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


Saturday, 22 March 2014

It's just good fun (most of the time)

We outdoories are often asked, “why”?  Strangely, those questioners rarely pester model-makers or stamp collectors, or even writers.  This seems to imply a belief that there is something fascinatingly philosophical and exclusive yet to be discovered about enjoyment from walking. The answer of course is to define enjoyment, and there has been endless unsuccessful  academic stuff about that, so why try shift the responsibility onto us?

Enjoyment can be achieved from a pleasant surprise. Perhaps spotting the first snowdrop, or something more spectacular as you round the bend on a newly discovered path.

Geocaching illustrates my point. Many caches are unimaginatively hidden in a plastic box under a pile of stones newly scratched from repeated movement and an explicit clue is given in addition to the GPS coordinate, but others are more inventive and the clue can be cryptic. Recently a mock bird box up a tree needed me to find an object to gain height to initiate the climb, and then the box turned out to have a trick opening mechanism. Others have included a waterproof container under stones in a roadside water trough, and a Thermos flask suspended fifteen feet down a grike on a limestone pavement by chain attached to an innocent looking branch of ash, and another waterproof container swimming in a stream attached to the bank with barely visible nylon line. 

Most people enjoy solving a puzzle whether it be a crossword or a suduko, but there is a fine line between annoyance and pleasure on discovering the answer defined by one’s reaction on its solving. In adverse cases a desire arises to pelt the perpetrator with rotten vegetables for unfairness or excessive obscurity.

Enjoyment is apparent when a grin or even a good laugh arises at the ingenuity.


From my Welsh walk in 2011

"Rounding a bend on a newly discovered path..."
I could see something blocking the way in the far distance...

This inert ship completely blocked the way of the path. If you want to know more go to:

Monday, 17 March 2014

Photoshop painting - rusty barn

In my post sated 15th December 2013 - "Fresh air and motivation" I showed the beginnings of my Photoshop painting of a rusty barn.

The picture is now finished. I suggest click to enlarge.

Saturday, 15 March 2014

The best long distance path in England, and Lake District Marilyns

  THURSDAY  13th March

Previous posts have praised the Dalesway, (Ilkley to Bowness-on-Windermere - 84 miles). This must contend for the best long distance path in the country. It follows attractive rivers, Yorkshire Dales limestone country, and higher moorland in a sequence of ever varying scenery, nearly always on good paths and tracks and almost no Tarmac

I reckon I have now walked maybe three quarters of the route in sections, and last Thursday with two Petes this time, I filled in another gap, following the River Rawthey from Milthrop, south of Sedbergh, four kilometres to the west to where the Rawthey joins the Lune. The Rawthey is surprisingly large to say it only sources a few kilometres north of Sedbergh, but it does drain the whole of the eastern side of the Howgills, and forges vigorously through interesting, contorted limestone outcrops in its riverbed. Just before joining the Lune the Rawthey is supplemented by the River Dee which the Dalesway has already encountered further upstream as river and footpath travel downstream in Dentdale. 

Thursday’s outing served to reinforce my vote for England’s best ldp.

Surveying the Rawthey at the start

They don't make 'em like that these days

I like the purply orangey colours of the rusted iron

One for my Relics collection. It is almost too far gone to qualify

Take your choice, the stile to the left or...

The Rawthey about 100 metres before it joins the Lune


FRIDAY 14th March

My last post enthused about Marilyn bagging associated with a true, highly rated hill walking day, but ticking the Ms list is not always like that.

Yesterday (Friday) I climbed another three of the 55 Lake District (Area 34) Marilyns leaving me a further 7 to climb for completion of that area.

The difference was that I drove between the three making for a more fragmented day without the enjoyment of a prolonged period at height. The new spoiler, after all the wetness is now fog or mist or whatever it is, and this persisted for most of the day, but the photos were better than I expected. Despite the different format it was an enjoyable and satisfying day, but I had had my fill of driving by the time I arrived back home.

Pink for driving, green for walking

Binsey            NY225 355
Watch Hill     NY 158 318
Low Fell        NY 137 226

The head of Bassenthwaite Lake from the summit of Binsey

Binsey summit. I bagged a geocache at the secondary summit in the background - nearer than it looks

I was held up ten minutes while this guy tried to get through. He gave up and diappeared to the left of the pic.

The uninspring summit of Watch Hill. Not even a cairn.

Low Fell. Very steep

Crummock Water from halfway up Low Fell. Note the steepness

Low Fell summit

Wednesday, 12 March 2014


After what seems like months of climbing stiles, wallowing through mud-bog-gates, encounters with barbed wire, climbing fences, squelching through cattle plugged fields, and pounding the Tarmac, and convincing myself that Geocaching is an acceptable substitute for proper hill walking or long distance backpacking, liberation has arrived.  There was none of that stuff yesterday.

I headed for the quiet part of the Lakes north of the A66, and parked at Stone End Farm to walk the circuit of Carrock Fell, High Pike, Great Lingy Hill and Knott.

