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


Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Photoshop Painting - Clachnaben - The Fife Coastal Path

Clachnaben (589m) is a modest, but interesting hill which I climbed on my visit to Banchory last October. The interest lies in the granite tor on its summit and my painting shows the bottom north-east slopes, with the curious elongated globular rocks.

This photo looks up to the face in the painting

Today I packed my rucksack for The Fife Coastal Path walk which I start next Tuesday. The weight, including food for one meal, is just under 20lbs (approx 9.25kg). I reckon I will never be far from shops and see no need to provide for more than one meal. My provisions consist of: eight packets of Cup-a-Soup (enough for the trip), one packet Smash (instant potato), one Mattesons Pork Sausage (vacuum packed), one small tin peach slices, about twenty tea bags, and a supply of instant coffee; I may add some powdered milk.

Thursday, 24 March 2011

Buttermere Horseshoe

Wednesday, 23rd March - a day of fluctuating fortunes. The plan was Buttermere Horseshoe (14 miles and 5800 ft. of ascent). A toughy for a 71 year old.
Green line = Buttermere Horseshoe (14 miles and 5800 ft of ascent)
Blue line = Ennerdale Horseshoe (18.75 miles and 7309 ft. of ascent) which I have done several times - the best walk in The Lakes but very demanding
Red Line = planned route of my Lowestoft to St Bee's Head walk last summer which terminated at Patterdale after falling at Nam Bield Pass
I left Buttermere at 7:30am, on a guaranteed, good BBC forecast.   Cloud rolled in until 11:00 am. The ascent to Bleaberry Tarn is steep, but the remaining stretch to Red Pike is very steep.
Buttermere Lake and Fleetwith Pike on my ascent to Red Pike
After High Stile I lost time route finding, then found I had forgotten about the rugged descent and height loss at Scarth Gap, but this is the challenge and I am not grumbling. At Scarth Gap I met a girl novice fellwalker needing help with map reading and her intended route back to Buttermere over Hay Stacks (where Wainwright’s ashes were scattered); she provided pleasant company for three kilometers to where her downward path departed.  I continued to Honister Slate Mines and tea. Here the proprietor was killed last week in his crashing helicopter.
A long pull up to Dale Head revealed the satisfying symmetry of Newlands Valley and its horseshoe ridge.
Newlands Valley and Skiddaw in the background
On Robinson’s summit a niggly thought occurred - “did I replace my wallet in my rucksack at Honister?” My search confirmed the worst. It was 3:45pm. I reckoned I may make Honister if I ran down to Butteremere and the car, providing their closing time would allow. After ten minutes of suicidal descent I decided to phone.  With Internet connection I found Honister’s number which I had to memorise whilst transferring to keypad. Peace of mind reigned when the wallet was reported found, and closing confirmed as 5:00pm. I still continued the run to Buttermere, and made it  to Honister for 4:45pm.
On the day’s last ascent to Robinson I had imagined tiredness, but when necessity demands, extra energy can mysteriously be tapped. 

Monday, 21 March 2011

Wild Boar Fell - Lady Anne's Way - proactivity

I make applicators for Tom’s business - they are like paint pads. I glue the foam pad to the plastic backing. A handle slides onto the plate. In March 2004 Tom went abroad leaving me to dispatch orders. I sent fifty applicators to one customer, but he had ordered handles.  My mistake was understandable because handles are reusable, and rarely ordered in quantity without applicators.
Components of an applicator
Two days later I set off for a big day including the ascent of Wild Boar Fell and related summits to pursue my campaign to visit all trig points on Ordnance Survey Sheet 98.
Ascending Wild Boar Fell I received voicemail from Tom. His customer had informed him of my error. Acknowledging my mistake, I decided to continue to the summit, then return home to rectify the problem, thereby spoiling my day’s plan.  As I trudged back from the summit on the long high ridge a pleasing incident occurred providing some compensation.  An RAF jet came from behind as low as I have ever seen. I must have been conspicuous on the ridge and wings were dipped, presumably for my benefit.
This Saturday, with a good forecast I returned to Wild Boar and made a satisfying four and a half hour traverse, then descending to cross The River Eden, and returning by a splendid high level path on the eastern side of the dale; here I met a couple backpacking Lady Anne’s Way (six days from Skipton to Penrith). Google reveals this as an apparently worthwhile route not previously known to me, which may later get my attention. For me that was valuable intelligence confirming my belief that the more one gets out and about, and the more one “makes things happen” the more rewarding is life. 
Wild Boar Fell - SD 758 988
Route - 9.8 miles and 661m (2169ft) of ascent
Strange cairns near summit of Wild Boar - origin obscure
Note: "proactive" is not a word I generally favour (too much associated with managerial coursespeak)  but I felt justified in its use herewith. 

Friday, 18 March 2011

Long Sleddale Kentmere round

On Wednesday I walked a ten mile round from Sadgill in Longsleddale over Gatesgarth Pass, down to the head of Haweswater, then climbing to Nan Bield Pass via Small Water ,  dropping into Kentmere and finishing over the Stile End bridleway back to Sadgill.

