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


Monday, 26 October 2009

42 The 49 of 91

Previously I have visited and photographed the triangulation points on sheets 97 and 98 of the Ordnance Survey 1:50000 maps. I am now planning the same for sheet 91, and have identified the forty-nine trigs on this map. This tedious job is made easier using Memory Map software enabling magnification, but careful scrutiny of each kilometre square on the map is still required.

Sheet 91 includes the northern edge of The Howgills in the south, and up to Cross Fell in the northern Pennines in the north.

There are many remote hills here, often without footpaths, so it could make for some quite demanding walks, especially if more than one trig is bagged on particular outings. In contrast some of the trigs are within a few meters of a road.

This concept provides a framework for comprehensively covering an area and often leads to interesting places which would not otherwise have been found. One area of uncertainty on this map involves two trigs which are on the Warcop military training area with restricted access. Research will be needed to prevent this exercise going off with a bang!

After comments from a certain source here is a more typical trig.

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

41 The Calf (Howgills)

On Saturday, with Jill, and dog Jake, we ascended The Calf in The Howgills.

This was my second ascent, the first was on 26th March 2004 whilst visiting and photographing all forty seven trig points on sheet 98 of the OS 1:50000 map (not all on the same day). The view west from The Calf is exceptional looking over the coastal plain to Morecambe Bay and then The Lake District. Arnside Knott is prominent over eighteen miles away and I reckon with a telescope you could pick out my house nestling under its eastern flanks. I vowed that if I visited The Calf again it would be on a bright day to get the best of this view, and the forecast seemed in favour, but cloud and a dull haze persisted, and although views were reasonable they were not sharp enough to pick out detail.

On the previous visit I commented on the number of people about and it was the same again, even more so with rambling parties of “greys” and mountain bikers. Although I admit I am old and grey and also prone to rambling, I can’t admit to being a “grey” or a rambler.

I prefer to climb new hills, and this should now be the aim. Having visited all the trigs on sheets 98 and 97 delineating the area within modest driving distance of home, I have covered all the main tops and it is getting difficult to find something new within reasonable distance.

An area a bit further afield that looks wild, and I would guess not much visited, and worth exploration is The Tweedsmuir Hills south-east of Glasgow. Now that The Munros are out of the way a few days there with the caravan in early spring sounds like a good idea.

Sunday, 18 October 2009

40 My life and cameras (contd from Post 39)

Following the waterfall adventure I went to Fort William and was only able to replace the superior Cannon A590 IS with a Cannon Powershot A580. The replacement had no image stabiliser, which has niggled me ever since.

Last Sunday I was taking pictures locally when the camera demanded new batteries. Cannon Powershots use AA batteries which means that if spare batteries are carried recharging problems are overcome and I have found I can take over 500 photos at highest quality on one set, albeit using the more expensive lithium batteries.

I replaced the batteries, but not with lithium and the camera still demanded new batteries. I tried two other sets without success. I assumed the camera was faulty then discovered the guarantee was out by about a week. I searched the internet and identified the Cannon Powershot A 1100 IS which is an update of the previous two models having 12 instead of 8 mega pixels and including the image stabiliser together with a redesigned slim line body, and other additional features. I decided to buy.

On Monday I rang the original supplier in Fort William and was told the camera really needs lithium or high performance alkaline AA batteries. I tried with lithium and found it worked perfectly. I am sure that had I persisted I would have found this out before buying another camera, but I think the subconscious was at work knowing I had never been satisfied with accepting the inferior specification of the A 580.

It is interesting to note that the A580 cost £130 a year ago and the new, superior A 1100 cost £127.

I have advertised the A 580 for £50.

Friday, 16 October 2009

39 My life and cameras (to be contd.)

In Glen Etive, last year, I was crossing a mountain stream raging steeply down a mountain side. It was in spate. I slipped and shot off at speed down a polished rock slab water slide for about fifty feet. I was heading for a thirty foot vertical thunderous waterfall I had seen on my way up. The waterfall terminated in a heaving pulsating pool of wild yellow foam with steep rock walls all the way round and the outlet leading to rapids and further minor waterfalls.

The only thought I can remember was saying to myself “well, I suppose this is it”. The force of water had created a deep rock bowl just before the waterfall and I found myself looking over the rim of this bowl and straight down the waterfall. This would have made a good photo from an angle not many people could have achieved, but unfortunately my camera had not taken kindly to this adventure.

The photo was taken as I set off for this Munro by a fellow Munroist who then went off into the hills. It seems somewhat prescient that
I elected to make this pose next to the mountain rescue vehicle. It was the last photo taken by the inundated camera; furtunately the memory card survived.

