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


Sunday, 18 May 2014

Mellbreak and Blake Fell (two Marilyns)

I met Mick and Gayle on my LEJOG walk in 2008. I have gained a reputation with them for more than my share of good fortune in  receiving cups of tea, cake, permission to camp in gardens, and chauffeuring from campsite to pub amongst many other kindnesses.

Yesterday the road to climb Mellbreak became a cul-de-sac at Low Park with two or three cottages. I thought there was no way I would be allowed to park in this private enclosure, nor for a considerable way back up the very narrow lane I had driven down.  An elderly gent appeared and I asked humbly and politely if I may park, and there was no hesitation in his affirmative reply.

On returning after my ascent I was offered tea and sat in the cottage with the gent, who is a retired clergyman, and his wife. They are both in their eighties, and they were a delight of interesting conversation making me feel so comfortable and welcomed. I was reminded of the early pioneers staying at the post office in Glenbrittle in an an atmosphere of gentility, and  similar accounts of the old days at Wasdale Head and The Old Dungeon Ghyll. I lingered half an hour or so before driving off to take in Blake Fell, my second Marilyn for the day.

Mellbreak proved to be a real mountainy mountain. I ascended by the steep northern ridge with much loose rock and scree  and scrambly bits, and I lost the path finding myself ascending by a scree filled gully which was, albeit inadvertent, a more interesting route. In retrospect I wish I had continued from the summit down the southern end to return by Mosedale but I returned by the same way I had come.

Blake Fell was approached from  Lamplugh by the Cogra Moss reservoir which is an attractive trout fishing venue. Further on I met a guy trailing a sack on a rope along the ground laying a hound trail. If you have never been to one I recommend it highly. Below is a description I wrote way back.

The photos show a glorious day, but the wind was overpowering. I tried to find a geocache on the summit, but when I followed the clue: "25 metres NW from the summit under a small rock", GPS was showing a different location SE of the summit, and there was no small rock, and I could hardly stand up or prevent the paper notes and map being ripped from my hands by the ferocious wind, so I aborted to complete the horseshoe of the Lamplugh Fell area returning by the south western shores of Cogra Moss.


 On a family holiday with the caravan at Consiton we saw an advert in a shop window for a hound trail.
We found the location  at the end of a track up in the hills above the village. A collection of ramshackle cars, vans and pick-ups used by farmers and shepherds to transport the hounds, and the lack of tourist cars indicated this is predominantly a local pursuit.
Bags soaked in aniseed are dragged cross-country for several miles for the hounds to follow as a race. 
There was an air of tension around the starting area and an informal system of betting was under way. Chatting to onlookers we learned that hounds are starved before the race, but get a meal at the finish – they only have to compete once for that knowledge to be embedded, so they are all barking and straining at the leash  and the clamour combined with the excitement of the betting creates a lively atmosphere before the hounds are released.

The course is laid out so that action can be seen for a large part of the race. As the return of the hounds is anticipated the biggest drama unfolds. All the owners gather at the finishing line with bowls of food which they bang and rattle, at the same time shouting and bawling encouragement to their hounds who, as they approach, are making even more noise in full cry. The food is consumed in a matter of seconds with  frightening voraciousness.

Low Park. My host's cottage on right and Mellbreak above

Mellbreak. Another Marilyn

The scree filled gully of my ascent and distant Loweswater

Loweswater from Mellbreak summit

Northern end of Buttermere with Grassmoor. The steepness of the descent can be seen from the foreground

Blake Fell. Taken from south western shore of Cogra Moss on my return

South from Blake Fell summit

Zoom from same view as previous pic. Head of Buttermere and Fleetwith Pike

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

An objective demoted

"Ospreys seen at new site as pair move in”. (8th May).

So says The Westmorland Gazette.

The location, Foulshaw Moss across the bay from Arnside where I live.

A sighting is a long shot - birds will likely be sitting on eggs, not flying back and forth, but off I go having plotted four geocaches on a ten mile tour including part of The Cumbria Way footpath.

