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, 31 January 2014

Who's for curd tart?

On a walk there can be a sense of anticipation for some event to come alluded to in your guidebook, or gained from hearsay, but there is no unequivocal reason to rely on the information.

My LEJOG guide said “…there is even a snack van in the car park on the A71 six days a week”. For the most part of a day I became obsessively worried about the likelihood of its continued existence. It was there. The guy was hyper excited when I told him he was mentioned, and he mugged me for details to obtain a copy. Much badinage followed between us and other customers about him becoming famous - one of those memorable incidents.

On a Munro the SMC guide spoke of a pillar like cairn, “that could be seen from a great distance”. In the mist it remained unseen until we were within ten yards.

Prehistoric remains marked on the map are invariably disappointing requiring a double degree in archaeology and ancient history to identify anything meaningful.

Last Thursday Pete told one of the girls at Café Ambio about his wife particularly enjoying curd tart on an earlier visit with Pete. He mentioned it had not been available recently. The girl responded by offering to make some for this Thursday.

The route was planned to ensure we ended up at Ambio rather than any of our alternatives, and we were joined again by Gimmer. The curd tart was mentioned recurrently on our walk round the lanes east of Endmoor.

Pete and I had Bakewell and Gimmer a jam and buttered scone; enough said.

“What we anticipate seldom occurs; what we least expect generally happens”. (Disraeli)

The route coming off south west at the bottom was my route up to the geocache on Scout Hill - see my post 23/1/14 - "Diversion"

Tarnhouse Tarn. This guy told us he was one of the renting syndicate - trout fishing - he was a bit cagey. He had a Labrador and a Cocker Spaniel, and he was training them to retrieve - a full on hunting, shooting, fishing type

Tarnhouse Tarn again

Another one for my Signs collection

Friday, 24 January 2014

Where to next?

Daughter, High Horse (teacher) keeps suggesting I should incorporate geocaches with my longer walks which sounds ok in theory, but, a week ago I found thirteen out of fourteen on one geocache-dedicated six mile round. That walk would normally take two and half to three hours, but it took five.

So, to find say half a dozen on a long walk day could extend time by a couple of hours. Companion walkers can be another factor if they are not fellow enthusiasts for the game, so one can feel uncomfortable spending a lot of time searching when your companion’s main objective is to get on with the walk.

My strategy for regular Thursday walks with Pete is to plan a route first (that is always down to me), then see if it coincides with any caches, and that is unlikely to amount to more than one or two.

For the last year since we completed the Lancaster Canal we have walked circular, approximately six mile routes almost every Thursday within half an hour’s drive of home without repetition, but it is now becoming increasingly difficult to find fresh ground , especially in this uncommonly wet winter when we try to keep mostly to quiet roads and lanes.

Our walk yesterday managed to find yet another new circle, and one geocache pleasingly situated at the point with best views.

Memory Map on my computer showing Thursday walking routes plotted. Previuosly I deleted them, but recently they are retained to help avoiding repetition

This Thursday's walk, north east of Kendal

River Mint near Patton Bridge

A de-luxe stile (not on our route)

Whinfell Tarn

Thursday, 23 January 2014


Faced with tasks my conscience tells me I should do but don't want to, I find it easy to invent alternatives. Sometimes I may start other tasks instead that are also a pain, but not quite as much so as the original, but today I was having none of that.

A quick look at the Geocache website identified a cache in the middle of nowhere, about eight miles from home and I was off leaving my conscience behind.

I knew the going would be rough upland, wet walking, so after the recent controversy about footwear on this blog I hypocritically wore my boots.

I thrashed across the rough terrain more like a Chieftain tank than a Willis Jeep. The cache was hidden up a steep hillside amidst gorse, and with hardly any feature to relate it to. The GPS on my iPad Mini with Memory Map was satisfyingly precise, as were the coordinates given by the cache originator. The location provided extensive views to the west to Blackpool and across to the Lakeland hills.

I picked up another two roadside caches afterwards and was there, and back home in under three hours.

For the last couple of days Blogger seemed to have discarded the slide show facility when you "click to enlarge", but things seem to have returned to normal today. What ever are they up to?

Geocache map of my locale. I live in Arnside (red dot, middle left). The cache I did today is the yellow circle top right hand coner. Yellow circles are the ones I have done to date.

Looking back to my parked car

The cache was amongst the gorse on the hillside

Monday, 20 January 2014

A first ascent

Three years ago I was mildly puzzled by people who wanted to talk about, and extol the virtues of grandchildren, but now I am one of them.

Katie is now 2 years 3 months old. On Saturday, along with mother Jill (High Horse), we all made the ascent of the first proper hill for Katie.

Orrest Head, at approximately 750ft is a popular viewpoint above Windermere involving a two mile round trip and 350ft. of ascent, all pretty steep going.

I know it is not so remarkable, but what gave great pleasure was Katie’s obvious enjoyment from beginning to end. Despite a biting wind, rain in the air, and mud underfoot, she walked cheerfully the whole distance. One of my walking poles was requisitioned, and it was obviously too long, so Katie trailed it behind, and told us it was her dog that she was walking. I remarked that there could be a market for walking poles for children until a bit of lateral thinking had me shorten the pole to suit - Katie was well pleased with that.

The weather was hostile on the summit, but no bother to K. She joined in at being pirates looking for treasure when we sought and found the local geocache and she was rewarded with a little spangled booklet which she cherished for the rest of the day.

On the descent K had a little tumble and muddied her jeans, so back in Windermere HH shot into a charity shop and bought a virtually new pair of designer (Joules) jeans for 75p so we were all neat and tidy to finish the day in Café Ambio at The Lakeland Motor Museum.

