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, 28 April 2017

Darlington hospital discharge lounge

Hardly an eclectic selection of reading matter in the discharge lounge.

Darlington hospital update- Friday 28th April

It is in now 9:51 am and I am sat in the Discharge Room awaking a lift home this pm from Gimmer.

I have an appointment at Lancaster  Fracture Clinic for 4th May when I think I may be able to dispense with the plaster back-slab.

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Darlington hospital update 2, Tuesday

Pre op report.

9:00 am - after early breakfast a suited guy I have not seen before comes to foot of bed, I am sat in chair. He reads my notes for a couple of minutes, never even looks at me then goes away. Five minutes later he comes back with a yellow questionnaire form and starts asking me questions. After the first two answers I say to him " who are you?"

" the registrar" he replies and continues with the questions. That's about it. I just hope his medical skills are better than his inter-personal ones.p

Darlington hospital update - Tuesday 25th April

Looks like I'm having the op today - early breakfast 5:45 am

Monday, 24 April 2017

Darlington Hospital - update

Monday -24 April

No news, bored, frustrated.

No further communication.

Have asked for information this morning from the Ward Coordinator.

Wating, waiting, waiting.


Now had visit from registrar, 10:30 am. I am booked for operation Thursday morning. At least I know. I wonder when somebody would have told me if I hadn't asked?

Friday, 21 April 2017

Darlington hospital update. Friday.

All - I am now admitted on WARD 33 awaiting an op on an unspecified day next week. My rucksack has arrived from Durham.

I am being well looked after here and the whole ambience is so much better. From everything I have heard and from our meeting  I understand Mr. Burton has a fine reputation as an upper limb specialist, but his list is full, but I am happy to wait here rather than go back home and come back.

Thursday, 20 April 2017

Durham/Darlington update - Thursday

I was sent to Darlington this morning by taxi on the understanding I would then go back to Durham after being seen by the relevant consultant. I was seen within twenty minutes of arrival.

The consultant here wanted a ct scan and also said his list was full until next week. Various options were muted including going home in between. He wanted to see the current plaster removed and sent me to the plaster room - immediate action.  When he came to look he said I could have the ct scan here and be admitted until the op next week. Within fifteen minutes of the plaster room I had the ct scan. I was then asked to wait until the bed was available, and ten minutes later MrB arrived and said he had seen the scan anld it was not as serious as first thought.. So I am now wating to go on the ward. THUMBS UP FOR DARLINGTON SO FAR. There seems to be team spirit, camerarderie and friendliness prevailing here.

All I need to do now is arrange for my rucksack to be sent down here from Durham - what could possibly go wrong?

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Durham hospital update

I fell on Sunday and was admitted to Durham hospital. 9:30 pm. Monday consultant told me decision would be made after consultation with upper limb specialist at Darlington. Depending on them either he or they would operate. It is now Wednesday. I have been starved and prepared three times for possible op. including early breakfast today with promised op.

Consultant has now arrived and told me he has only got response from Darlington today SINCE SUNDAY! they want do op there and I have an appt. at their fracture clinic tomorrow, so seems like starting from sq. one again tomorrow. Despite fact that I had been prepared for op today consultant told me that even if  he would have been doing op. It wouldn't have been done until tomorrow!

So here I sit with a forearm and upper arm both broken close to elbow since Sunday and. Little prospect of treatment in next couple of days.

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Postcard from Durham hospital

We've had a guy in here who cut off the tops of two fingers with a bench saw. Fortunately they've fixed them back on and he's gone home. I've got a similar machine at home and will be thinking very carefully before using it again.

Monday, 17 April 2017

Berwick update

Here is the blow by blow account.

