For newcomers

At the bottom of each post there is the word "comments". If you click on it you will see comments made by followers, and if you follow the instructions you may also comment and I always welcome that. I have found many people overlook this part of the blog which is often more interesting than the original post!

My blog nick-name is SIR HUGH. I'm not from the aristocracy - my middle name is Hugh which relates to the list of 282 hills in Scotland compiled by Sir Hugh Munro in 1891. I climbed my last one (Sgurr Mor) on 28th June 2009

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Sunday 14 July 2024

Whitbarrow north

 Saturday 13th July 2024

Much has happened over the last ten days or so.

After waiting over three years my son W at last had his bariatric operation on Tuesday, 9th July. That involved some drama before, during, and after the operation. Not least that the private hospital used by NHS is in Cheadle, and on the day of the op. we had to be there for 7:00am. That is around a two hour drive taking into account the nightmare traffic congestion around Preston and even more so around Manchester. I have done that journey twice now.

After the op. W. was moved to Manchester Infirmary for some after op needs and on Friday I had another dreadful trip with bad traffic holdups culminating in the section through Manchester centre with  horror complex traffic light junctions, multi lane switching and aggressive drivers, whilst trying to heed the sat-nav's instructions. Even when I arrived at the vast Manchester hospital it took me about fifteen minutes to track W. down. To cap all this, as I was setting off from home I had a call from the ombudsman regarding my British Gas complaint and pulled over to hear not so good news. Having set off at about midday to include a shop at Aldi,  and then fighting the traffic on the way home, it was 7:00pm when I eventually landed. 

I am still being monitored by the Respiratory department at Lancaster for my breathlessness and have two appointments pending. 

So, Saturday (yesterday) time for a walk.

I have walked all over Whitbarrow, a large limestone plateau only twenty minutes drive from home. There is a path on the map skirting the northern rump that I haven't walked before. The whole circuit was less than three miles. From the start a rocky sunken path eventually lead out onto the limestone parkland-like flanks of Whitbarrow. A friendly springer came to greet me followed by its owner. I had my own springer, and then my daughter's and have great affection for them, reminding me of watching the RNLI Saving Lives t Sea the other night:

Springer taken 4 miles down coast, rescued. Got in boat. Just wanted to jump out and chase some more seagulls.

The green cropped grass of this limestone country with the white grey rock protruding everywhere makes an environment that always gives me cheer. The faint path climbed all the way for a kilometre. I was pleasantly surprised to go all the way at a steady plod with only the occasional brief rest - at last a noticeable slight improvement, I hope it was not just a one-off.  Although the British Gas thing is not satisfactory I can see this will be finalised within the next few days. That combined with Son at last having  had his op, after the years of waiting has lifted some of the pressure I have been under for far too long. Perhaps that partial release has reflected itself in my walking ability?

As I type this in the peace and tranquility at home I feel more relaxed than for many a month.

The track lead over the northern shoulder of Whitbarrow and then descended steeply through thick coppice woods clutching from one tree trunk to another to prevent a fall. Not what I had planned for, and a good illustration of not always getting the full picture from the OS map. At the bottom, the skirting path proved to be bounded by a wall on the left, and on the right, the encroaching coppice wood and more than head high bracken,. That persisted for another half kilometre of jungle bashing until  a proper track lead back to the car.

Just a quick snap of my Hydrangea before I set off


A friendly spaniel as I started to ascend the Whitbarrow parkland

Looking back down the long ascent that I managed more or less without stops


Whitbarrow cure-all  scenery,

Distant Lakeland hills. Better to be here than there in my opinion

The skirting path.Tthere was a good half kilometre of this. Not what I'd planned for. I always say that I can make a walk to the bottom of my garden into an epic



Monday 24 June 2024

Eden way 3 - upstream

 Sunday 23rd June 2024 - Carlisle to Wetheral

Straight out of the back door of the Sands Centre, after using the facilities, I was back on the Eden Way having taxied* there after leaving my car at Wetheral.

In the excitement of seeng a dramatic bird sculpture on high, and an unexpected early start to photo snapping, I failed to investigate further, nor did Internet search back home succeed - good job I was not writing a guide. But then Stuart Greig's guide talks about paths through fields and the like for the first mile as far as Memorial Bridge. In fact it is now a tarmac path all the way. The guide was published in 2018 and I would have thought the well established tarmac must have been laid before that, so another mystery.  Stuart refers to the bridge "for pedestrians only" as "hugely over engineered." As I approached the bridge I was overtaken by a walking group, they thankfully crossed the bridge...

