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


Friday, 30 September 2011

Nethermost Pike

Thursday 29th September

Today I went back and climbed Nethermost Pike from Wythburne car park at Thirlmere, after omitting to climb it with Grisedale Horseshoe (see recent post).

The parking ticket machine was "not in use" saving me £4.50.
7km (4.3m) - 742m (2434ft) of ascent
I just bought a Canon SX20 on Ebay - this is a bridge camera (in between compact digital and SLR). I took  pictures on Auto setting, then again on  Landscape setting. There was no doubt about  improved results on Landsacape in sharpness and colour. I laso tried the 20 x zoom giving good results even though hand held. This camera would be cumbersome on backpacking trips, but I may be tempted.

Here are some  results - it was hazy and not ideal:



Striding Edge with Catstye Cam behind, Helvellyn far left

Zoom to Striding Edge
20 x zoom from previous pic. (hand held)
Number of people met on the descent: 20 (not counting a party of 12 refurbishing the footpath).

For readers unfamiliar with UK geography:
Helvellyn is one of the trio of Lake District peaks over 3000ft, and therefore one of the most popular ascents, and  Striding Edge leads to its summit involving some mild scrambling and airy situations - the scene of many accidents. 

Saturday, 24 September 2011

Should Amazon define your reading list?

For some time I have intended to buy The Elements of Style - William Strunk and E.B. White.
Amazon were aware of this ambition and today they informed me  a second hand copy was reduced from £7 something to £4 something, so I girded up my loins and placed the order.
Amazon then obligingly informed me that “Customers who bought this book also bought...”, and then the enigma unfolds.
Reading down the list there is a Robert Harris novel, and then Prague Fatale by Philip Kerr, which are reasonably likely in combo with the Strunk, but then we have Jamie’s Great Britain by Jamie Oliver.

I can only assume that the person who bought Elements of Style and the Jamie book bought the latter to send as a present to someone they didn’t like.

Friday, 16 September 2011

The Grisedale Horseshoe - a story of underestimation

Thursday 15th Sept.
Why I thought this would be a steady walk I do not know.
The start: Patterdale Hotel (parking £4.50) -  I spent my honeymoon there in 1970, and  last year’s Lowestoft, to supposedly, St Bee's Head walk ended there when I hobbled from Nan Bield Pass after cutting a vein in my leg. Today, therefore, the scene was set with mixed emotions. 
The Wainwrights of Arnison Crag, Birk, and St Sunday Crag, were followed by descent to Grisedale Tarn from which rises alone the delightfully situated Seat Sandal. Descending from Seat Sandal I was tired, and both knees were moderately painful. The constructed stone stairway up Dollywagon Pike was sapping in warm sunshine. I abandoned the visit to Nethermost Pike and retraced steps, literally, down Dollywagon.
Nearing the tarn I suddenly experienced excruciating cramp up the inside of my left thigh.  I stopped in agony much to the concern of some passers-by, who I reckon were terrified at the prospect of rendering assistance, without, I suspect having requisite knowledge. One of them helpfully suggested  I was lacking salt, but was unhelpfully unable to provide that commodity, so I bravely assured them I would be alright, although I was not convinced of this in my own mind, and they hurriedly continued on their way, I guess with much relief.
I managed to restart, but cramp recurred several times, and now in both legs. I found that continuing to walk suppressed the pain, but it was like curing a wart with a blow lamp. It seemed a long long way down the rocky Grisedale path, but I arrived, for the second time in recent history at Patterdale Hotel as the wounded hero.
I Googled “cramp” to find it is  a mystery to the medical profession, as are most things I seem to consult them about, but it may be due to “over exercise of muscles”, “dehydration” (I rarely drink much on the hills), and then a list of more disquieting causes including “pregnancy” and “cirrhosis of the liver”, the former I was able to rule out, but the latter was more worrying.
A route plot on Memory Map revealed a distance of 11 miles, and 4156ft of ascent - that would put many Munro days to shame!
Ullswater from Arnison Crag

Grisedale Tarn from St Sunday Crag with Seat Sandal above the tarn. The flanks of Dollywagon can be seen on the right

On Dollywagon - Striding Edge runs behind my back. Twenty minutes later I was in agony, but this pic indicates it had perhaps already started?

Sunday, 11 September 2011

Lulu self publish - Conrad Walks Wales, (and baby talk)

At last the Lulu self publish book of my Welsh boundary walk this summer  has been uploaded to Lulu.