Coming off Weather Hill there is a fence line and stile at NY 922 396. The fence only had posts so walked straight through and tripped on the old fence wire buried inThe grass. Getting standing was not easy. Then I found the path had vanished so walked for approx 2kms. over tussock grass terrain, clutching two poles in my right hand with left arm hanging down.climbed a ladder stile and descended through several difficult gates to Chester House ( farm). Farmer put me in his quad bike and delivered me to the Hare.and Hounds, Westgate phoning for an ambulance at 5:00 pm. There I was well looked after by the landlord and two lovely ladies, Cath and Alli, for four and a half hours (ambulance arrived 9:30.) 35 miles to Durham, triage, X- ray etc. Finally was in bed for 1:25am.

Westgate was my destination for the day and I had walked about 16 miles when I fell.

Thanks too all for your comments. Too many to reply individually.. It is trickydoing this with one finger and the Wrong hand.

Sunday, 16 April 2017

Berwick final

Broken arm.  Off to hospital.

Friday, 14 April 2017

Berwick - day 6

Saturday 15th April. Great Whittington to Traveller's Rest (NY 959 586)

Last night's meal in Brandy Bank was again excellent. A delightful cod based risotto for starter made by Helen. Michael had cooked an absolute classic boeuf bourguignon accompanied by creamy mashed potatoes and veggies, and to finish a home made sort of chocolate soufflé - all beautifully presented and the perfect meal for a hungry walker.

There were two others guests from N. Ireland, a couple on their way to a wedding. He had been a weekly newspaper editor and also had acquaintances involved in Northern Bank which was taken over by National Australia Bank along with Clydesdale, and Yorkshire Bank, my erstwhile employer. Incidentally I have now been drawing the pension from YB longer than I worked for them - very satisfying. All in all we had wide ranging conversation - a particularly pleasant encounter. 

I was dropped off again at Great Whittington for 9:00am for a fairly easy twelve miler, although the pull up out of Corbridge was a bit of a tester.  It was only six degrees when I started. I got that damned zip stuck again several times. As I have said in a comment reply, having zip failure in extreme Antarctic or high altitude regions could be fatal. I wonder if they produce any better quality for that gear?

Walking was varied with good field paths, and farm tracks.

Corbridge, albeit an attractive town, was too busy this Easter Saturday and endless traffic ploughing through the very narrow streets with narrow sidewalks, made for frustrating walking for the many pedestrians. I sought out Grant's, a renowned bakery shop recommended by Helen at Brandy Bank and stocked up with some goodies; it's great to see such shops prospering, I had to queue to get served - quality wins.

After the steep road climb out of Corbridge there was a final trek through a pleasant mature birch and pine forest. I had some unreasonable foreboding about the Travellers Rest. It is in the middle of nowhere, but when I arrived I found a quintessential English inn with people finishing off serious lunches and a homely atmosphere. So far so good. I have asked for a breakfast tray so I can get an early start for tomorrow's eighteen miles.

Aydon Castle. I stopped for coffe and biscuits.

Grant's bakery. A great find.

Looking back to Corbridge
The Traveller's  Rest

Berwick - day 5

Friday 14th April. Kirkwhelpington to Great Whittington

Last night's meal was superb. An excellent salmon prawn mousse for starter. Three local lamb cutlets, new potatoes, green beans and glazed carrots, with a subtle jus with fresh mint from the garden, all beautifully presented with homemade apple crumble and proper custard to finish.

I was dropped off at Kirkwhelpington for 9:00am The village shop was closed for bank holiday and it started to rain, but I was ok and it only persisted for an hour or so. Walking was varied with some Tarmac and not so good fields. At one point I got the zip in my coat stuck and sat on a stile for ages fiddling with it. I got out Swiss Army knife and was about to operate, but a final tug suddenly released things. This is a common problem and I wonder why they don't devise some way of  avoiding the zip getting caught up with the adjacent material - it should be easy enough?