Some of the pics were taken with Jill's iPhone and leave much to be desired.

On the summit
At speed on the descent.
 Note colour difference between my Canon SX150is and Jill's iPhone

iPhone panorama from summit - very pixelated
At Café Ambio
Arriving back at Arnside - nb railway viaduct


Thursday 16th January

My regular Thursday walk with Pete took us to Humphrey Head setting off from Cedric Robinson's cottage near Allithwaite. Cedric is the Queen's guide for walks across the sands of Morecambe Bay from Arnside to Grange-over-Sands. Some years ago I was on that walk with my old Springer Spaniel, Barney. I was concerned whether he would make it or not in view of his age, but out at the front  was a lady with a little terrier that was on heat and Barney got tucked in behind and never flagged. 

Despite both our ages (Pete is a few years older than me), and not having the same incentive as  Barney, we managed the seven mile round trip in sprightly fashion at an average speed of 2.1 mph including finding three out of four geocaches and taking pics.

Zoom to Arnside Knott 

Friday, 17 January 2014

Removing a follower


I have now reinstalled my followers and successfully removed the undesirable one.

If you open Blogger Dashboard and look below the title of your blog you will see information saying how many posts and page views there have been and the number of followers on the blog.

Click on the number of followers and you will see them all.

Click on the one you want to banish and select "block".

It has taken me much time and searching to achieve what seems to be a very simple operation, but as always  help menus never seem to contain a solution and the best way is to Google the problem and hear what others have to say; thanks to all those geeks out there.

Thanks also to Gibson (Afoot in the Hills) for encouraging me to persist.

Monday, 13 January 2014

Tree climbing and funny gates

I cannot remember the last time I wore boots.

Last summer I walked from Lowestoft to Clacton, most of the Cheshire Ring, the Sandstone Trail, the Kennet and Avon Canal, the Severn Way and the Monmouth Brecon Canal, and many outings in between, all wearing Gortex lined trainers. My feet have only been wet occasionally, and that was through walking in long wet grass soaking down through socks, which happens anyway with boots.

Scotland is different: rough, pathless steep terrain demands boots.

On Thursday we walked new ground east of Windermere -  a delight of small hills, minor roads, tracks and paths. I identified one geocache near the road, but now confess to inventing yet another way of mucking up navigation. I printed the OS map (enlarged) and put it in a plastic wallet. Being too lazy to unseal I marked the geocache position onto the plastic. Of course, when we came close to the spot I found we had already walked past because the map had moved inside the plastic. The geocache was left for another day.

Next day, alone, I followed a more cross country route finding five caches on a five mile trip, but failed finding the one we had missed. The last one had been set by Cragrat (geocache nick name) and involved climbing an oak tree to gain the cache in a mock bird box. An old fence post propped against the trunk provided a foothold.  A secret opening mechanism had me stumped for a while.

I emailed Cragrat congratulating him on his ingenious cache. He turned out to be Wilf of Wilf’s Café fame at Staveley who I knew from regular visits with Tony, my late climbing partner.


Housekeeping: observant readers may notice the panel of photos of my followers has disappeared. An undesirable appeared there linking to things radically political which I wanted no association with. I tried to delete but the whole lot went and as far as I can tell there is no way of getting them back.

Nb: the increasing number in my geocache finder following my renewed enthusiasm for that pursuit.


Pink = route Thursday with Pete.
Brown = solo route Friday

Two pics on the walk with Pete


Bird box geocache on my solo walk - Friday. Nb fence post used as foothold

NB - Sign to right of gate (enlargement below): another award from the eccentric Waist High Passimmeter Awards. Google  and see if you can make more sense of it than I  - it looks like a sort of sarcasm award to me
Click to enlarge

Leighton Hall and RSPB Leighton Moss - Arnside Knott, I live over the other side

How to make a proper job of supporting your guttering

Saturday, 4 January 2014

Memoir of an aspirant photo journalist

My magazine editor brother advises me that misfortunes make more interesting reading than purple passages about nature. If a nauseating photo of a gashed leg or the like can be included, so much the better. Remember photographer Hurley with Shackleton - his cumbersome photo plates were one of the few things salvaged from the stricken ship. His presence of mind had provided a priceless record of dramatic events, although the main motivation for saving them came from Shackleton’s awareness of their potential commercial value later - he would have made a good journalist.

That’s all very well, but I am a bumbling, non-instinctive amateur, and dealing with the emergency usually takes priority, although I have had my moments.

Because of waterlogged fields, last Thursday I routed our walk again on Tarmac, but included one section of what OS defines as “track”, that is an unsurfaced lane varying from a well found, hardcore Land Rover highway to a little used medieval mudfest often blocked by brambles and nettles. Even the supremos of the OS have so far been unable to represent those differences. You therefore rely on experience and intuition.

Within a few yards of leaving the Tarmac I knew experience and intuition had failed me - we were squelching and slip-sliding along a mud path, which eventually widened into a mini flood-lake thirty yards across and fifty yards long with no obvious circumvention short of climbing several walls and barbed wire fences. Undoubtedly an impasse. Sod’s Law had located this well beyond the point of no return.  Here we go: with the distraction of formulating Plan B, I took no photos. There was not much comparison with the scale of Shackleton’s drama, but I was so cross with myself when it dawned on me quarter of a mile later. Would Hurley have gone back? Well, he would never have missed that opportunity in the first place.

Zoom to Whitestone Crag near Newby Bridge. A minor crag where my old climbing partner Tony had the only fall I can remember for him. Fortunately it was not serious, but once again I took no photo.

A unique seating facility at Field Broughton built for the millennium

Just for the story herewith. My cut vein when I fell descending Nan Bield Pass on my walk from Lowestoft to The Lakes in 2009