...I didn't. I descended to follow the river with a golf course to my right. On the course there had been an enthusiastic planting of hundreds of trees strategically sited only perhaps twenty yards apart making the chances about fifty fifty of a hit, and only to be avoided by mere chance. Every hundred yards or so a series of oldish wrought iron benches were placed, some having been vandalised with twisted components that must have taken some effort, and others with picnic remains scattered. This was all a bit sad because generally this was a more upmarket location to be so unexpectedly trashed, but there were several access points to the river only a few yards off the path which would attract more than the usual number.

I emerged to a perilous crossing of a complex crossroads on the A69 and then past the prestigious new Jaguar/Land Rover showroom and through an industrial estate where I lunched sitting on a low wall, and then ascended to cross over the M6. A hill prominent in the far distance caught my eye and I think it must be Cooms Fell, 490m, 22 miles to the north. and situated in a large area of wild country I know little about except on passing through Kielder on my LEJOG a few miles to the east. 

More road walking took me into Scotby. Their pretty red sandstone church sits well on a little hill as you enter the town amd I refrained from a photo there thinking it would look better from a few yards further on. At the appropriate spot the cburch was now largely hidden by trees. There was a party coming down the steps from what I found out had been a christening. I was quzized by one of them about my walking credentials and she became excited and hailed her sister to come and tell me about her walking of the Coast to Coast and we had a jolly little exchange.

Scotby is an attractive village with a wide main thoroughfare with grassed areas and a general feeling of well-to-do. Even the village shop and PO looked more prosperous than the average village store. 

After a couple of crossings of the railway, one over and one under, and a mix of farm track and then roadwork I was back to the main road leading a few hundred yards to my car. I passed a newly built house faced out with attractive grey Lakeland slate and it was amusingly called Grey Gables.

Would you believe:

On 1 January 2021 episode number 19,343 of The Archers on BBC Radio 4 will mark 70 years of the world’s longest running serial drama.

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The bird without a story




A naff bit of presumably, sculpture. A few old flagstones dumped on some decrepit pallets -who'se kidding eho?

The new mile of tarmac path, pre or post 2018?

Memorial Bridge. "Hugely over engineered" Stuart Greig

In Arnside we have The Amblers, The Ramblers, and The Scramblers. When I came here twenty odd years ago I enquired but was told I couldn't take my Springer along so I never bothered

There they go. I took a right



Litter in an attractive area that deserves better

I think they had a sadist golf course designer




Imposing

The hill I mentioned is at the far end of the motorway - see zoom below

Possibly Cooms Fell 490m - 21miles north

Scotby posh main street. More cars parked than usual I think because of the well attended christening at the church

The well appointed village shop and PO, unfortunately closed on Sunday




Grey Gables

All blue = full Eden Way download from LDWA. Alternating colours = my daily stints


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*Radio Taxis, Carlisle.
Good service on all three trips. Recommended
I will in future be out of their area




Sunday 16 June 2024

History Lesson?

Sunday 16th June 2024

A few days after the recent eightieth remembrance of D Day. 

I hesitate to use the word "celebration."

In the days immediately before this event I noticed several headlines in the on-line news platforms I read such as "What was D-Day?" What a sad requirement that anybody, even eighty years on, should need to have this explained. Do we teach history at school? This particular, relatively recent history, and I mean WW1 and WW2, should be a significant mandatory inclusion on the curriculum. It should not be glorified, rather emphasis being made on the horror  of the fighting and then the knock on effect on families and the aftermath of deprivation for the nation. The world in general never seems to learn, but as there has been more or less peace in Europe for eighty years perhaps something has rubbed off, but unless new generations understand what happened and its utter futility we have no chance. I am not writing this from a pacifist standpoint. I believe it was necessary that we should defend our country and eliminate the existence of evil regimes.

It may be that future antagonisms will be fought in a more technological manner. We are already seeing the use of Internet and AI  interfering with elections and influencing public opinion, as well as computer system hacks experienced by  organisations vital to the governance of countries. There is no doubt this could be escalated to the point of crippling a target nation.

All this brought to mind an anecdote from  my Viking Way backpacking trip. and here is an extract from my post at the time.

