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Thursday, 8 November 2018

Don't go to Birks Farm Holiday Cottages, Cautley

Wednesday 7th November 2018

I wouldn't be paid to stay at Birks Farm holiday cottages from my experience today.

I was walking part of A Pennine Journey* from Sedbergh to near Cautley returning on the other side of the valley and passing through this place on a public footpath.

The farm had a complex number of tracks and gates, and to be fair the right of way was well marked with yellow paint, but despite that I got off track by about twenty yards. There was a shout from a farm building. The guy came out and demanded aggressively where I had come from and where was I going. He was large powerful and threatening. He shouted telling me not to come on his property and then shouting again frenziedly, directed me through a gate onto the public footpath - I tried to communicate with him, but yet again he shouted out "And don't start telling me to calm down," and then he finished off screaming out "f*** off!"

I reckon this is the most unpleasant encounter I have had with a land owner in over 60 year of walking. How on earth he has managed to secure the handwritten testimonials shown on his website I can't imagine.

The walk was not very inspiring except for it skirting underneath the eastern edges of The Howgills which seem to have unique colouration which is attractive, but for some reason I have have always failed to define I have not been attracted to walk over them very often. My best acquaintance was walking the whole of the main ridge following The Dales High Way a few years ago. At the place marked Fawcett Bank on the map there was an interesting discovery: a gate that could be opened and closed by a long length of string, some electronics, and an apparently hydraulic piston, and a bit further on there was another. I couldn't work out exactly how they worked, but they did.

From my emergence onto the A683 I had intended to continue by tracks and minor roads back to Sedbergh, but heavy rain started and I route marched back down the main road.


*A long distance footpath originated from an early walk by Alfred Wainwright.

Typical Howgill scenery

This and next three - the electronic, hydraulic, string controlled gate

Note string running on the wall - pull and it opens or closes the gate

This box is fixed next to the gate at the end of the wall in the photo above

String runs from this tree stump back to the gate - note small orange marker on string halfway , click to enlarge


bowlandclimber said...

The farmer didn't want you in his "walking paradise" presumably because you weren't paying him. He would be all sweetness and light if you rent one of his cottages for a week. Hope you have calmed down by now.
My walk the same day finished just prior to that downpour.

John J said...

I'm sorry to hear that you've been on the receiving end of such appalling behaviour. Because of the lack of clarity of the route on the ground it is well worth reporting this on the 'Fix My Street' website - adding details of your treatment by the landowner.
I wonder whether such threatening behaviour should be reported to the police, always assuming that you can find a functioning police station!

afootinthehills said...

What a dreadful experience. I bet he didn't reckon on his behaviour being exposed on a blog and his identity revealed via his holiday business.

Sir Hugh said...

BC - My usual technique is to be humble and then apologise and then find some way of offering a compliment and switching the conversation, but I got no chance for that. I'm glad to hear you missed the downpour. This was a rare occasion when the weather forecast got it badly wrong.


JJ - I couldn't complain about the footpath signage - it was my fault that I strayed briefly from the exact path, but there is no excuse for such an unpleasant reaction. Life is too short to spend time harking back and trying to make an issue of it; I prefer to look forward and get on with the next adventure.

Sir Hugh said...

Afoot - Yes, it gives some satisfaction to be able to air such things publicly, but one does that with a certain amount of risk. - I once posted my thoughts about the folk who take pleasure in killing wildlife and it was picked up by the people I was referring to and lead to some unpleasant exchanges on the blog forcing me to withdraw the whole post and comments before it got too far out of hand.

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Roderick Robinson said...

Dunno what you're whingeing about. A typical welcome from a rough-voiced but no doubt warm-hearted (Why is it those from the south-east like to perpetuate that myth?), call-a-spade-spade, knows-the-value-of brass, Brexit-voting, likely-to-drop-down-dead-from-syncope Yorkshireman. Why do you think I disavowed my birthright? Watching Strictly seems to have sapped your moral fibre. You should have given as good as you got - behaved like a real Tyke.

Roderick Robinson said...

"Life is too short to spend time harking back..."

While those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it.


George Santayana, said to have originated that observation, actually said: "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." And now we've all forgotten who George Santayana was. I see I tell a lie. Here's Wiki: (Santayana's) quote, "Only the dead have seen the end of war," was misattributed to Plato in the 2001 war film Black Hawk Down. I wonder if GS thinks that's sufficient tribute.

Sir Hugh said...

RR - I was not advocating the ignoring of history. Many of the great statesmen of the past have achieved success because of a strong grasp of history. Pursuing a grudge and devoting a chunk of your valuable time on earth to such a pursuit, which is unlikely to have a beneficial outcome, takes away time for pursuing goals, and on a lighter note, enjoying life. Bleak House springs to mind. I have not read the novel but I understand it lampoons the legal profession which seems to have the facility for prolonging disputes ad infinitum. The Irish problem is another example which is preventing forward movement, and indeed , as you say, they should learn from history and get on with the now and improvement in the future.

Roderick Robinson said...

What's the difference between "ignoring" and "not harking back"?

Sir Hugh said...

RR - Harking back to me implies having some kind of issue with the past event, most likely some dissatisfaction or disagreement.

From my on-line dictionary:

"hark back
mention or remember something from the past: if it was such a rotten vacation, why hark back to it?[originally a hunting term, used of hounds retracing their steps to find a lost scent.]"

The example used supports my thoughts above. Ignoring implies refusing to have any involvement.

Ruth Livingstone said...