I have posted this story because there is a sequel to the bit about the camera so watch this space.

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

38 “All is fair to the eye on Whitbarrow.” A Wainwright – circa 1973

My recent revisiting of Whitbarrow intended to capture photographically the essence of this limestone plateau. I was reasonably satisfied with the results, but then decided to see what Wainwright had to say in his final volume of Lake District guides “The Outlying Fells of Lakeland”.

AW defines his aims on the front cover of Outlying Fells.

This was apparently written when AW was feeling his advancing years which he seemed to accept stoically and with laconic humour. Outlying Fells is my favourite of his Lake District series containing more of his characteristic witticisms than the others, and it can be treated as a read rather than a guide.

As for my own attempts to encapsulate the merits of Whitbarrow, AW’s drawings and writings demonstrate that his tools more than compete with photography, although he did later successfully collaborate with Derry Brabbs the photographer and in particular with the excellent Wainwright in Scotland.

Sunday, 11 October 2009

37 More on Whitbarrow - the missing pics

Following comments from BB and my own sense of mea culpa a return visit was made today to Beck Head (erroneously referred to as Beckside in my last post).

Here are photos of the café.

My visit was with Jill, my daughter. We had a mug of Earl Gray apiece and I had a cream and jam scone. Whilst posting payment at cottage number two next door we met the proprietor. He came from The South over twenty years ago and has lived at this cottage for around ten years - he is head chef at a local school and  before moving to the cottage kept The Wheatsheaf at Brigsteer.

This is a welcome and thoughtful facility. One comment in the visting-book from a runner stated his intention of doing his Whitbarrow run the other way round so he could take best advantage of the café.

Thursday, 8 October 2009

36 Whitbarrow walk - new discoveries

Yesterday I had a decent walk for the first time in two months.

The venue was Whitbarrow, a craggy limestone plateau fifteen minutes drive from home. This has been a favourite destination for over twenty years; I often drove from Preston to run this six-mile circuit. Yesterday a shorter five-mile route took a leisurely two and three quarter hours.

My companions were my modest digital camera, and Jill’s dog Jake.

I had some idea of taking pictures to capture the nature of this special environment because previously as a runner I enjoyed the exhilaration of moving quickly through the terrain, although I emphasise this does not preclude appreciation of the surroundings. Today I dawdled looking for photographic opportunities. Consequently I found a delightful new path leading from the summit back down through the woods. At the cluster of cottages called Beckside a “café” had appeared in an old barn where tea making equipment was laid out and a couple of fridges housed various drinks and cream cakes. A notice invites self service (and self washing up) and payment to be posted at a nearby cottage. A visiting-book revealed more glowing comments than I would have thought possible in consideration of the few people usually met on this round.

Leaving Beckside I discovered another attractive new path leading back nearly to my starting point cutting out a section of tarmac lane which although virtually traffic free is a nuisance with a dog.

This quality walk is now improved with the discovery of two new footpaths and a café. I can’t remember getting so much pleasure from a modest local walk for a long time.

I have given up trying to position these photos as a bad job.

The pic of the castle like building in the trees is the special school where Jill will be teaching from next January.

Sunday, 4 October 2009

35 The Languedoc Plan: update from my post: 18th September

Leeds/Bradford fly to Carcassonne. A bus accesses the GR7 heading northeast into The Languedoc. After 307km the GR7 reaches Esperou. Return is possible by the GR71 running north of and parallel to the GR7. My brother is renting a gîte at St Jean de la Blaquière 230km from my start, so a visit could be combined. I anticipate five or six weeks without the pressure of attaining a specific target.

I have downloaded the French IGN map at 1:25000 from Memory Map, and challenge anybody to do this solely from instructions on the website. The first two procedures are mentioned nowhere: download the free V5 software (European version), and download the free European Road Atlas. I needed telephone assistance. From hereon it is not difficult,

For my LEJOG walk I printed A4 sheets from Memory Map OS 1:50000, covering approximately 11km by 6km each advantageously giving slight enlargement of the original (the software automatically enlarges to fill A4 if your delineated area is less).

The French maps at 1:25000 would need too many sheets, but Memory Map just announced the launch of Adventurer 2800, which scrolls the map with your moving position on screen, and my newly purchased IGN maps are downloadable. Costing £250 Adventurer 2800 compares favourably with similar devices. It would save plenty on printer ink and time.

Vodaphone have announced imminent availability of the iPhone. This would enable daily blogging.

There is a lot of food for thought here.

My leg relapsed recently and I’m back on antibiotics, but not inhibited. I am walking Jake the dog daily. Both knees are, and always will be, suspect so there are still question marks.