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


Wednesday 29 November 2023

Porsche and Lotus

 Wednesday 29th November 2023

Just a quick update to confirm I am still around.

Many factors have conspired against walking so nothing to report on that front.

I finished off the Porsche model a while ago and now just finished a Lotus 7.

You can click the photos to enlarge.

Sunday 12 November 2023

Barbon - November covered

 Saturday 11th November 2023 circuit from Barbon

At tis time of year you have to snatch a weather window otherwise walks would be even more limited. The forecast for Saturday 11th November was better than Remembrance Sunday.  I persuaded myself that it would not be disrespectful to walk on Saturday even though that was actually the 11th. As I write this I hope it shows that I do care and respect the importance of honouring so many. When I look back at the media, and from fiction and non-fiction I read, I become more overawed each time by the shear scale of WW2 and the country's ability to get so much done so quickly. Just one example: from information I have just gleaned from the Internet, one hundred airfields were built between 1935 and 1940 and I think a another hundred or so after that. Ok, the Government had free reign under wartime legislation, but it is still a  contrast with how much bungling and delay is involved  in getting anything done these days. Alice Roberts fronted up a programme on BBC TV last night thst highlighted much more of the incredible amount of infrastructure and preparation for invasion that was carried out - astounding.

As I browsed the map to find some unwalked paths within reasonable radius I came across Treasonfield Farm. Now I had another November connection and a must-go-to destination.

I shopped at Booths Supermarket in Kirkby Lonsdale for a sandwich. National news covered the story of this northern version of Waitrose yesterday telling us that they were dispensing with automatic checkouts and going back to manned tills resulting from their analysis of their northern customers who they say prefer to have the benefit of a chat with a friendly till operator. Well there was only one till manned with three people in front of me and I had to listen to snatches of banal weather and holiday conversation while I suffered my probably overdeveloped aversion to queuing - the grumpy old man strikes again!

My November theme was continued by my arrival at Barbon where I parked  next door to their war memorial. It is a splendid stone structure and a fine tribute to the less than half a dozen from each of the World Wars who had not returned to this tiny and peaceful village.

There had been a heavy frost but the sky was all blue with a nip in the air. After half a mile on the familiar road section  I stopped to dig out gloves from my rucksack that have hibernated there since last winter. I found  they were not the ones allowing screen manipulation. My faithful Swiss Army Knife was deployed to cut a tiny hole in the forefinger for my iPhone operating digit to perform, so there was then no interruption removing gloves each time I wanted to consult Memory Map. Only one car passed me before I arrived to cross the A683 to pick up the tarmac track to the intriguingly named Treasonfield Farm. That proved to be converted to holiday apartments as so many of our farm buildings are. I have since searched long and hard on the Internet but can find no reference to the derivation of that name - there must be a story to tell? I welcome any reader's attempt to find out more.

Going back a year or so there was some speculative discussion here and on other blogs about the sudden appearance of yellow paint on footpath gate latches but since then all has gone quiet on that subject, but Bowland Climber's last post had a sub-theme of yellow CLICK HERE and as I exited the curtilage of Treasonfield onto a grassy bridleway I was brought up sharp by the yellow latch on the gate and I found myself wondering at the significance of yellow coming to the forefront again. I would add tat I am also making a model of a Lotus 7 and the front end of the bonnet is painted yellow, a colour that is known to be difficult to achieve good cover, the secret being to apply an undercoat of white first.
The bridleway skirted round a golf course. Eventually on the ladies tee for the 17th hole there was a bench and I munched my "Ham Hock, vintage Cheddar Cheese, traditional mayo, and other lavishly described ingredients upmarket Booths sandwich along with coffee from my flask. I was well placed to see golfers approaching upstream to their men's tee and I sat in peril as two parties teed off in my direction, fortunately with enough skill to avoid slicing one in my direction.

I followed Barbon Beck to the A683 crossing over by the road bridge to follow another pleasant and quiet road back into Barbon. All in all a pleasant little four mile trip.

Barbon war memorial

This is some exotic breed of sheep I had seen walking this road with Pete but I can't remember the name. I m using the Olympus TG 6 with only a short zoom - this is as close as I could get.
Calf Top in the background.

Frost still lingers before the sun arrives

Magnificent holly tree in full pomp. At that size it must be ancient

Calf Top.
 Over and down the other side is the road from Barbon up, and then down to Dentdale

The much anticipated Treasonfield Farm
I was thinking I may have to get my feet wet but...

...there was a bridge. I'm not sure if it qualifies as a clapper bridge being made from three separate slabs supported underneath by stretchers rather b than being a single stone slab span.

'nuff said.

Beckfoot Farm

Old cottages well restored on the way back into Barbon

Monday 6 November 2023

Staveley, north east

 Sunday 5th November 2023

1.Sunday. Fifth November.

2.The only recent, or forecast good weather.

