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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


Friday, 16 February 2018

Leck in the rain

Wednesday 14th February 2018

Nine-thirty - post breakfast - still raining - rain forecast all day -  shall I shan't I?

Not having walked much in bad weather this winter after knee replacement on 29th November I awoke my Paramo waterproof/windproof/all-in-one trousers from hibernation. The jacket has been in use all winter.

Providing I have effective waterproof gear and have set my mind to making a good job of it I quite enjoy an occasional masochistic excursion in the rain, perhaps to prove to myself, smugly of course, how my experience has been honed to mastering such drama - what modesty !

Half an hour's drive from home took me to Leck, a village I have never before visited. Welcome was provided by the church: they have a huge almost empty car park with an honesty box suggesting a minimum one pound donation. I donated a bit more. I  hope they're not supporting Oxfam.

It was still raining sparsely. I was reluctant to get out of the snugly warm car, and had brought my little flask of coffee to give me a pre-walk boost, so I dallied a while.

A public footpath ran out of the back of the car park and right through the middle of the primary school which seemed a bit odd in these days when  nobody without MI5 clearance is allowed to mingle with children. Anyway it was half term and the school was closed. In the light of many recent events I have to agree that precautions need to be taken, but as with all of Health and Safety it gets out of hand sometimes.

After a section of Tarmac there was a short link footpath back onto the very minor cul-de-sac road that leads to a track which finishes on the slopes of Gragareth, but I wasn't going right up there today, just a little three mile circular.  Just before embarking on the short footpath a farming sort of guy came out of his cottage and we had a chat. He had lived there for five years, but he said he had previously lived in Gayle near Hawes, suggesting that I might not have heard of it. Well, I walked through there last April on my way to the Roman road and then over and down into upper Wharfedale, and we both reeled off the names of Oughtershaw, where he had gone to school, and then Beckermonds, and Raisgill where I had bed and breakfast - he certainly knew that wider remote area well - quite a satisfying little conversation.

It may be interesting for students of countryside navigation to look at the map below. I thought I had followed the path on the map steeply up a cow trodden hillside to a gateway and then down to another decorative iron gate bordering the road which would have convinced most that they were on the continuation of a typical parochial countryside right of way, but the gate was barred and padlocked! Looking more closely at the map (Memory Map GPS on iPhone) I saw I was about 50 yards south of my footpath, and when I marched back onto track there was proper access to the Tarmac road. Countryside navigation is often more tricky than it is in the mountains.

The road deteriorated with many serious potholes and the odd patches of ice. Fellside Barn marked on the map was undergoing extensive renovation, and the wokrmen's Radio One was blaring away from inside. The weather was certainly not viable for outside working with intermittent squalls and strong biting cold wind. After the barn I  turned off south on a muddy but sound track. Halfway along, descending through  woodland a buzzard flew up from the path fifty yards ahead, and when I arrived at its point of departure there was just shredded remains of a member of the crow family with feathers scattered all around.

When my track re-joined Tarmac I met a lady on the road trundling a wheelbarrow full of logs - she had been to raid her wood store to keep her woodburner going, and as I battled on, head bent into the rain and wind I imagined, with some slight envy, her cosy wood-fire living room, but no bother, I knew I was not far from the car now, and then back home to a hot bath.


Back to gate Number 2

The padlocked gate

I can't resist heather.
 And my contribution to  the ubiquitous snowdrop photos at this time of year

An illustration of  the trickiness of countryside footpath navigation. Note this is all much more apparent when enlarged like this, therefore more difficult if using the paper map.
From  gate Number I could see the gate at No. 2 and so was immediately distracted from the green path on the map; there was a path on the ground leading to Number 2.
 Shortly after Number 2 I was able to see Number 3 a prominent decorative iron gate leading onto the road confirming my belief that I was on the correct path, but it proved to be barred and padlocked.
From Number 2 back to the proper path is less than 50m - fortunately there was a gate in the wall to give me access back onto the path, and then another onto the road.



  1. Excellent read. Never been to Leck.

  2. Your illustration of your deviation from the path also demonstrates nicely why it is so beneficial to have 1:25k maps. Without the marking of field boundaries, it's far too easy to miss when a path nips across into an adjacent field.

    Unrelated to that, sorry for my silence of late. I have been happily reading your staged introduction of New New Knee to the outdoors, but for various reasons have been far too slack in commenting. Must try harder!

  3. Oh yes, mountain navigation is, for the most part, a walk in the park compared to negotiating field paths. Hilarious watching DofE groups trying to contend with this sort of thing. They can quickly end up way off course.

  4. I received my usual email notification of a comment on my post but it doesn't seem to have arrived ther - here is a copy:

    AlanR has left a new comment on your post "Leck in the rain":

    Excellent read. Never been to Leck.

  5. Gayle - Yes, I reluctantly agree about the 1:25, and as for countryside navigation remember our first ever encounter on the way into Cheddar.


    Beatingthebounds - We all have to start somewhere.


    Alan R - Thanks for your comment. It is surprising what you can get out of a little three mile walk sometimes. Although Leck is quite a charming little village I don't think you need to make a visit there an absolute priority.

