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


Thursday, 30 November 2017

Oliver Sacks

I recently Read Oliver Sacks autobiography: On the Move. I recommend it

Sacks was British neurologist who only died a short time ago. He had a very eventful life rising to become one the most respected in his milieu, all well documented in this book .

Sacks spent most of his life in America. He found a rest home occupied by patients stricken with a Sleeping Sickness that had swept America between the two World wards. These patients were mainly in a catatonic and hopeless situation. He administered a drug called L-Dopa with amazing results bringing patients back to almost normal, but unfortunately for most only for a limited period. All this is outlined in the autobiography which was written much later.. He wrote a much more detailed account of individual case histories called: Awkakenings which I have now nearly finished here in hospital. Awakenings is as near as anything to an academic text book, but written with so much empathy and human understanding that I always wanted to read on. There are huge numbers of lengthy footnotes most of which I skipped.

In part of Sack's research and study he makes great importance of doctor and patient having a COMBINED mental approach and I found it fascinating that an academic of his standing was prepared to publish these almost metaphysical ideas - he ponders where this power for helping with neurological diseases can come from and how it can square up with the most up to date research in brain function. He also discusses the use of music (another very interesting section of suppositions and conjectures.)

 I was also impressed with the amount of knowledge sharing between OS and his many fellow scientific and academic friends and acquaintances.

My immediate reaction to things medical makes me squeamish, and often, in my own case, I think the less I know the better, so reading this was against the grain, but I know these two books and Sacks contribution to humanity will be stashed in my mental list of memorable books.

Wednesday, 29 November 2017

Knee operation 2

Operation went well yesterday. Mr P saw me afterwards, said he was pleased with the way it went. I am writing this after breakfast the day after, and so far I have no pain - i am dosed up with various pills and IV drips.

I am in a private room and all is comfortable with friendly and attentive staff.

Will be out of bed today and looking forward to bending my leg which at present is heavily bandaged

Breakfast today, note the posh serviette ring.

Tuesday, 28 November 2017

Early start tomorrow

I'm going to:
"Hit the road Jack......

...I'll have to pack my things and go...

...'cause i'll be back on my feet some day"

Tenuous use of pure nostalgia; watch the video.

Off for the op, to arrive tomorrow (Wednesday) 7:30am - subject to Mr. Patel being satisfied with the state of the wound on my ankle. Fingers crossed.

Tuesday, 21 November 2017

Plan B?

Last Thursday I caught the car door on my ankle causing a skin wound, yes, on the same leg as my proposed knee replacement a week tomorrow, Wednesday 29th November.

The nurse at my GPs yesterday described this as "a superficial skin flap." She has dressed it with a special concoction and told me to leave it alone until next Friday, and meanwhile told me to let the hospital know. There is a strong chance they may decline to operate. I have phoned them this morning and they are referring to the surgeon, so I am now awaiting their pronouncement.


Research now identifies the little hill I mentioned in my last post as Tarn Hill and not Hollow Stones. If you look at the map below you will see why I was mistaken.

There are two main sites that show the many lists of hills in the UK.
There are now over 60 different hill lists in the UK would you believe, with league tables of those who have made ascents and much other statistical information.

I was so excited to find that my little Tarn Hill is a TUMP (Thirty and Upward Metre Prominence)
It was even more exciting to find there are around 17,000 TUMPS. If you want to get a taste of how nerdy all this can become read about TUMPS from the extract in Hill Bagging below.

On the Harold Street site I have ticked off my Marilyns and my Munros and because most of these also qualify as TUMPS it seems that I have done 604 TUMPS putting me at 76th in the list. Top of the list is "rhw" with 11,323 ascents and the next nearest is miles away: Colin Crawford - 6489 ascents.

The Tumps (Thirty & Upward Metre Prominences) comprise all British hills with 30m or more of drop, with no minimum height. Thus it incorporates a number of other hill lists, and naturally owes its existence to many contributors over several years. With Alan Dawson - Simms, Michael Dewey - Deweys, David Purchase - Donald Deweys and Clem Clements/Tony Payne/Rob Woodall - Highland Fives comprising the portion of Tumps above 500 metres. Those Tumps below 500 metres comprise data originated independently by two people; Myrddyn Phillips - Y Pedwarau, The Fours and Y Trichant (400m Welsh, 400m English and 300m Welsh hills respectively) and Clem Clements - hills between 300 - 500 metres. The above listings paved the way for a complete listing of Tumps to be released by Mark Jackson in 2009, upon finishing three years of on and off research into the c.8,000 hills below 300 metres. This on and off research also duplicated parts of Myrddyn Phillips' Welsh P30 lists on the website, and the original list of Tumps was subsequently revised using data from the sub hills incorporated in these same lists.