Oh dear. How unpleasant. This is just the sort of encounter I worry about whenever I find myself trespassing, whether inadvertently or deliberately. It really shakes you up, doesn’t it, to be yelled at in such an aggressive manner. No need for such behaviour. Just plain rude.

Roderick Robinson said...

Harking back (always remembering the orginal reference was negative, ie, "not" harking back)

Here's Merriam Webster: "to turn back to an earlier topic or circumstance; to go back to something as an origin or source."

Here's Macmillan: "to remember or talk about something that happened in the past - eg, they always hark back to what they call the 'good old days'."

The nearest to your citation is Cambridge: "If someone harks back to something in the past, they talk about it again and again, often in a way that annoys other people" But then the example chosen (as with Macmillan) - "he's always harking back to his childhood and saying how things were better then" - refers to something that the speaker finds desirable. No issues involved.

Cambridge suggests that repetition is part of the definition. This surprises me. Notice that the Macmillan example feels the need to insert "always" to imply repetition. Note too that neither Merriam Webster nor Macmillan include repetition as apart of their definitions.

Why am I going on about repetition? Because if it is an acknowledged part of the definition of "harking back" then that would support your decision not to hark back. But it is not the same as "having issues".

Sir Hugh said...

Ruth - I wasn't shaken up, just a bit annoyed with myself for not forcing more participation in the verbal exchange, not that it would have done any good, but it would have made me feel better. The problem was that I knew I was in the wrong albeit only marginally and doing no harm.

Sir Hugh said...

RR - That is interesting research and heading for a worthy Phd subject, but seriously it demonstrates the folly of settling, lazily, for the on-line dictionary. I still reckon the phrase could refer to issues you favoured OR disagreed with, and not specifically one or the other. In the context I used I think readers would understand my stance.

The difference between "not harking back" and" ignoring" I would suggest is that the former infers one has made a weighed up decision not to have the bother of what one considers pointless reconsideration, whereas the latter implies a less considered decision.

Just to add to the definitions, from the respectable Chambers 11th Editioon:

"To revert to, or be reminiscent of an earlier topic."

gimmer said...

use of 'harking back' always has that pejorative sub-text - grumpy old duffer, always lives in the past, no future - as distinct from 'reminiscence' which implies a remembrance of times lost/past - but not reliving the past - as the saw goes, using the light of history to guide - steps into those (dark nights) (sun-lit uplands) of the unknowable future
"I know where i'm going, and who i'm going with", as Kathleen Ferrier sang so ambiguously - Christ ? - or her lover ??

Sir Hugh said...

gimmer - You seem to agree with the implication I intended. That tells me that whatever the dictionary says there are likely many people whose perception of the meaning is similar, and that is how language develops. There is a fine line between such distinctions but there is no excuse for using words completely erroneously. I know from conversation with daughter Jill who teaches English many people are too lazy to use a dictionary properly, and even then, as RR demonstrates, there are surprising variations between the acknowledged top ranking publications.

gimmer said...

Agreed: I have spent a significant part of my life telling people that they should consider decimation as a relatively mild collective punishment.

Roderick Robinson said...

It isn't often I come upon references to the sort of music which engages me - here or elsewhere in blogland. So thanks to Gimmer.

The song he mentions proceeds to:

Some say he's black,
I say he's bonny,
Fairest of them all,
My handsome winsome Johnnie

which must have been even more daring when the song first emerged (In the era known as Irish: Trad. folk.) I find the lines poignant and courageously defiant although I am saddened by the fact that some singers replace "black" with "bad". You may be surprised to find me supporting a musical genre which I previously despised if only through ignorance. V has taught me there are only two types of music - good and bad. Sometimes it's hard to make the distinction when one only listens to the music, singing can help. The turning point for me was being compelled - despite my pseudo-intellectual protestations - to learn She Moved Thro' the Fair, a song from the same stable. For one thing it is musically complex, also hellishly difficult (unlike Johnnie). It's no use my saying it's wonderful, although a mutual friend has admitted as much. Better you form your own opinion via YouTube where many women folk-singers, often of the Joni Mitchell stripe, have recorded it.

Johnnie, on the other hand, is a song for everyone: a narrow-range tune that is both simple and triumphant, rhythmically easy, with concise lyrics which I find irresistible

I have stockings of silk
Shoes of bright green leather
Combs to buckle my hair
And a ring for every finger

By all means listen to the Ferrier version but Johnnie doesn't require a trained voice. With a modicum of instruction you could sing it yourself. And once you sing a song there's this (possibly totally unjustified) sense that you "own" it.

Sir Hugh said...

gimmer - That is a word I have always avoided using. I am aware of its strict meaning, which from its root is unequivocal, but common usage has it often used in slapdash fashion and I don't want to join the ranks. One day, perhaps, I may find myself using it where the correct definition is explicit.


RR - I'm glad to see that at last you have founding something intellectually worthwhile on my blog, although it has only indirectly come from me. Gimmer visited yesterday evening, and amongst other topics we had good go at Philosophy of Science, and the use of "decimation" which he referred to in a comment above. I am currently reading Philosophy of Science in the Oxford Press Very Short Introduction series. I have only just discovered this series which covers a huge number of subjects in a supposedly brief, but academically respected fashion. If there is a subject you would like to get a feel for without spending twelve months in academic research this is a good source.

Roderick Robinson said...

You use "intellectually" rather a lot. I can't see how it fits my comment. There is an argument for saying music is anti-intellect.

Sir Hugh said...

RR - it's just my inferiority complex.