  6. My bĂȘte noire is farm buildings. They never seem to be arranged to the map#s description. And they'e always covered in fresh slurry that *just* tops the ankle cuff on your boot.

    Good to see progress, Conrad.

  7. Query: If the radio had been switched to BBC Radio 3, would it still have been "blaring"?

    Retirement has modified some of my more extreme views. If a white van is trying to get into a line of traffic I'm a part of, I tend to let it in. Once I wouldn't have done this. Now I see white vans, together with lorries, buses, etc, as being driven by what the Americans used to call "working stiffs". I enjoy the luxury of not being a working stiff, and feel I should show some sympathy towards those who are.

    This principle doesn't make Radio 1 any more enjoyable but might make it understandable.

    Lech in Austria (surely coeval with your Leck) was the second coldest resort I ever skied, the other being in Canada. Each morning the chairlift would rise out of the valley, reach a certain ridge and I would be blasted by a wind direct from the Caucasus. That experience coloured my view against Lech. But not the Frenchman I once shared the chairlift with. He'd been coming to Lech for a dozen years and agreed that that cold wind always blew in that direction. "Always" he repeated. I formed the French sentence "Then you must lack imagination." in my mind but happily failed to apply it. I'm glad I did. However I can't take too much credit for this. A chairlift is a confined device to share with someone you have insulted.

  8. I’m always getting lost and straying off the footpath. Glad I’m in good company 😆

  9. Alan Sloman - Arnside Tower Farm not far from me falls into that category, but recently they have diverted the footpath round the farm avoiding snappy sheepdogs as well as slurry, and a welcome improvement to me. BUT, on Thursday in our local café, and by chance, I met the lady who is the mother whose son now operates the farm. She said she used to welcome meeting walkers passing through for a bit of conversation, so you can't please everybody. I reckon farming must often be a lonely business which some people find hard to tolerate. Although I have friends and socialise, I have no problem with my own company.


    RR - I know I am preaching to the expert, but here goes: choosing appropriate adjectives (if they must be used at all) is part of writing skill - Radio 3 would have elicited an entirely different sentence. Verbs also need consideration - it is so easy to say for instance "I went to the pub." Walked, crawled, flew, staggered?

    I have a similar attitude to your "working stiffs" and also the elderly - promoting conversation and asking questions can reveal rewarding anecdotes and information - everybody has a story to tell, but getting it out of them requires a bit of technique.

    You din't mention the likely scenario of being chucked out of the chairlift at altitude.


    Ruth - It's all part of the fun. When are you resuming your round Britain walk?

  10. Having been brought up in the wilds of Westmorland, mostly in the company of famers' sons, I have never been overly bothered by going the wrong way through farmland (or yards) in itself, but the serried ranks of dog tooth scars is testimony to the reasons for my aversion to those excitable guardians of the farmyard - legal footpath or no !
    How you are able calm the most raging of the beasts is a wonder to me.
    I'm not that sure about cows either, let alone goats. Particularly those with two foot long wildly curling sharply pointed horns.

  11. We always had dogs as a family so I suppose that laid some kind of foundation. There have been exceptions, and I have been bitten.

    THURSDAY, 26 JUNE 2014

    Woodhall Spar to Bardney

    An easy walk today following a previously trodden route from my Broads to The Lakes walk in 2009. That was not particularly on my mind until halfway up a quarter mile farm track a terrier dog appeared from the midway farmhouse and it was alarmingly aggressive, and then I remembered almost the same incident before, but different dogs that time. I say dogs because the terrier was joined by a Dalmatian and they both continued to harass me for a hundred yards or so. Last time I was actually bitten, and I think I was lucky to evade that today. I favour dogs and like to think I can handle them, but that was not the case today.

    AND The original incident same place 4 years erlier:

    THURSDAY, 24 JUNE 2010

    Day 13 - Short Ferry to Market Rasen
    TF 078 896

    I forgot to mention yesterday that I was bitten by a dog (yes Tom, it can happen to anybody). I was walking past a farm on a public footpath track and four dogs came out together barking and leaping round me. I stood my ground but a yellow Labrador bitch caught my hand, but fortunately didn't break the skin. I screamed and shouted as loud as I could and waived my arms and the dogs backed off a little but were still threatening. When I was about fifty yards down the track a woman came out of the farm but it was too far away to communicate and the dogs were still in between us so I just pressed on. It could have been a lot worse.

  12. there's an interesting paragraph or two in "The Shepherd's Story' about the increase in the number of heedless trippers and their untrained unchained dogs - he reckons that more farmers are carrying their guns these days and more 'tourists' should be aware that dogs worrying livestock can be shot by the farmer without recourse - does this apply in reverse ? maybe farmers are training their dogs to worry walkers - perhaps we should all pack a magnum alongside our magnets and mobiles . . .

  13. gimmer - Now that is the kind of comment that makes blogging worthwhile. I wonder if anybody specialises in 'lightweight" armoury for backpackers who take grammes seriously, and how much ammo per day would it be advisable to carry? But with our regulations you would probably need to carry a triple locked one hundredweight steel cabinet to keep the thing in.