3.. Staveley

If your aim is to get away for some peaceful contemplation that is not the best recipe. 

Staveley is an attractive village on the edge of, or arguably in The Lake District.  However, over fifteen years ago (I can't remember exactly, I'm sure BC who comments here could be more precise) Wilf's Café was established by Wilf a local climber of some repute. Initially this was a venue for climbers and walkers on their ways to, or returning from adventures in Lakeland. I called often when I was climbing with my late friend Tony and it was more of a social meeting place particularly for rock climbers where you were almost certain to meet  others you knew. The café was situated on a large site occupied by buildings from a traditional Lake District bobbin mill. Bit by bit the large space was occupied by other bijou businesses with craft and Lake District emphasis and then a huge industrial unit was built for Wheelbase Cycles creating what is probably a national "go-to" venue for the whole range of cycling interests. Other industrial units were also established and now Staveley has become a hub for a wide variety of interests having expanded well beyond its erstwhile iconic Lake District village,

No matter, I had plotted this little route on the map and despite my local knowledge telling me it would be akin to a  Blackpool bank holiday off I set.

I was able to park on the aforementioned site thinking I was lucky to do so, but as I  covered the half a mile up Back Lane to Barley Bridge I noticed several parking opportunities that would have eliminated most of that less interesting part of my route. People were about all over in groups and solitary, on foot and bike and that continued throughout the walk, although less populated after I gained the footpaths.

The River Kent was thundering down over the array of waterfalls just above the bridge. The cul-des-sac road continues to  the head of Kentmere and is the gateway to much splendid walking including the classic Kentmere Horseshoe, but I took a right then left following a couple with the woman straggling twenty yards or so behind her partner in familiar fashion. They soon outstripped me after the footpath onto the open pasture steep hill was gained.

That climb was as much as I would want to handle at the moment and was only achieved by stops to catch breath every fifty steps or so, At one stile two runners came flying down the hill and I mentioned something about the awkward gate that opened against you as you stood elevated on rocks while you clung to the gate and squeezed round its end as you had no room to move backwards for the gate opening. The first runner addressed me in the kind of way care assistants address the elderly as if they are now incapable of absorbing words with more than two syllables. She was warning me, again as though I was too geriatric to be out, about the next stile up the hill. Ok, perhaps I am showing my age, but this kind of thing is happening all too often, snd maybe I am in denial about how I appear, but I feel like replying to the effect that I have rock climbed up to HVS standard, completed sll the Munros and covered more long distance walking than they could dream of and I have read Proust with sentences that go on for more than a page.

At the top of this vicious little hill, which had, despite its steepness, given rewards of views back down to Staveley and across to the summit of Hugill Fell. With Bowland climber we had climbed that hill during our Wainwright Outlying Fells campaign arriving from the western slopes and giving one of my best ever surprise views as we arrived at the summit.

A winding track through the woods was enlivened by sunlight selecting random patches of autumn coloured leaves high up with leaves now shedding fast and obscuring the footpath with its  overall carpet of golden browns. A steep descent meeting various walkers ascending took me down to a road annulling all that height I had gained up the little steep hill, part of the challenge of all walks that have ups and downs.

A half mile section of road  followed but on narrow lanes with no traffic. I was now looking to stop for my sandwich and coffee but as always there is just nowhere to sit. I was aware of a couple approaching from behind catching me up, but fortunately before they did so I found a bench at a crossroads which I am pretty sure they would have claimed if they'd got there before me  

As I munched a huge DPD van driven by a contrastingly diminutive female came down the road behind me and in order to make the left turn had to reverse back with opposite lock before she could get round. They must deliver to some surprisingly remote locations. 

An old bridleway descended and again I was bing followed by another couple who passed me as I emerged onto an old packhorse bridge over a lively beck. I continued on an ancient grassy bridleway to the charmingly named  Elfhowe farm. From there quiet roads took me back to Staveley and my car.

Barley Bridge

Lane leading to the steep pasture hill

North from halfway up the steep hill

A spring made de-luxe for the sheep. Farmers do care.

The two runners disappearing back down the hill from the awkward gate

The stile I was warned about as though I was mentally and physically challenged

Into the woods

I couldn't figure out what this isolated manmade construction was. Looks  bit like a trig point but not so.

The public footpath stile was fifty yards to the left of the position marked on the OS map. I actually stood at the map's location with GPS exactly on the incorrect position. The stile further up to the left seemed old and certainly not put there recently.

The packhorse bridge, followed by the old bridleway

Saturday 28 October 2023

Witherslack, quick round

 Friday 27th October 2023 - Witherslack

"The spirit was aloft, I was pulling on my boots"

W.H. Murray, Mountaineering in Scotland

Well old Bill Murray might have enjoyed putting on his boots.

I don't!

It is the worst part of any walk!

