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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, 26 June 2016

Lancashire Witches Walk (4)

Saturday 25th June 2016

After the calamitous results on Friday I felt physically sick and had little motivation to do anything.

Following reflection over the next twenty four hours and a call from BC now returned from France I realised life must go on, and so we found ourselves setting off on Saturday for the next-to-last section of our witches walk.

It wasn't long before we came across this sign -  a reminder of the folly that has been perpetrated:

Click to enlarge if difficult to read
Shortly after setting off we became aware of a party of fifteen or so following us and because we were stopping to take photos and survey rock climbing crags across the valley with our binoculars these people caught us up. They were a mixed group doing a walk for charity, but as I was taking this in I realised I was looking at individuals and saying to myself "I wonder which way he (or she) voted". So, overnight, it was forcibly brought home to me that we are a nation divided and given to suspicion and mistrust of our fellow countrymen. OK, the divide was there before under the surface, but it has arisen largely from the impositions of austerity making many lives miserable and difficult, and in the end something had to give.
The majority of this ten mile walk was on the unsurfaced old road of Salter Fell from Slaidburn to connect through to the Lune valley, and the finish of the Witches Walk at Lancaster. Although there is no problem with navigation once halfway across this old Roman road you are just about as isolated as is possible anywhere in England.

Ready for off. The Tarmac finished at the distant point on the road seen here 

Memorial to airmen of several air crashes on the wild upland country over Salter Fell

Zoom into the valley. Refurbished building now converted as a bothy. The attached sheep pen design is said to be unique to this area

Tercet witches poem (Carol Ann Duffy) in this remote setting

Long zoom to high up on the opposite valley. BC has spent many hours climbing and bouldering up there. His enthusiasm for this idyllic location was impressive - had me fired up to start climbing again (would that my various afflictions could permit). These crags extend over a longer length than seen in the photos

Whitendale. The shadowy rounded hill top left is Middle Knoll. Years ago I climbed it early one morning and within fifty yards of my car on the return I found a ten pound note on the path then found out it was mine having come from my pocket when I wanted my handkerchief just after setting off in the morning.

The group walking for charity bearing down on us - how did each one vote?

A tumble of boulders on the side of the track. They didn't look naturally placed and we wondered

BC in a sort of Lost World. This was the most wooded and mysterious of a number of valleys and ravines encountered on the short stretch after leaving the Salter Fell road


Thursday 24th Jun 2016

A brief visit to Walney Island (bird reserve) with Pete - other commitments curtailing our normal walking time.

Peel Island on the horizon. Flowers ?

These are the same flowers in profusion


Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Dalesway in parts - Sedbergh to Lincoln's Inn Bridge


RR - Ok. Here are a few. Much of the red tape complained about is for everybody's good: protection from fraud, bad banking practice, human rights, important health and safety, cleaner rivers etc., etc., but nobody seems to mention this, preferring to concentrate on bendy cucumbers. Without the protection from Europe on these points ruthless Tory type governments would be allowed to rule without hindrance. We would only have the House of Lords to fall back on, and that may well be soon abolished.

OK the Union has its faults AND SO HAS EVERY OTHER ORGANISATION IN THE WORLD, but it has existed and done more good than harm over the longest period of peace Europe has ever known. It has introduced beneficial legislation, (as well as some fatuous stuff I know, but how much does that really matter?) and will continue to do so with good intentions. If we go independent the emphasis will be on money grabbing, bigger fortunes for the rich and general cynicism with no thoughts for humanity and environmental issues, and we will most likely become one of the world's most hated countries. All that is fairly certain, and enough to underline a decision to remain rather than embark on a risky strategy which will almost certainly create economic difficulty for the next few years at the best, and no guarantee whatsoever that we would improve on that in the fiercely competitive international trading climate.
There are many other points but in the interests of replying to you as suggested asap in view the time left there you are.

What a difference between walking on a popular well established LDP (The Dalesway) and other nondescript public footpaths marked on the map.

Today, in order to devise a circular route to avoid a there and back one, I set off on minor paths so I could leave my section of Dalesway to enjoy as a finale. All to the north of my starting point on the A684 was off -Dalesway - see the map below. To be fair those paths were  just evident on the ground and they were way-marked, but they had no apparent purposeful direction traversing fairly boring livestock fields, although the surroundings of the southern edge of the Howgills to the north and the more distant northern edge of the Bowland hills to the south provided a splendid background.

Towards the end of that section I was confronted by an immovable metal gate, impossible to lift and covered in barbed wire along the top, and I had to retreat back on to the main road. I have reported this to Cumbria County Council.

Once back on the Dalesway I was following the river Rawthey on a good path mostly high above the river but shrouded by mature trees, so I was only getting tantalising glimpses of the river which, far below was tumbling, gushing and surging over its limestone bed with much vigour appealing to an innate connection with this staple ingredient allowing us to exist on this planet.

Several dog walkers were encountered and a couple of serious backpackers, again carrying far too much weight. It was all pure pleasure and this short six mile section was over too soon.

Glimpses of the turbulent and hugely appealing river Rawthey - it joins with the river Dee flowing out of Dentdale a few hundred yards further on, and a little later it flows into the river Lune 

Confluence with the river Dee

The railway is disused. Are they (we always say "they" not being too sure who we are talking about) going to let the bridge just rust away?

Drastic solution, but if they had made the ring stick out more we may have become caught up in it

Lincoln Inn's Bridge, my start and finish. 17th century (so they say), named after a now defunct Lincoln Inn pub

Click to enlarge
Another grumpy old man dislike that is becoming too prevalent:

After making some statement indicating difficulty to overcome it is followed up by the phrase, "no pressure then?"