Of course there was no sighting, but the first geocache is a good example of geocaching finding mystery locations. A fifty yard diversion from The Cumbria Way leads to a secret, indented grassy terrace on the edge of the bay neatly by-passed by the official footpath. This mini bay is backed by limestone crags and blooming gorse, a delightful haven. The cache involves climbing moves up the rock adding spice to the adventure.

Another diversion takes me into an old magic wood with no public way beyond making exploration otherwise unlikely. Sunlight dapples through on my left with intermittent glimpses across the bright sands and water of the bay. I find the cache and return rejoining The Cumbria Way.

Caches have finding clues. The next one says "San Andreas". I am on the old road replaced by the A 590. Grass grows and the Tarmac has split into longitudinal fissures. The "cache" is a folded A4 plastic sheet inserted into one of the cracks - you were advised to bring a permanent marker, but no clue why. I find a stick to prize out the plastic feeling like a chimp demonstrating use of tools.

Near the car I search for the final cache. GPS pinpoints rear of the ARMCO barrier where the defunct road joins the A590. I get a shock. There is a huge, malevolent looking adder coiled, ready to strike - it starts to rain - I'm off back to the car at speed - that was a resounding DNF (did not find).

Across the bay to Arnside where I live.
 Arnside Knott, a Marilyn, dominates

The old wood, location of second cache. Water and sand of bay on left

There was a gate behind the mound bringing you round to the right hand end of the crag.
Cumbria Way walkers would most likely file past without finding this attractive spot - good place for a picnic

Time to be off before I become another headline in The Westmorland Gazette

Friday, 9 May 2014

There are still proper people about

Regular readers will know I lost The Hat which has accompanied me since 2005 on many adventures and thousands of miles, and as such is a cherished friend - see:  Two good friends . My chapeau was left at The Black Bull in Bentham on the first night of my recent walk from Arnside to Wetherby. Next morning, bareheaded, I  met a young lady called Andrea twenty minutes into my walk and she lived in Bentham and knew the pub people and my camp site hosts and promised to try and rescue TH.

This morning a package arrived in the post and we were reunited.

Many thanks to:

Andrea of Bentham

The Black Bull, Bentham

Curlew Camping, Masongill, Bentham. 

Curlew is a small private site, well maintained with a friendly welcome, and I would certainly recommend them.

My best wishes to all you lot away on the TGO - hang onto your hats.

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

How to use a bank holiday

Daughter is presently awaiting an interview to reapply for her present job. Even if successful the new job description does not include a certain responsibility she currently holds, and her salary would be reduced. We have contingency plans to set up a combined retail/on-line business and I am helping with that.


As a retiree I find bank holidays a nuisance and rarely stray far. My friend and commenter on this blog, Bowland Climber, visited on Monday. We drove twenty minutes to Halfpenny, a village near Kendal often featured on the North West Tonight news weather map. Enthusiastic followers contact weather presenters Dianne or Eno requesting the name of their domicile to be shown on the map.

We followed footpaths up the sparkling St Sunday's Beck, and walked on old tracks and through bluebell woods at their peak. We saw a stoat and watched an unbelievable aerobatic display put on by a crow chasing a buzzard from his territory. The only other beings encountered were people in their own domain, no other walkers hereabouts on this bank holiday. Crossing a long grass meadow there was a strip cut short down the middle. Distant buildings and a wind sock, and then a small aeroplane emerging from one of the buildings informed us of an aerodrome in the middle of our quiet country walk. The path went through this unlikely complex. We had a long talk with the farmer whose land we were on, and who was about to take off in his microlight. This guy told us of his shock horror on a one time visit to Bradford and surroundings, and I sympathise to some extent - I tend to panic myself these days if I get south of Carnforth. Later we watched our farmer pilot in the sky.

A well educated guy with a farm and horses seemed comfortable enough to treat his farming as a hobby. He had allowed sunken meadow to flood creating an attractive lake quarter of a mile long not shown on the OS map. We had another long, wide ranging chat here topics including the dearth of cuckoos and the undesirability of opening his lake as a commercial angling venture - " don't know anything about the people who would come or what they would get up to..."

Back at home I watched a likely all time classic final of the World Snooker Championship accompanied by a glass or two of vino.

Not a bad bank holiday.