That was a 10.5 mile round with a steep ascent to start with, but then mainly high level gentle walking. I saw one person heading in the opposite direction several hundred yards away, and on the summit of Knott, from where I could see The Isle of Man, I met a guy from Cleator Moor who had served in the RAF Mountain Rescue. Immediately after intensive snow and ice training in Scotland, the RAF, in their wisdom sent him out to one of their desert regions for search and rescue.

It was such a pleasure to be on the tops, surrounded by peaks with the odd dotting of snow, cloudless blue sky, silence, heather threatening to bloom, and, on the descent, busy eager streams descending steeply still working hard after all the recent inundation.

Please click to enlarge - at this size the pics are severly challenged

My route indicated by red dots. Carrock Fell summit way beyond skyline

From Carrock Fell summit. High Pike at r/hand end of double arrow

Back to Carrock Fell from High Pike

The back of Skiddaw from Knott.
Knott is another Marilyn - I still have ten unclimbed Ms in The Lakes

Friday, 7 March 2014

Two more Marilyns

Generally I don't like driving south from Arnside. Traffic multiplies exponentially. The sun is blinding, and the scenery becomes increasingly mediocre.

There are exceptions: if I am on the way to Wales, or to visit my brother in Hereford; then those irritations are largely negated. Last Wednesday I concocted another.

Southwards there remained nine unclimbed Marilyns within  reasonable driving distance.

Not to disprove the speculation that I may be a despised list ticker only, but because I wanted to, I walked to the summit of Winter Hill (SD 659 149). There is a Tarmac road all the way to service the TV station and the many radio masts, including the massive 1015 ft. ITV transmitter, so I could have driven there, but I enjoyed the seven mile round walk on a glorious day.

There is much of interest including murder, plane crashes and  stuff about the construction and servicing of the big mast. Links can be tedious, but I  hope some may appreciate these two.

Winter Hill

Winter Hill mast

A drive across industrial Lancashire to Billinge Hill (SD 525 014) was bearable using Memory Map on my iPad Mini with sat nav positioning and the OS 1:50000 map.

BH is in a drab urban setting easily frequented, and therefore trashed by riff raff, but the views are fine, and in particular I could look back to Winter Hill and its masts from where I had just driven.

To save the bother of Googling here is the most interesting extract from Wikipedia.

Billinge Hill was also used by the Royal Observer Corps, and there was a bunker at the site, 60 yards (55 m) West of and below Beacon. The Beacon itself was used for aircraft observation during and after the war. The bunker would have been used to monitor the location of nuclear blasts and the resulting fallout over Lancashire in the event of nuclear war.

Here also was  personal interest - my father served in the Observer Corps during the war on Otley Chevin in Yorkshire.

The big mast on Winter Hill

North east from Winter Hill - Belmont Reservoir

The big mast from the trig point

On the descent from Winter Hill. Part of Bolton Wanderers stadium. It was impossible to see anything in the so called viewfinder.

Billinge Hill

Winter Hill from Billinge Hill


No Thursday walk with Pete this week because of weather.  Hayes Garden Centre at Ambleside has a good café but also houses Cotswold Outdoor where, through some kind of frustration I bought an expensive pair of zip-off walking trousers when, if I am honest, I already have two pairs that will do the job.

Saturday, 1 March 2014


Inconsiderate, hell-bent drivers have featured recently. This winter, with Pete, has involved mainly road-walking. The code says you should face oncoming traffic. On a blind bend this is folly. We often dodge from one side to the other.

Route plotting occasionally leads to short, unavoidable stretches on busy roads, but sometimes this happens unintentionally. 

May - 2011 - Welsh Boundary Walk.

I followed a path where the farmer had asserted the way through his crop fields of head-high yellow rape. There was a dike on the right and the map indicated a right turn over a footbridge. The path on the map went across the middle of an established crop field ploughed out to the edges. There was no path visible. I retreated and found another  bridge fifty yards further on leading into a field enclosed by hedges. I retreated again to the next field which bordered a dual carriageway (my desired route was on its other side). I had a desperate battle with barbed wire, brambles and ditches eventually climbing onto the edge of the dual carriageway. This was safe with a wide grass verge, but I knew I  shouldn't have been there. The map showed a track parallel with, and two hundred yards further up the dual carriageway, but it was barred by a six foot ditch full of brambles and nettles, and I was wearing shorts, but I had no option. I lowered myself into the torture chamber and as I sank into the bottom, disappearing I guess, from the sightline on the dual carriageway, I heard a police car siren and suspected somebody had reported me. I finally got back on route and at the pub in Rossett cleaned up my bleeding and scratched legs, and then walked on another four miles and booked into The Greyhound here in Farndon.

Our walk this Thursday was on quiet lanes south of Over Kellet.


Which way?

Well, would you really want to go there?


Yesterday I had a quck blast to Easington Fell in the Trough of Bowland - the nearsst unclimbed Marilyn to home.

Easington Fell from the road which makes for an easy 44m ascent

Zoom to Stocks Reservoir and Ingleborough from Easington Fell summit

Easington Fell summit

Katie update