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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


Saturday, 10 February 2018

The Tender Trap

Friday 9th February 2018

Old Blue Eyes sings, 

"You hurry to a spot, that's just a dot on the map
You're hooked, you're crooked, your caught in the tender trap...

...and soon there's music in the breeze"

Writer(s): Sammy Cahn, Jimmy van Heusen

I spend a lot of time browsing the map. There are many locations I have earmarked to visit some day, usually because of some building or  feature set in unexpectedly remote, or out of character terrain. I am a born nosy parker.

Although I have walked the ridges to the north-east and south-west of Bannisdale (see map below) one of my earmarks for many years has been to walk up the track to see the isolated farmstead of Bannisdale Head nestling tightly under the steep head of this wild valley.

This was not a romantic encounter like the song, but it was similarly uplifting, and that phrase "dot on the map" has always fired my imagination. 

When ticking off Wainwright's Outlying Fells with Bowland Climber (9th may 2016) we parked near Dryhowe Bridge to ascend Whiteside Pike, and walk the Bannisdale horseshoe. There was just enough room against piles of road stone at the end of the public road. Today those piles had increased and I couldn't find room, nor anywhere else within reason. Looking at the map I saw footpaths came in from Thorn Cottage further north back up the A6, so I drove to set off from there.

At the start a sign indicated I was initially on part of The Millers Way, a long distance path I had not previously heard of running from Kendal to Carlisle named after Mr Carr the biscuit man who moved his business from Kendal to Carlisle in 1831, supposedly using an approximation of this route - looks interesting - could it be dome in bits using public transport?

A boggy climb and traverse got me back over into Bannisdale to emerge only a couple of hundred yards from where I had been unable to park. I immediately realised that if I had continued from the end of the public road there would have been plenty of room to park through the gate just the other side of Dryhowe Bridge - ah well.

All was silence up Bannisdale with intense blue sky, a nippy wind to walk into (...and soon there's music in the breeze")  and providing welcome assistance on the return.  High valley sides with craggy outcrops and intriguing, mysterious gorges gave a sense of enclosure, and just peaking above the skyline at the end of the valley toppings of snow on higher, distant Lake District hills.

The farm house at Bannisdale Head was apparently unoccupied but well maintained, as was the Land Rover track I was walking on. It looks as though the farm and its buildings are used more for storage or an advanced base for farming management on the hills. I found a convenient stone to sit on and had my sandwich and flask of coffee and quarter of an hour of quiet contemplation.

The round trip was 5.5 miles - average speed including the food stop 1.2 mph. That is the longest so far since my knee replacement eleven weeks ago - I was in no hurry.


Red dots indicate my route over into Bannisdale

Halfway to Bannisdale Head up the Land Rover track - nb snow covered hills beyond


  1. That was a good walk. Your lateral thinking re-parking was excellent.
    Was that on Wednesday, the best day of a dismal week?
    Just been talking to Alan Bates he was up on Great End gullies the same day. I reckon he had the best of it.

  2. Bowland Climber - It was yesterday (Friday) - I have now started putting the actual date of the event in red at the beginning of each post. Have you any comments re the Miller's Way - don't tell me it is one that you haven't done!

  3. Touché
    Carr's say I've heard of it but a quick look at the LDWA site has me interested.
    Well spotted, takes the biscuit.

  4. Great to see your continuing improvement, and love the quote at the beginning of the post. I find half the fun of a walking trip is in the actual planning.

  5. Ruth - They don't write songs like that anymore. One of my favourites for clever lyrics is: I'll always be true to you in my fashion:

    Mister Harris Plutocrat
    Wants to give my cheek a pat
    If the Harris pat means a Paris hat, pay, pay

    And there's much more if you care to Google, unless you know it all by heart.

  6. Your lovely photographs and description had me reaching for the map Conrad since it’s not an area of the Lake District I know well. Unfortunately parking our motorvan would be an issue even though it’s not a large one, so a visit would be difficult. Maybe on our regular summer trip to the Lake District we should bring the car along as well which would solve the problem - at a cost, but worth it I think.

    A good excuse to buy Wainwright’s ‘Outlying Fells’ too.