St Sunday Beck and The Helm, our local mountain

Any comments on this recent development in agriculture?

One for you tractor fanatics. Judging by reg plate it must
be before 1962 and apparently still in use

An old root-crop chopper by Bamfords of JCB fame.
It's almost part of the tree

That's PROPER stile for the modern age of knee replacementees

Sunday, 4 May 2014

Day 6. Thursday 1st May. Netherby to Arnside

It had rained heavily during that last night. The Terra Nova Competition hasn't leaked or flinched in gale force winds in over a hundred nights, but the atmosphere becomes damp and condensation gives a clammy feel. You have to move carefully to prevent the inner tent touching the condensation on the outer. Packing everything into the rucksack is demanding in the confines, and latterly agility seems to elude me.

I roughly stuff the rucksack and get all my belongings into the pristine heated toilet block and return to dismantle the tent, then regroup packing the sack correctly, and off we go.

There is damp fizzle in the air and I wear my waterproof, and the rucksack rain cover is deployed. The first fifteen minutes are slow and painful as my various joints accustom themselves. Such discomfort is familiar, but I know from experience that spirits lift after half an hour and pleasure can be taken from the surroundings and happenings, but today is not really like that because I have decided to return home for a reason that is unsettling.

I fall into a steady two and a half mph rhythm, and cover the five or six miles into Wetherby by about 11:30am. I have not eaten much in the last twenty four hours. I shamble into a confined rudimentary café, clumsy with my sack, wet gear and walking poles, and order a bacon and egg butty and a pot of tea, and then find myself re-ordering the same again. I am reluctant to leave the cosy, steamy protection of this haven to face the dampness outside. I go to pay and am almost embarrassed by the modest £5.50 and recklessly throw in an extra pound.

Fortunately the Tourist Information Office is only thirty yards across the road. I learn there is a bus to Leeds within twenty minutes, and the so called bus station is only a hundred yards down the road - things are looking up. They are looking up more when I board and find that I can use the bus pass I have only used once before in 2008 to travel from Penzance to Land's End.

It takes less than an hour to Leeds. Fortune continues. Leeds City railway station is only a couple of hundred yards from the bus terminus. Leeds to Lancaster and a short twenty minute wait will deliver me to Arnside by 3:55pm. When I flaunt my Railcard I find the cost is only £11.55! Wetherby to Arnside in three and three-quarter hours for £11.55 - that resonates well with my almost forgotten parsimonious Yorkshire birthright.

There is an eery feeling about the train journey as I reverse my route of the last few days and the train announcements relay the names of places I have walked through: Skipton, Gargrave, Giggleswick, and Bentham. I had not realised how closely I had followed the railway.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Thursday, 1 May 2014

Day 5 - Wednesday 30th April. Askwith to Netherby SE 331 469

Better news today. If made redundant they have been told will be paid to end of August plus redundancy pay so situation now a bit less critical and I will continue for the moment.

Steady country walking today. Farmers' fields, stiles (often broken). Hardly saw anybody all day. A bit lonely. Wanted to get to Wetherby but without crippling effort it was too far then I spotted Maustin Park caravan/camping site on the map. Excellent set up including a restaurant (that was the good news) , but it is closed on Wednesdays. Seeing my obvious disappointment they made me a huge cheese and tomato toasted sandwich which they brought to my tent (free of charge Gayle) and it went down well with a pea and ham cup-a-soup. There will be chocolate drink and a chewy bar to follow later.

I have had a go with the camera and will do more when I get somewhere with unlimited charging facilities.

1 6:00am Saturday, chez-moi

2. Another for my Signs collection

3. Typical Yorkshire Dales old lane - a delight for walking

4.the River Aire at Airton


That last was at 8:00 am this morning, Thursday. I have now walked into Wetherby. It is 11:00am. Knowing the whole picture including details I have not given here I know that whatever the outcome my support will be needed.

I have enjoyed the walk so far but to be savagely honest with myself I now know my knees are not really up to it, especially with the weight to carry for proper back backpacking, so when I have my fill of bacon butty and tea in this café I'm off to the bus station to find out how to get home.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:Sandy Gate,Leeds,United Kingdom