I wrote the journal and integrated the pictures in a Word document using Lulu's template,  and my daughter Jill* has been helping me to upload the file to Lulu for publishing.

We encountered several problems converting the Word doc to a pdf in a form acceptable to Lulu, and one of these related to text embedding. I must thank Alan Rayner for some useful advice which eventually solved that problem.
This is a drastically pixel-reduced  photo  from Lulu's website - the text in the oval frame reads "Over one thousand miles walking round the boundary of Wales"

Conrad Walks Wales will be the sixth of these books that I have commissioned and I reckon it will be the best (I am still awaiting my copy). This time I have made photos bigger and most have been enhanced and cropped to some extent using Photoshop. This book runs to 237 pages; for anybody interested it can be bought as a hardback at a net cost of £36.29 or as a pdf download for £5.00 by visiting  and entering Conrad Walks in the search box.


* Jill - Some of my readers will know my daughter Jill, and I feel that now is the time to announce the fact that she is expecting, and I will hopefully become a granddad for the first time in October. Further relevant reports will no doubt follow.

Saturday, 3 September 2011

Cool cool or cool?

Jeremy Clarkson has a "cool wall" on Top Gear depicting supposedly "cool" cars. Only Jeremy understands his definition of "cool" and often makes illogical changes to those parameters.

I have a similar cool wall. I am sure many items are offended by not being included, but the ones that make it do so purely by a periodic, enigmatic whim. Here are some of my "coolies":

  • A photo of my most picturesque wild camp on the sandy remote shore of Loch More on my LEJOG walk.
  • A very poor photo of my old springer spaniel Barney stood in Beacon Tarn looking forlorn taken by "gimmer".
  • A picture of cloudberries, scanned from a book. I found cloudberries on a walk in the Yorkshire Dales - they are rare in our region, and I inexplicably failed to take my own photo on the spot - a regret that niggles whenever I think about regrets.
  • A photo of our Merlin Rocket dinghy (Impala) being sailed by my brother Nick - we raced this on Hollingworth Lake in the Sixties.
  • A cartoon of Toad pondering over a map (my family nickname was "mapman". I also had a reputation for "poop poop" moments).
  • My own photo of Meall Bhuidhe bothy where I passed an atmospheric night alone on my LEJOG walk. I reckon it is nine miles in any direction to a proper road.
  • A Frenchman, Sylvain, posing at the foot of an alpine peak. I met him in a refuge ten years ago and we have corresponded ever since.
  • A birthday card from a painting by Jonathan Trotman showing three figures huddled on a mountain peak. Trotman was commissioned for a special painting in the Joss Naylor biography, and I have a limited edition print.
  • A dreadful hand done panorama photo of Arnside prior to my discovery that this could be done effortlessly, and seamlessly in Photoshop.

"Adventure only happens to adventurers" ... unknown

Better drowned than duffers if not duffers won't drown" ... Arthur Ransome

"The man who goes alone can start today; but he who travels with another must wait until that other is ready, and it may be some time before they get off" ... Henry David Thoreau

"If you need a machine and don't buy it, you will ultimately find you have paid for it, but don't have it" ... Henry Ford

Despite my boasts about Photoshop, my attempt to panorama these three pics was a failure

Friday, 2 September 2011

Harter Fell and Green Crag

Thursday 1st September.

Two more Wainwrights climbed: Harter Fell and Green Crag. For my overseas readers these hills ("fells" in the nomenclature of the Lake district) are situated in our Lake District National Park and are about an hour and a half's drive from where I live.

The "Wainwrights" is a list of 214 peaks in that park described by one Alfred Wainwright in the 1960s. Wainwright was an eccentric fellwalker who published a series of hand written guides incorporating his own unique system of quasi three dimensional drawings depicting routes of ascent for the hills, and these became classics. Ardent walkers now strive to complete their own ascents of these peaks.
A sample page from a Wainwright guide

The knee is till giving me problems although not as bad as it was on the Newlands Walk (see my previous post). This walk was only about six miles, but there was some rugged pathless terrain.

There is little else to report so let these pics speak for themsleves - it was a hazy day and not ideal for photography.
Colourful crag halfway up the ascent of Harter Fell

Green Crag, my second summit from Harter Fell summit. The terrain in between was very boggy and hard going

Getting closer to Green Crag