The quote heads up my blogging friend's blog, Afoot in the Hills, and I seem to recall asking him if he got the same enjoyment as Mr. Murray and he said he did. I don't infer any criticism, each to his own. I'm pretty sure there are things I enjoy that Afoot and Bill would not.

A belated decision for a walk at about 12:45 finds me bending over, huffing snd puffing and then moving to another location to get boot and foot onto a higher position. Then I struggle because my trousers obscure sight of the laces and I am working blind trying to notch the laces into those awkward, but so effective hooky things. At last it is done, I could hardly say my "spirit was aloft."

It's only twenty minutes on the A590 to Witherslack but I find an endless line of cones with traffic diverting me in unfamiliar fashion and I miss the turn off and have to drive a kilometre further to the roundabout and another kilometre back.

At last I park in a friendly little lay-by just past the church at Witherslack, disembark, don rucksack and grab poles and lock the car. Now I sense spirits lifting. 

If I walk from home I don't carry my walking poles. I think that is because I see a local walk as something inconsequential, and also I am mildly concerned that fellow villagers  may perceive me as even more doddery and ancient than I really am. That of course is illogical - on  backpacking trips I am walking through somebody else's "inconsequential" locality in just the same way as I do at home. Feeling self conscious, if I am in a populated residential area I carry the sticks rather than use them.

Today however I have plotted a route on previously unexplored paths and have an overestimated vision of more demanding territory and challenging terrain. In my heart, having studied the map and knowing the locale in general I know that is unlikely, but it is good to dream now and then and the poles win the day.

Steep climbing through birch, hazel and mixed broadleaf woodland with the pleasing musky hint of autumn makes for a start which has me now thankful for the poles, but with my breathlessness I have to climb with tiny steps maintaining progress but in ultra low gear like the spring on a clock unwinding oh so slowly.

Eventually I top out onto more open heathland and then the land drops steeply with a sort of exaggerated 3D view through a skeleton of bare tress to the distant Kent estuary and Arnside Knott. I drop down and follow a muddy track to Nether Hall farm, yes, we are now definitely back in the muddy season. I come across the farmer's dsughter and her three year old girl and she directs me on the footpath through the farm in cheery fashion and I remark on the tidiness of this farm and she says she will pass that on to her dad.

My route brings me out onto the still cone-stricken A590 at the filling station. From my study of the map it is not possible to tell if a short  hundred yard stretch of the A 590 to gain a minor track leading off can be negotiated, but all is well.

A much overgrown path continues and I take meticulous care mot to have any brambles wrapping round my ankles - I am currently on yet another session with my GP's nurse having a previous wound dressed - they seem to be so slow to heal on that part of my legs.

Back at the car I look again at the fuel gauge which I has been approaching zero for a while and I have a debate with myself whether to go and fill up at Milnthorpe on the way back. That is another irksome task akin to putting on the boots, however it has to be done, telling muself that I will have the reward of uplifted spirit when I remove my boots back home.

Thursday 26 October 2023

Footpath links

I have just been reading about the Labour Party’s discussion on the possibility of RIGHT TO ROAM in England. If you ferret around on the Internet there is much to read and I must admit to not having studied that in great depth. I emphasise that I am not taking any political stance whatsoever at this point. I think the whole question including Right to Roam, national trails and public footpaths and rights of way needs looking at as a whole 

As most of my readers know I have done many long distance walks in England, some on national trails and others of my own devising linking  together existing public rights of way. One example of many was walking  from Blackpool across to the East Coast on a straight line. There are occasions when it is not possible to continue a section on pubic rights of way and one is forced to walk on hazardous roads. See the map below:

As well as road by-pass links there are many examples where construction of crossings for rivers, railway lines and motorways could make the devising of personsl routes much more practical.

It would be  beneficial  if more permissive paths could be negotiated with landowners to link such examples with footpaths and/or cycleways. Ideally we would need an organised quango with people experienced in negotiating and with outdoor interests supplied with relevant examples for negotiation fed to them by walkers and their various organisations such as the Ramblers Club and the Long Distance Walkers Association. 

My own opinion is that it would be better spending that way than trying to create new designated national trails or going for the wholesale Right to Roam.

Creation of more designated national trails is not (in my opinion) such a good thing;Take the example of the Scottish North 500. If you read the last couple of posts on Ruth's ongoing walk round our coast that would seem to have developed into some kind of rat-run, even more so because as well as cyclists it includes car drivers and motor cyclists, and  some  of them now treat it as a record speed challenge. 

Better to leave walkers and cyclists to devise their own long distance walks to suit their individual preferences thereby taking pressure off existing designated routes. Having said that I do like the idea of a continuous right of way being established round the whole of our coastline  - I know much progress has been made on that one. I believe the final section of a Land's End John o' Groats walk that would include plodding up the A9 in peril has now been blessed with a coastal alternative, an excellent example of what I am advocating here.