 A good track led to a farm marked Clay Walls. As the track arrived at the farm entrance there was a large notice saying PRIVATE. NO WALKERS. I had missed a diversion to go around the farm a hundred yards back. I marched back thinking what a miserable type he farmer must be. The stile over the fence was lethal with a rocking post nearly out of the ground and steps covered in green slippery slime. - it needed some care to negotiate. Once into the field there were four horses which converged on me and followed, one trying to bite my rucksack. I don't trust horses, and I was glad to get over another poor stile into the next field which contained a herd of bullocks, but they only looked on quizzically. The field was one of the worst cattle trodden, ankle twisting ever, so all in all thumbs down to Clay Walls farm.

Further on I stopped on a bench next to a war memorial on a crossroads miles from anywhere. Whilst I was munching a couple appeared  and they were walking St Oswald's Way, the first I have met so far. He was a walk leader for Holiday Fellowship and was doing a recce for this section. I met them again at the top of the hill where they were eating and I pressed on. I then took a wrong turning and walked abou five minutes down the wrong path during which time the couple went ahead of me on the proper path. A bit annoying.

It had been a good walk and the final section over Todridge Fell was particularly pleasant.

I have just spent about three quarters of an hour trying to do the Bluetooth camera thing and it is totally messed up. I ended up creating new passwords very tediously, switched everything off and back on etc., etc. All to no avail so it looks as though photos for the rest of this trip will remain in my camera. 

Glory be, I've done it! Photos here they come.

1. Kirkwhelpington. No sign of the vicar chasing me this morning.

2. One for my "relics" collection.

3. I had a chat with the farmer on his quod bike. A hobby, one is a show winner and preggie so he's hoping she will produce another winner.

4. A good sample of Northumberland scenery. This is a most attractive county.

Thursday, 13 April 2017

Berwick - day 4

Wednesday 13th April - Rothbury to Kirkwhelpington

A bright day but still the perishing cold wind especially on the tops, so jacket on all day..

There is something special about the wild Northumberland hills. My route followed St Cuthbert's Way all day right over the Sinonstone hills. I only touched Tarmac briefly at the start and finish. There are not many places where you can walk ten miles or so in such glorious surroundings. Panoramic views seem to be on a special level in this county. From seeing a dog walker just after leaving Rothbury to getting right down off the hills the only people I saw were a group striking camp at Spy Law where there appears to be a bothy. It's surprising not to meet anybody on the track on what is a well established and respected English long distance path.

I had pre- booked B and B with Michael Storey at Brandy Bsnk Guest House, West Woodburn. This is well off my route but Michael came to pick me up at Kirkwhelpington and will drive me back there tomorrow and pick me up again from tomorrow's destination and drop me off again. If anybody out there is in this part of the world I highly recommend this B and B which I do not do very often. Michael is an enthusiastic walker and understands the needs of weary randonneurs, and Brandy House is superbly appointed and so comfortable. Michael has told me about the meal for tonight but more about that later, because I must come to today's blogger's gift.

I arrived at Kirkwhelpington and made camp on a low, ancient drystone wall surrounding the church and phoned Michael for my pick up. I was just easing myself into a more comfortable position when a four foot section of the wall collapsed beneath me and I toppled backwards ending up in a position making extraction difficult. I was not hurt and managed to emerge when a guy in the house opposite came out to investigate. Whilst I was talking to him, wondering what to do Michael turned up. Without hesitation he set about rebuilding the wall lifting the heavy capping stones with ease. Meanwhile the guy accross disappeared. We left the wall looking pretty much ok - there's nothing like a bit of resourcefulness.

1. Coquet Cairn in the middle of the march over the Simonstone hills.

2.Isolated old farmhouse in the middle of nowhere.

3. Zoom shot of fox a couple of hundred yards up the track.

4. Michael rebuilding the church wall. He was so quick he'd nearly finished before I could get the camera out.

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Berwick - day 3

Day 3 - Wooller to Rothubury - Wednesday 12th April

I had arranged to raid the breakfast bar this morning so I was off to a good start for my twenty miler at 6:00 am. I think this early DIY breakfast may become a regular allowing me to arrive at destination with time to blog and do my chores, and likely have a little lie down. That didn't work today.