The Tumps comprise nearly 17,000 hills and have been greeted by a mixture of enthusiastic bagging and the feeling that this is all a bit much. Andrew Tibbetts maintained and improved the list and in December 2011 released an Excel file containing the 10,000-odd hills not present in the DoBIH. This file became the P30 Appendix to the DoBIH in May 2013. It went through two revisions before being brought into the DoBIH in version 14.


My proposed route in blue.
 The pub by the church is the Punchbowl at Crosthwaite, one of the best eating pubs in our area.

Monday, 20 November 2017

A bit of fresh air

Although I have walked with Pete on Thursdays whenever possible whilst recovering from the broken arm, and then the failure of my other knee on 20th August I have not had a walk on my own. I enjoy walking with others for the company and conversation and general companionship, but when I am solo I have no worries about the other person or persons. Most of us are reluctant to express our true feelings or inclinations all the time, so fellow walkers may have preferred a different route, starting time, or distance, etc., and may also be irritated by diversions, loosing the way, inclement weather or other perceived downsides that may crop up, but they are reluctant to say so, and there I am worrying about those possibilities, whereas on my own I generally welcome (up to a point) challenges that crop up, and if not I can just be cross with myself, so there are no disguised feelings.

Yesterday, in a mood of frustration, despite the knee I looked on the map for a bit of flat, previously un-walked terrain near home, and off I went to the Lythe valley, a drive of twenty minutes.

The map below shows the land as flat and striated with drainage dikes and white (most likely unsurfaced) straight line roads. I parked on the yellow road, but on foot I was soon off onto the unsurfaced stuff, albeit still vehicle negotiable, not that any vehicles appeared. Dismal and chilly weather prevailed. I passed a ramshackle farm with many wooden outbuildings in a state of disintegration, and two long abandoned caravans coated with green mold - there was an atmosphere of hillbilly and Deliverance. I pretended I hadn't seen a decrepit sign saying "no access, no public right of way" and pressed on. The track was strewn with puddles from heavy overnight rain, and I was dodging from one to another, and then frequently switching between the twin tracks, always trying to decide which would give the better walking surface. There was a lone horse in the middle of a field with a blanket; he was looking so sorry for himself.

At the furthest north there was a three-way division of tracks. A middle aged couple were approaching from the most northerly and we met and chatted - he was a fellow knee replacement recipient, and by coincidence with an appointment next week to get his other one sorted. They appeared to be seasoned walkers, and like me they had been looking for territory near home that they had not covered before. They told me that they had been challenged at some time in the past by a farmer on the route I was on. They headed off to the west back down to the main road.

I turned to the east on a muddier lane for a while before heading south on better tracks to complete my circle. Although the sign had said "private" there was a public footpath across the middle of my circuit leading up from the A 5074 but strangely finishing at a dead end a little to the east of my lane. I looked out for the normal "public footpath" signs at both points where this path crossed my route but there were none. Half a dozen pheasants burst up from nowhere at one point. I had seen along the way a number of those blue plastic barrels that I think have something to do with feeding these doomed birds. A lone heron was flying away low over the field to my right.

Although this was a bit of a gloomy walk I felt refreshed and energised back at the car.

The stats: 2.39miles - 1.32 hours - 1.81mph.

At the furthest north I had spied Hollow Stones, 188m, a pleasant little hill a couple of kilometres further north, and I went by car to research the viability of a lane giving access. That looks like a pleasant little summer's evening stroll, whenever?

Monday, 13 November 2017

Waiting for opo.

On Sunday we went treasure hunting.

That was welcome therapy to detract from my painful knee, hip, and shoulder.

Daughter, High Horse (school teacher)  has a new project underway - as her brother W would say “she’s on one.” Granddaughter Katie, and I have been co-opted.

I am not sure what all this is about, but earlier in the week I was consulted on how to drill holes in glass. Within the family I have a modest reputation for DIY, but I think that is only because they have less aptitude than me. I recognised this as a challenge that High Horse knew I would be unable to resist. Normally I rebel when somebody poses the leading question “What are you doing on Wednesday?” If you reply “nothing” you are then doomed into an unwelcome  commitment, but on this occasion I decided to play chicken and asked no more about her need for holes in glass. There is some parallel here with my current reading, a bio-novel based on the life of Shostakovich* who refers to Stalin and subsequent communist tyrants as POWER and the author delves into Shostakovich's  guilt and feelings of cowardice at his repeated capitulation to POWER.  I was researching on You Tube pronto, then ordering the appropriate drilling bits on the Internet.