    Good to see you getting out again and doing good distances on your new knee.

  7. Afoot - Hi Gibson. From south to north there are a series of similar valleys running west from the A6 north of Kendal all worth exploring, either as valley walks or horseshoe walks round the rims. The laltter can be a bit rough going with only marginal paths, but well worth the effort.

    Long Sleddale
    Wet Sleddale

    1. Thanks Conrad. Now, about that new Wainwright guidebook.

  8. Afoot -Wainwright’s The Outlying Fells of Lakeland was the last of his guide books and covers the smaller hills around the perimeter of the Lake District with the proviso of the hills being within the boundary of the National park (that boundary has recently been extended.)

    There is a revised version by Chris Jerry with some additional indexing making it easier to find one’s way around W’s eccentric system. These minor hills lead one to all sorts of unexpected places and with my friend Bowland Climber we found it a most rewarding experience to tick them all off. Many are situated in and around the valleys mentioned in my comment above.

  9. I've never been up the valley Conrad. One to addd to my 'to do' list'.

  10. CORRECTION !!!!!


  11. beating the bounds - There didn''t seem to be much wildlife up there, but the atmosphere and surroundings certainly made it a worhtwhile trip. I am sure if you ventured up the valley we would have a wealth of impressive wildlife photos.

  12. Sir Hugh - Thanks Conrad. I tried to find Jesty’s book but it appears to be out of print but I’ll have another search. There is a first edition Wainwright copy at about £3700 though!

  13. Gibson - can you confirm your email address please. I have it as:

  14. I didn't know you were a fan of Ernest Dowson - you will be quoting Swinburne next !

  15. gimmer - I can't see your connection with Erenest D despite reading about him on Wikki - I'd never heard of him before. His life story hardly brightened my breakfast this morning.

  16. Your favourite lyrics come originally from Cynara by Ernest Dowson who was a friend and follower of our Algernon - I'm pretty sure that he also wrote a poem with very similar wording - 'I'll be true to you, Cynara, in my fashion, I'll be true to you, (darling ? - scans better with this word in) in my way' whereas Dowson uses thee and faithful - but I couldn't find it on-line and my collected works of ACS are deep in my archive of cartons of jejune fancies, undisturbed for many decades !
    Meanwhile, here in deepest Somerset, there are, of course, as yet, as in Westmorland, no hounds of Spring on anyone's traces.
    Sickening, isn't it ?

  17. gimmer - I lnow you are widely and eclectically read but this chap Dowson seems to be a bit off piste even for you. I would be intyerested to know how you made his aquaintance, and then what made you want to delve further.

  18. You remember Mr Cunningham ?? enough said - actually it was Swinburne , not Dowson , he introduced us to - hence my earlier comment

  19. Gimmer - Mr C was also my English teacher. English was the only subject I was any good at. I once failed to do my English homework and went to confess to Mr. C in fear and trembling - He just said. "I don't care. I've passed all my exams." But he was a reasonably inspirational teacher, one of the very few at BGS in my opinion, but then I was in much lower echelons than you.

  20. So: Dowson, Swinburne, Cole Porter, and Thurber. And Gimmer uses "jejune" my favourite put-down adjective after "rebarbative". It pays to follow your comments list right to the bitter end. One reason you may not have heard of Dowson is that he is described as an English Decadent poet.

    I see you admit to quiet contemplation but offer no subject. Perhaps you belong to the Yorkshire Dales School of Contemplation whose exemplar was asked (obviously by someone from the south-east) what he was pondering. "Maistly nowt," he replied. For years that has passed as wit in Yorkshire. But no one (before me) has been mean-spirited enough to point out that the ponderer was something of a faker, apparently given to simulating contemplation. A very subtle point.

  21. RR - I would have thought decadence would have made him a more likely character for one to become acquainted with.

    I'm not sure where Thurber comes into this - I must have missed something, not as obvious as his "We have cats like most people have mice."

    As for my repressed quiet contemplation - no comment.

  22. Thurber cartoon showing windy day: Woman (with handmuff) shouts to man (inexplicably on sledge): "I said the hounds of Spring are on Winter's traces - but let it pass, let it pass."