I have walked most of these paths before usually incorporating some of the surrounding tops forming the Kentmere Horseshoe, but in view of low cloud and dull weather I chose this summitless circuit.
Sitting at the stone bench shelter at Nan Bield having a munch and coffee I looked ruefully to the east up the steep rocky path dropping from Harter Fell where I could see the scene of my tumble last July when I cut a vein in my shin ending my intended east/west traverse from Lowestoft to St Bee’s Head on day twenty eight. That attempt had to be renamed “The Broads to The Lakes”.
At the isolated houses on the track to the Kentmere village road I was taken by surprise when I saw a gleaming vintage sports car outside a garage. The owner was inside and said he had spent fourteen years restoring the motor which he described, I am fairly certain, as a Wolseley 21/12 registered in 1933. He had bought the car in Kendal as a pile of scrap, and it is now nearly completed. Subsequent searching on Google failed to find any details of this model, which I was told had a straight-six, 2.7 litre engine with overhead camshaft.
The restorer was also a walker and told me that my route was referred to locally as “The Low Level Route” . Considering I had climbed three major Lake District passes involving 3,200ft of ascent (according to GPS) this struck me as a somewhat coy description.
Small Water leading up to Nan Bield Pass

Saturday, 12 March 2011

Photoshop painting - Sgor na h-Ulaidh

The idea for this Photoshop painting came from my friend John Proud who said he would like to have a picture just showing the colours  and texture on a Scottish hillside without it necessarily having any other objective. When I was browsing through my Munro photos I came across this pic which I thought may be along the lines that John was thinking of. The Munro in the background is Sgor na h-Ulaidh which lies hidden behind, and to the south of the hills seen on the left descending through Glencoe, as well as being hidden by cloud on the day. My ascent on 8th October 2008 accessed the hill from Glen Etive.
Others may disagree, but I found it interesting that a somewhat nondescript photo could provide a more interesting painting.

Wednesday, 9 March 2011


This is a test for emailing a post to my blog with a photo.

Sunday, 6 March 2011

Inov-8 Roclite 400 GTX boots - review

I bought these boots for my forthcoming walk round the borders of Wales, and the17 mile "round the bay" walk, subject of my last post, was a suitable test for them.

My normal boot size has ranged from 10 to 11 over the years depending on the fittings of individual brands. Amazingly the best size for me with the Roclites was 9.5, so this is worth bearing in mind if you are shopping for them, and it may cause problems for Internet purchase. The boots are comfortable and caused no chafing or nipping over the 17 miles and 5.5 hours of walking. The overall feeling was one of neatness and nimble footedness.
I inserted Sorbothane insoles, and because of the lightness of the boots, without this addition I think they may be a bit hard on the soles of the feet - I was feeling surface irregularities through the soles to some extent by the end of the walk.
These boots will be ideal for path walking, but I would not use them for Munro bashing on steep pathless hillsides where a strong edging facility and firmer support are important.

Addendum - 23rd September 2011 - I walked round the Welsh boundary in the summer (over 1000 miles and 57 days). The Roclites, which were virtually new at the start had worn down to soft sponge rubber on the heels after 27 days so they are not really suitable for long distance work, but they were comfortable and light.                                                                                                                    
I have had to change the start date of my Fife Coastal Walk to 5th April

Friday, 4 March 2011

Round the bay-Arnside to Grange over Sands

Arnside Viaduct with Arnside Knott on the left
As a walking enthusiast, living in Arnside, circumnavigating the bay is an obvious route. Walks are similar to rock climbs: one looks for an elegant line incorporating interesting features, and above all, with a walk, avoiding return by the outward route. After living here for nearly eleven years I finally accomplished this outing yesterday. The statistics recorded on my Memory Map Adventurer 2800 GPS were:

Total distance:                            exactly 17 miles
Average speed whilst walking:    3.49mph (I did stop for about ten minutes with a flask of          coffee and some nibbles)
Time taken: 5.5 hours
Average speed including stop: 3.09 mph - (my own calculation).

Arranging a circular walk can have logistical problems, and difficulties also arise with a linear walk. On occasions I have dropped my bike off at one end then driven to the start and cycled back to the car afterwards.  Yesterday the train was a satisfying solution. In contrast with 5.5 hours walking the return train journey over Arnside Viaduct took just 6 minutes.

Would I recommend the walk?  Well, I would give it about 7.5 out of 10 - it rarely rises more than 33ft above sea level and is therefore flat and  good for fit geriatrics who are capable of distance but not ascent. There are some inspiring views over the water, and marine bird life is abundant, but there is too much tarmac for a higher score.

The route is shown as a red line with blue waypoint dots
Clicking on the pics will enlarge them (well it does on my Apple).

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Photoshop painting - Land Rover

Here is the finished pic of the Land Rover. Of all the paintings I have done this has been the most time consuming, but very interesting and absorbing. If you click on the picture you should see it enlarged.

This post was inserted last night. I since noticed I had not completed the background through the rear window of the Land Rover, and I have now done this.