June 25, 2014.   (From Woodhall Spa)
I have booked in at another B and B and am eating in The Lancaster, a so called brasserie. The name and interior decor confirm a connection with The Dam Busters, photos etc. When I asked the bar staff exactly what that connection was they had no idea, not even heard of a The Dam Busters, went off to consult management and came back to say nobody knew! So much for "we will never forget them". When I ordered I asked if the chicken dish was on the bone, they said no. Part of it was. The food was good including a surprise amuse bouche in consideration of time taken to cook the main. I reckon the chef here is the only one who is competent. Shame.

The Dam Busters 617 Squadron were based at the Woodhall Spa airfield although for the famous raid they took off from an airfield in Lincolnshire. There is an impressive memorial to them in the main street of Woodhall Spa that is hugely prominent and emotionally descriptive and completely unmissable. It is inconceivable that anybody living there would not be aware of its raison d'être, and to a lesser extent, the meaning behind the naming of the eating establishment named in my post.

If your interest has been sparked THIS link will take you to a good short description and interesting explanation of the memorial, and splendid photos all supporting my comments.

Another relevant post, and in particular the comments by my brother (RR) may be of further interest.

https://conradwalks.blogspot.com/2020/05/ve-day.html

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I hsve now completed my submission to the Ombudsman regarding my dispute with British Gas. They informed me it may take about eight weeks for them to arrive at a resolution, but whatever that is it must be accepted by me and BG - we will see. In the meantime I am trying to crawl back from a year's frustration and mental stress, although on-going medical appointments for myself and my son intervene. They often  clash with weather windows preventing me from  the modest six nile riverside walks I can still do, My son  has mow got the date for his bariatric operation on the 9th July after a wait of more than three years.

Thursday 6 June 2024

BRITISH GAS - AVOID

 Thursday 6th June 2024

Amongst my health problems which have been mentioned here, and my son waiting for a bariatric operation for more than three years I have had an ongoing problem with British Gas for more than a year.

I thought it seemed a good idea to make this matter as public as possible as I have now got to a point of impasse and I will be referring this to the Ombudsman on Sunday when my daughter will provide support on the basis that two heads are better than one and to ensure we submit to the best advantage. My submission will include copies of many emails and notes of telephone conversations.

I give below a copy of the summary for the ombudsman and I hope this post will help to publicise the appalling service being given by British Gas.

Dear Ombudsman,


I have had a year’s problem with British Gas covering numerous issues forming a composite complaint that is ongoing.


The  last time I paid BG, via their inconvenient quarterly billing policy was for £471.00 in December 2023. The problems became much more serious when I received the next bill in March 2024 for £2230.08. The electricity component bore no relation to my average usage, you will see why in the correspondence below.


Communication with BG has been painfully difficult: long response times, failure to address all points raised, unintelligible foreign accents with call centre persons with no authority (even to pass to someone more senior,) long periods on hold, calls dropping out with no return call and more.


 I have now reached an impasse after I received their latest letter.

Their position is intransigent.

They failed to cover all the points I raised

The letter was written in poor English making certain points unclear.

The tone was unpleasant and verging on threatening.


I am 84 years old. Last January I had a pulmonary embolism and am taking blood thinners permanently. Since January I have had a detached retina operation. My mental health has deteriorated to cause my daughter concern and she is now helping me with this problem. I have been stressed for a year about all this to the point of breaking down privately, and also on one occasion much to my embarrassment in front my closest husband and wife friends. I have repeatedly informed BG of the effect on my health. All tis has occupied vast amounts of my time which at my age is more valuable than for somebody younger. I feel that I am getting to a point where the effect on my health is going to become much more serious.


I could go on but I will wait to hear what you have to say and take it from there.


Conrad Robinson

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Saturday 1 June 2024

Eden Way upstream 2

Friday 31st May 2024 - Cargo to Carlisle

I found The Sands Car park on the Internet, but, as is my wont, I worried that it may be full when I arrived. Such trivialities seem to assume larger proportions as one ages. In times past I probably wouldn't have even booked the taxi until I got there. So I arrived about 08:15 having booked Radio Taxis again for 09:00.

From: This web site:

"The Sands Leisure Centre in now open following a £27 million redevelopment project in partnership with Carlisle City Council. The brand new centre boasts first-class leisure and swimming facilities, as well as an entertainment venue on a single site in the heart of Carlisle. As a charitable, social enterprise and working in partnership with Carlisle City Council..." 

