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Monday, 14 October 2013

Walking and talking


What possessed the Neolithics (4500 to 2000 BC) to build a stone circle in this desolate location?

What decided farmhouse builders on the location of the slate quarry we explored?

Isn’t it late in the year to find thriving butterfly caterpillars?

Can we remember ever having driven on this remote stretch of single track, unfenced tarmac?

Why don’t farmers put footpath signs through their property?

These and other questions we pose and try to answer as Gimmer and I take a leisurely six mile footpath walk round the lower flanks of Black Coombe.

Other topics:

Defining differences between, concoctions, decoctions and tinctures.

The writings of Thomas Hardie, Elmore Leonard, and Joseph Conrad.

American gun culture and violence portrayed in old Walt Disney cartoons, leading to Gimmer’s chilling account of The Collector by John Fowles. We anticipated defenders of sadistic material saying that it only influenced  "a very small minority" to perpetrate copy-cat actions; well, in a city of say 300,000 one in a thousand that would be 300!

The ability to walk across previously impossible marshy ground now drier through chemical pollution and climate change.

Post war milk deliveries and purchasing of groceries.

Duck and turkey breeding at a remote farm.

The various definitions of the word dike or dyke.

Gimmer’s comparison of planning convoluted circular country walks with our erstwhile pursuit of mountain climbing which only involved deciding which mountain to climb.

Our good fortune at still being able to do even these walks at our advanced years - speculation of a tabloid story of two 70 odd year old men lost on the hills - conclusion:  silly old buffers.

Such is the substance of  walks with a companion interspersed with frequent stops to appreciate views, identify  peaks, take photos, and convivially munch sandwiches and drink hot coffee warding off the now seasonally colder weather.




Stickle Pike, Caw, Old Man of Coniston, Dow Crag and Grey Friar

Traditional sheepfold and the Duddon estuary




Neolithic circle - Swinside - (SD 172 882)

Gimmer christened this The Leaning Lean-to

9 comments:

Alan Rayner said...

I don't think Swinside is too remote and it was probably a lot more trees around when the circle was built. I walk that area quite a bit when the higher tops are thick with cloud but i cannot remember where that leaning shed is.
Sounds like you had a great day with some unusual topics.

welshpaddler said...

Your description of you and Gimmer could almost describe me and my walking buddy known as the Navigator in my blog.

We are currently on a week,s walking break in Patterdale and today whilst putting the world to rights mentioned Black Coombe and oddly enough why certain ladies are called dykes!

afootinthehills said...

All very interesting Conrad. Perhaps on your next walk you can discuss Hazlitt's comment: 'I cannot see the wit of walking and talking at the same time. When I am in the country, I wish to vegetate like the country"!

Roderick Robinson said...

Here are some answers:

(1) Neolithics. They were on the verge of discovering the wheel and were looking for useful applications of this invention. Simultaneously, and less heralded at the time, they came up with an abbreviation for the word "applications" given it was such a fag to carve it in stone. You'll never guess...

(2) The existence of slate.

(3) Their delaying tactics were intended to avoid the attentions of clumbering, chattering, over-burdened man-mountains. Seems they failed.

(4) If you can't answer this what hope have I?

(5) Ask a silly question.... OK, you don't deserve the fruit of my lucubrations. That's enough.

Sir Hugh said...

Alan R - The leaning lean-to, along with other vernacular buildings is at Broadgate - approx. SD 180867. We parked the car at the minor road junction a few hundred yards to the south and walked anti-clockwise.

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welshpaddler - I hope you will post about your Patterdale trip - have not looked yet this morning.

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affotinthehills - Hazlitt is of course correct if you are walking alone, although I have to admit to talking to myself quite often. If you are with a companion I think you would not have that person as a friend for long if you never uttered a word during a multi hour walk. Hazlitt was a pretty deep thinker, and I think any conversation with him would have been beyond my amateur, occasional dabblings in philosophy.

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RR - I've got to say the Neolithics bore the pants off me.

Said Simple Simon to the pieman, "what have you got there?"

"Pies you ****!"

gimmer said...

ah, Hazlitt! - the original blogger, it has been quipped!
I suspect our musings were less caustic and less dialectical, but probably, paradoxically, neither so delicately nor so poetically expressed as his would have been. An interesting proposition!

Sir Hugh said...

Gimmer - don't underestimate us. I am sure that, erudite as he was, Hazlitt must have had some shortcomings.

gimmer said...

I'm sure you know he was excoriating and so was excoriated in his turn - and eventually lost most of his friends and his admirers: he seems to have ignored the ancient Greeks' nostrum 'meden agen' until the very last few years, when, apparently, he began to see some, heavily moderated, merit in eg Wordsworth - so we have hope.
Personally, I think he was as wrong in this as in his political opinions!
Other schools of thought have thoroughly recommended walking as an aid to both thought and eloquence - no Reading Party would be complete without long discursive rambles in the rain - many Double Firsts are claimed to have resulted from them!

gimmer said...

I'm sure you know he was excoriating and so was excoriated in his turn - and eventually lost most of his friends and his admirers: he seems to have ignored the ancient Greeks' nostrum 'meden agen' until the very last few years, when, apparently, he began to see some, heavily moderated, merit in eg Wordsworth - so we have hope.
Personally, I think he was as wrong in this as in his political opinions!
Other schools of thought have thoroughly recommended walking as an aid to both thought and eloquence - no Reading Party would be complete without long discursive rambles in the rain - many Double Firsts are claimed to have resulted from them!