On Sunday it was suggested that I should join HH and Katie for an expedition to Half Moon Bay south of Heysham. There I was instructed to become a beachcomber and slowly scour sand and pebbles for pieces of washed up sea-glass. The glass is opaque as was my grasp at that time, and still, of the planned purpose. So there I was on a glorious sunny day, but with  perishing cold wind direct from Greenland with my Paramo jacket zipped up above my chin, hunchbacked, head down, and the cold starting to penetrate my several layers of clothing, limping slowly, and appearing as some eccentric to the abundant dog-walkers and family groups who were sensibly walking more quickly in the interests of keeping warm and self preservation. 

Katie joined in enthusiastically, perhaps she knew more than I did. I think others had been on that beach looking for our treasure - it was not all that abundant, but between us we collected what HH reckoned was sufficient and then we had  pure joy and fun with Katie flying her kite.

I am now waiting to be summoned to drill holes in glass, the reason for which is still unknown, perhaps it's on a need-to-know basis?

I think I'll go and listen to a bit of Shostakovich, or what about some  suitably abstruse Philip Glass?

* The Noise of Time, Julian Barnes

I have just received a call bringing forward the date for my knee operation to Wednesday 29th November.

Wednesday, 8 November 2017

Knee op 1

I have been offered a replacement knee operation at BMI private hospital in Lancaster under NHS with my surgeon Mr Patel.

Pre-op appointment - Wednesday 15th November.

Operation -                Wednesday 13th December.

They have also said the op could be sooner if they have any cancellations etc.

Sunday, 5 November 2017

Arnside Fireworks 2017

Last night the tradition of fireworks on the prom at Arnside was continued, but building on the success of last year, and a splendid community effort, it was bigger and better than ever. A couple of stalls with burgers and drinks were added and the crowds were huge. The show is funded by voluntary contributions on the night and organised by our local community. This year money raised has, I think, doubled to something int he region of £6,600, so the omens are good for next year.

Here is a link to my little slideshow:

Click on the first thumbnail, then on "fullscreen" at the bottom.

Two Trips - addendum

Below are three maps to support my reply to RR's comments on the previous post: Two Trips:

The location of my car on Google Maps

Car was parked at southern end of the green route opposite Middle Low Wood

RR intimated that Ordnance Survey had blanked Sellafield, but here it is in great detail on the OS 1:25000 map

Friday, 3 November 2017

Two trips

Thursday 2nd November 2017 - Thursday walk with Pete

Eight o' clock, breakfast time; I go out to the garage to get bread for toast from freezer. Coming back I trip on the only step, it's not serious, but I skin a couple of fingers.

The cause: Crocs!

Not long ago I had a bad fall caused by wearing Crocs, slipping on wet tiles outside Aldi documented here:

Crocs are going in the bin.

I have worn them for years, but enough is enough. They are lethal in the wet, and because they are bulky and floppy they lead to slight misjudgements. I have read that they are banned for staff in some hospitals, especially in operating theatres.

This was Thursday walk day with Pete, but walking for me is not so good, and Pete is struggling with age and arthritis. I had thought we would go to Ambleside on a shopping trip, but the day was glorious and that was aborted and we managed to walk about three miles (there and back) north of Witherslack on a minor, grass-in-the-middle road with views down to the river Winster, and more distantly of the Lake District hills. I particularly enjoy these areas on the fringe of the Lake District with little ups and downs, rich green fields with rocky outcrops and largely unspoilt 17th/18th century cottages and farms. In those days they seemed to have a proficiency for nestling these buildings, oh so cosily into carefully selected havens in sympathy with the landscape, something that is not always achieved these days.

Returning to the car, which I had parked on the grass only two feet off the unfenced road we found we we were bogged down and all attempts to get back on the road just dug us in deeper. "Never fear" I thought, I'm a paid up member of Green Flag. Out with the iPhone - no signal with EE - a remote location with no passing traffic, and the cottages across the road unoccupied - doomy! BUT, Pete had two bars on Vodafone.

We got a guy at Green Flag with a strong Scottish accent who seemed unable to assimilate anything I said, but in the end we were fairly sure that we had been able to appraise him of our location, but then he would need to pass that on to another risking dilution - fingers crossed.

In this country we have Ordnance Survey mapping, the best in the world, which includes the OS Grid Reference system which positions a point on the map to within a few yards, but organisations seem reluctant to use it. I did try but I think the guy had no idea what I was referring to. The cottages opposite the car were named on the 1:50000 OS map which would have identified our position with no further detail required, but I suspect the guy was looking at Google Maps or some other inferior system. Why oh why?

We waited for an hour and three-quarters. That annulled our usual visit to Café Ambio, but I was back home in time for tea.


The car was parked just two feet off the road near here

Here and next - distant Lake District hills

There and back - south to north