Last night I ate in the Milan, an Italian restaurant across the road from Number One my B and B and owned by them . It was disappointing mainly because I ordered a dish that didn't suit me. I also ordered what I thought was an upmarket lager (something ...berg. that I hadn't heard of before.) It turned out to be cherry flavoured cider - ugh! In fairness they changed it free of charge.

I have only spoken to a farmer and his friend all day - a bit lonely, but fine walking.

At one farm there was a huge cow barn, without exaggeration 150 yds. long. There were hundreds of cows inside all lowing away making a huge sound, almost harmonious and even fugue like, reminiscent of some powerful atonal modern music - quite an experience. My route finished strenuously for a twenty mile day over Cartington Hill. After the descent there was a forest walkout to Rothbury but at one point I just couldn't find the start of the path after crossing another track and had one of those dreadful three quarter hour episode thrashing through felled forest terrain - a pity spoiling to some extent a great day and making my arrival at Newcastle House, Rothbury too late for comfortable sorting time. I am now typing this in the dining room knowing that I still have everything to sort for tomorrow back in my room, but I have just had excellent sausage, bubble and squeak and carefully cooked mixed veg. Lemon Sponge and custard are on the way - a hearty finish to a toughish  day.

It was a day of fords. There were others. The final photo is Carrington Hill.

Tuesday, 11 April 2017


Looks like Blogger is chopping the photos.

Berwick - day 2

Tuesday 11th April. Beal ( Brock Mill Farm) to Wooler

This morning at breakfast I was introduced to two Swedish guys who had bought a 1957 Dodge American car in Edinburgh. They were on their way to ship it from Immingham.

Brock Mill Farm was first class.

I set off.wearing base layer and shirt, but within a hundred yards I had donned my jacket because of a piercing wind. That continued all day and later it was approaching gale force. At first it was coming accross me from the west, but then as my direction kep changing I was walking into it, and only briefly did I have it behind.

I called in at Lowick Village store and stood inside drinking coffee and eating a piece of Lowick Tart. There was a continuous stream of shoppers and village banter. The bearded shopkeeper's wife was talking to her friend near me and then told me proudly she had made the Lowick Tart from a recipe given by that friend. I told her that whoever makes Bakewell Tart should take a lesson from her. She was so made up with that she gave me a cuddle - maybe the nature of my freebies is changing Gsyle?

Walking was on some hardly used Tarmac and fields, tracks and paths. Beyond Doddington I climbed higher onto moorland and spent a couple of hours in quite wild country with the wind raging, and views accross to the Ceviots - all good stuff. I was on St. Cuthberts Way part of the time. Later, down in the valley I came accross a guy excavating a huge tree trunk with a digger and chatted.  This was being paid for by some rich guy building a house and having to allow for a pathway for St Cutherberts Way. It looked as though that operation would have equaled the cost of a modest house all on its own.

I arrived at Number One in Wooler at a comfortable 3:30 after around 16 miles of walking.

Tomorrow will be 20 miles and I am a bit apprehensive. I have arranged to assemble my own uncooked breakfast in the morning for an early start.

1.  The  1957 Dodge

2  In the Lowick Village Store

3.  Looking accross to the Cheviots

Monday, 10 April 2017

Berwick - day 1

Berwick upon Tweed to Brock Mill Farm - NU 060 436 - Monday 10th April

It was perishing cod on Arnside station at 5:00 am. The train to Lancaster was empty in contrast with the Newcastle/Berwick train later. I changed at Carlisle for Newcastle. All trains were on time and. I arrived at Berwick for 10:19. At the last minute at home I had decided to bring a supplemental battery booster for the iPhone but couldn't find the charging lead. That was sorted by a young computer gaming wizard in a shop specialising in all that stuff - X boxes and the like are a mystery to me.