Sunday, 19 June 2016

Dalesway - Sedbergh to north of Dent

Saturday 18th June 2016

Things are piling up.

There are two more sections of the Lancashire Witches Walk remaining, but BC is away in France so I must await his return.

I still have two unclimbed English Marilyns to do.

There are some sections left of my Dalesway campaign: filling in previously unwalked sections.

I have a stack of books to read.

All this and I am off backpacking again on 6th July - I have bought my rail ticket to Penzance.

Anyway I did another short section of Dalesway yesterday.

My last section finished where the Dalesway coincides with the Dales High Way which I have previously walked, and the overlap continues north beyond Dent, to Barth Bridge so that was my target today starting from the north this time, near Sedbergh.

This excellent LDP continued to uphold my high rating, following ancient tracks and bye-ways. One constantly has that connection with the medieval picturing people travelling with donkeys and horses, and even on a short section of Tarmac I was imagining this as it would have been, unsurfaced as a rutted track as I was passing farmhouses and buildings that haven't changed since the 1600s and earlier.

This kind of walking is ever changing with much to see and with the feel of following a purposeful route established over the centuries, compared with walks that pass through crop fields outside any national parks or AONBs and only connect you with modern day intensive farming and ankle twisting field edges on pseudo paths that have no pedigree.

On such a popular route I met various others approaching from the south, mainly having started that morning from Dent, so once those morning starters passed things quietened down.

There were two guys in their late twenties from Leeds backpacking the whole route - enormous rucksacks towering above their heads, tin mugs dangling, straps flailing, and wearing enough clothing for winter in Scotland whilst I was wearing only shorts and a shirt and even so perspiring profusely.

In contrast a man and his wife who were also backpacking the whole route had rucksacks which appeared smaller than my own when backpacking - they confirmed they were carrying a tent and sleeping bags etc, and cooking equipment, but you would never have known - they said they were carrying about 9kgs.

A party of young girls from Boston USA provided pleasant chat - they were doing the through route, but with baggage transfer.

A disillusioned fly fisherman appeared moaning about the lack of trout. He was wearing shirt, sweater and a stifling bulky Barbour jacket, again in contrast to my own hot sunshine attire.

Nearing my outward destination a mixed party of retirees approached, "does the Dales High Way branch off from further on up here?" They appeared to have no map or other directions and one woman was working up to assassinating the male leader when I told them they would have to retrace their steps a kilometre to Barth Bridge. I tried to console her by suggesting that an extra kilometre on such a delightful path was a bonus, but she still kept ranting at her leader, so I tuned up and sang a bit of Look on the Bright Side of Life as I followed on behind.

Meeting so many people had proved entertaining and my return by the same route rounded off a very pleasant little outing.

Sedbergh is well known for its private school - this is one of their rugby pitches. Part of southern edge of the Howgills in background

The Pepperpot. Here is a link to the history: CLICK HERE such histories are often boring but this is worth reading especially if you persist to the next to last paragraph

Interesting passageway - part of the remains of the Akay estate landscaping I reckon

River Rawthey bridge, Millthrop

Horseshoe gates near Millthrop

On the old tracks

Back to Sedbergh and the Howgills

Even field walking is on an old engineered track - super walking

Small gate on outside of boundary wall of large house; fancy taking so much trouble with the ornate hinges in a place where it doesn't really matter -"... they don't make 'em like that these days"


Brackensgill Bridge, 1999, over river Dee (Dentdale's river)

Another relic

The mapless, routeless walking party on their way back to pick up the Dales High Way after I had redirected them. I wonder what became of them?

Click to enlarge. At Ellers I diverted a bit from the Dalesway on the return

Thursday, 16 June 2016

Dalesway (near Ribblehead to Dentdale)

Wednesday 15th June 2016

A continuation to fill in sections of this LDP I have not previously walked.

Doing these alone I have to devise circular walks, or in this case returning mainly by the same route. That means I can only cover half the distance of each walk actually on the Dalesway.

As there is not much else but photos in this post it is worth clicking to enlarge
Only a few hundred yards from the start. After the house it was moorland track accompanied by curlews, lapwings and oystercatchers, but after a couple of miles, a big let down for the Dalesway:  nearly five miles of road walking, albeit on very quiet roads. Even allowing for that the Dalesway is still high on the list of best walks in England (in my opinion)

Looking back - my car is on the road at the other end of the curving track
Dent Head Viaduct on the famous Settle Carlisle line - the little sister of much photographed Ribblehead viaduct a few miles further south near the start of this walk

Behind me, Ingleborough with broody weather, but I stayed dry and sunny all day
On the road down to Cowgill. I watched a small bird tending its nest in the bridge wall. Magic limestone stream running through

Typical Yorkshire Dales farm building

The Sportsmans Inn, Cowgill, not open on the way out but open on the way back - I pressed on

Typical Dalesway walking

This was being used to indicate the carp parking facility. There were no cars parked

Because of Alan R's interest in tractors I am photographing them, but trying to keep these shots to what I, as one with no knowledge of the subject, regard as probably more unusual, or in a particularly decrepit state

I walked through many of these lush hay meadows - that pink poker type flower was rampant here

Looking up Dentdale giving a general feeling for this Dales country

See next photo

Tub Holes Bridge

Weird shapes of water eroded limestone - looking down from bridge in last photo

I took careful note of timings and distances:

16.8 miles - lunch break 20 mins. Overall time 7.25 hours

Overall - 2.32 mph (subtracting lunch time 2.43 mph)

Memory Map says 1883ft. of ascent