile I overtook a young couple, and then a group of elderly ladies. In the hills,"elderly" seems to be a relative term depending on how quickly people are walking. At 73 I must qualify for the definition, but I don't put myself in that category. The younger couple were in another familiar category. The man was walking quicker than the girl, and he had to keep waiting for her, so either she was extremely unfit, or just hated walking, and I reckon they would have gone another half  mile before turning back.

Surprisingly, especially as it was  a cloudless, blue-sky Sunday, I had the whole of the tops to myself until dropping steeply off the other end of the ridge. The complex massif of Blencathra scattered with snow dominated, and had me snap-happy. Given the perfect weather and the weekend timing, I had been fortunate - that is the potential reward for an early start.

As I descended to a miniature church I heard the organ playing. After the trauma of the descent, and in no hurry, the idea of a short rest was appealing. There was a convenient bench in the churchyard, and nobody else about, and as I sat music continued, tuneful, melodious, and at a gentle pace mirroring my increased relaxation. This ephemeral moment lasted for several minutes, but it seemed longer, until the music ended, and I heard the  distant sonorous voice of the preacher, slightly muffled and sounding as if coming from the bottom of a very deep well, and  so I moved on.

Low Bridge End Farm has a conservatory converted into a café, sometimes attended, and sometimes serve yourself. I  chatted to the farmer, a well spoken and educated guy in his sixties I guess. His family have been there since 1911, and his father continued walking on the fells until he was 97.

Back at my start the car park was now full. I had not refreshed at the café, and thought I would call elsewhere on the way back, but every lay-by, and pub and café car park was crammed with cars manoeuvring for the next available space, and hoards of people walking everywhere. It would have been more peaceful at Butlins in August.
Top left, Dale Bottom features, where, back in the Sixties The Yorkshire Moutaineering Club had a cottage. We spent many a weekend there. It was basic to the point of disgusting.

All these pics feature Blencathra. Here the summit of High Rigg is beyond the visible ridge

St John's in the Vale

St John's in the Vale church

St John's Beck

Castle Rock.
 One of the best climbing crags in The Lakes where I did a number of routes with Tony including Overhanging Bastion

Back home I managed to contact the organist at the church after a bit of detective work. The tune was Abbey Sunset written by Harrison Oxley  (decd. 2009) - organist at St Edmunsbury Cathedral, a bit of a maverick. For more info: click here


Roderick Robinson said...

"I don't put myself in that category."

It's others who will do the putting. Otherwise you might as well use your blog to announce to the world how beautiful you are.

afootinthehills said...

Brothers can be so cruel Conrad. 'The knee' must be just about ready for a backpacking trip or is that a step (as it were) too far?

Sir Hugh said...

RR - Let the "others" keep playing golf. I and the hills will continue to be beautiful together.


Afoot - Hi Gibson. Good to hear from you again. I'm still finding that six miles or so is enough, so more patience is needed. I may go off with the caravan straight after Easter and head south and mop a few Marilyns on modest day walks, moving from place to place. Martin Banfield is bringing his entourage tomorrow to Silverdale close to my abode and I am hoping to join them for a walk. A post could follow.