The next priority was a bacon butty and tea, and I was on my way out of Berwick at 11:00am in bright sunshine but freezing cold. Once on the proper  coastal path alongside the sea about an hour later I was able to remove my waterproof shell and walk in a base layer and shirt for the rest of the day. I was able to walk the four mile gap I had missed walking the Northumberlsnd Coast Parh last year due to a mix up with pub bookings.

It was all easy walking and oh so good to be back on the trail again. I had a pleasant little break for tea and shortbread at the very civilised  Gossick Golf Club.. I've arrived here at  at Brock Mill Farm to find a message to enter and make myself at home, and a phone number to ring to arrange transport to the pub for a meal later. I have a palacial room, and have showered. A further report will follow if there are points of interest from the meal.

1. Arnside Station - 5:00 am

2. On the Northumberland Coast Path.

3. Gossick Golf Club.

Saturday, 8 April 2017


This a test using the Blogger app. especially to see if I can post a photo.

Thursday, 6 April 2017

Nicky Nook circuit and new walk plans

Thursday 30th March '17 - Thursday walk with Pete.

Pete prefers to stay on Tarmac these days, but I persuaded him to take on the track which forms a significant proportion of this circuit of Nicky Nook. We had experienced heavy rain during the night, but the track was pretty well founded with only a few negotiable puddles. It follows the pleasantly wooded Grizedale valley accompanied by the clear lively waters of Grizedale Beck to arrive at Grizedale Reservoir. Although that is a man made affair it is attractive, providing a good focal point for this walk.

Onto the Grizedale path from the road.
 The OS map shows this track joining the road about fifty yards further north than it really does.
If you joined where the map shows you would have to descend a very steep, wooded, overgrown banking which can be seen on the left of this photo.

The rooks are getting busy

Grizedale Resrvoir

Fell End Farm sprawling below Grizedale Fell


On Tuesday this week I met up with friends from the past for a very pleasant lunch at the Old Hall Inn at Threshfield in the Yorkshire Dales. Mike Dickson kindly gave me this photo for my "Signs" collection. I have had to crop it and enlarge from a low resolution photo to start with, and the actual sign is blurred so I have interpreted with the caption. I am not sure exactly where it was taken, except that Mike said it was in Yorkshire - well you might have guessed ( I do hail from Yorkshire, so I'm entitled to that comment.)


On Monday 10th April I am off on another long walk. 

I catch the 5:00 am train from Arnside to Berwick-upon-Tweed via Lancaster, Carlisle and Newcastle. From Berwick I intend to walk to Castle Cary in south Somerset assuming my rickety frame and health hold out.That is about a month's walking and around 470 miles. I hope to post here daily.

The rationale was to find a varied walk down the country, avoiding as much as possible previously trodden terrain and to fit within a month, give or take. There are three Macmillan ways: Boston to Abbotsbury, Boston to Barmouth, and Boston to Barnstaple. I have walked the first two passing through Castle Cary on the Abbotsbury walk, and the Barnstaple one branches off from Castle Cary on its way to its destination, so that seemed like a location with personal resonance, at the appropriate distance, as well as being serviced with a railway station to facilitate my return.

Last year I walked the Northumberland Coast Path, but due to an error in accommodation booking I missed out the four mile stretch between NU 073 434 (sluice) and NU 038 468 near Cheswick and my start at Berwick will enable me to fill in that gap.

I have plotted my route on Memory Map and if anybody wants a copy of the GPX file I would be pleased to email it if you send me your email address to You would of course need to have the appropriate OS mapping on your computer to download the GPX route onto. Because the route was really only intended for my own use it is a bit broad brush in places but fairly obvious which paths, canals, and the like I intend to follow. There will of course be diversions, but that is part of the attraction for me instead of having to slavishly follow a proprietary named LDP (long distance path.)