So I was able to use their toilets and conquer a perplexing coffee machine before the taxi arrived spot on time.

The short nettlefest footpath from Cargo took me back down to the well trodden, grassy river path for a couple  of fields but then through two long fields of hard going, knee high grass.

You may recall me finding a pristine football in the middle of nowhere on my previous post, and now there was another smaller one in the middle of my path. It all reminded me of the TV series The Prisoner filmed at  Portmeirion... thinks "it may be worth watching again if I can track it down." You never know what a walk is going to throw up for you.

I was now on gentle riverside paths, easy going, warm sunshine and the place to myself, but all far  from my greater enjoyment of communing with the higher hills, however, one must be thankful and make the most of what's available.

I could see the villlage of Grinsdale across the river and their church with unusual architecture arousing my curiosity.  Back home I researched

It seems the church is closed for worship and visitors. It is dedicated to St. Kentigern who is patron saint of Glasgow. I found an interesting website which you can visit for more information but I gleaned the following snippet which amused me.

The attributes of Saint Kentigern, more popularly known by his pet name Mungo, are remembered in a nonsense rhyme taught to Glasgow school children about the city’s
Coat of Arms:

This is the bird that never flew
This is the tree that never grew
This is the bell that never rang
This is the fish that never swam


 The Bird commemorates the pet robin owned by St Serf, which was accidentally killed by monks who blamed it on Kentigern. Kentigern took the bird in his hands and prayed over it, restoring it to life again.

The Tree is the symbol of another incident in Kentigern’s childhood. Left in charge of the holy fire in St Serf’s monastery, he fell asleep and the fire went out. However, he broke off some frozen branches from a hazel tree and miraculously rekindled the fire.

The Bell may have been given to Kentigern by the Pope. The original bell, which was tolled at funerals, no longer exists and was replaced by the magistrates of Glasgow in 1641. The bell of 1641 is preserved in the People’s Palace.

The Fish was one caught by Kentigern in the Clyde. When it was slit open, a Ring belonging to the Queen of Cadzow was miraculously found inside it. The Queen was suspected of intrigue by her husband, as she had parted with his ring. She implored Kentigern for help, and he found and restored the ring to her in this way.

Saint Kentigern 

I passed under he Waverley Viaduct which carried the now disused railway from Edinburgh to Carlisle. There was a campaign to open it as a footpath some years ago but I can't find any recent information. I guess it has suffered from the many financial cuts of recent years unless anybody can tell me differently. My photo with the large pylons behind is a stark reminder of man's impact on our countryside.

Jut before the public road running into Carlisle I was back to nature again watching about thirty rooks having a bathing party on the edge of the river, and then many of them roosting high up above in trees, black intrusions against the green, and making plenty of noise. 

A short stretch of road walking in the suburbs of Carlisle followed before branching off on a tarmac suburban footpath through a municipal park and then skirting the impressive Carlisle Cricket Club ground. At the far end a massive archaeological dig is underway and I chatted to one of the volunteers. It seems that at first they had found a modest Roman bath house, but it became ever larger. Now they believe it to be a large kind of country house where the great and the good would have assembled as the needs of the close by Hadrian's Wall were attended to. It sounded to me like shades of Cliveden and the Profumo Affair.

A little descent ducked under the A7 river bridge bringing me back to its other side, and now in the tumultuous traffic and city hubbub a short walk back over the bridge had me back to Sands Centre and my car. That was a better walk than the first stage from the mouth of the Solway.
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Try as I have I can't standardise the font irregularities. Blogger having one of its days.


Arriving back at the river from Cargo


Tough going through long grass for a couple of fields before getting back to comfortable riverside walking

Is somebody walking the Eden Way and dropping mysterious brightly coloured balls every so often?



St. Kentigern church across the river where Hadrian's wall path runs.



Bridge over A689



Waverley railway bridge, disused. Man's "mastery" of the environment


Rooks bathing party


Who are these peole?

Rooks a roosting

Unusual architecture. Notice the trees shape in sympathy with the roof lines.

The old and the new. Carlisle Castle and the main line railway

Rickerby Park

Carlisle cricket ground. The archaeology site is beyond the tree at right of photo

Supposed Roman house of pleasure?

The start of my next section beyond the A7 bridge

Don't bother to try and read if you don't want. It just amused me imagining the arguments and politics that went on about whose names would be included and whose not

 

Pink = previous section. Green for today. Blue for Eden Way