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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, 31 March 2018

Wet Sleddale

Wednesday 28th March 2018

After churning through pathless, cow trodden quagmire a few days ago on Hollow Stones I vowed that future walks would be restricted to public footpaths as shown on the OS map in consideration of my knee recovery.

Today, with the best intentions, I set off on a circuit of Wet Sleddale. From the cattle grid start I walked up the Tarmac road and continued on the footpath to the north of the access road to Green Farm and Sleddale Grange. It was a completely pathless, knee twisting reed and moss swamp demanding careful navigation to find access points at the various field boundaries.  I emerged at Sleddale Grange and thankfully picked up the access road continuing to Sleddale Hall.

Sleddale Hall is famous because it featured in the film Withnail and I. I have visted before on several occasions. It seems that the buildings have been perhaps re-roofed and secured. As far as I could Google they are in private ownership and there seems to be no immediate plans for further refurbishment.

I descended to the stream where OS indicates the public footpath crosses. Here is a line of large boulders making for stepping stones, but with the final step at the other side missing. The stones were wet and green and projecting more than a foot above the fast flowing water and with not very flat surfaces. I had an immediate picture of me teetering from one to another then having an unpleasant fall into the stream which could have been more than serious. I opted for a Nick Crane and found a spot a bit higher up where the stream was not flowing so fast and just waded across at knee height. So much for my intentions of walking on benign footpaths.

Victorian post box at the end of the public road leading on to Green Farm

Across to the A6 and the Tata limestone crushing plant and the northern Pennines in the distance

Wet Sleddale reservoir from near Sleddale Hall

I think this is the actual current owner of Sleddale Hall. That sign has been there for years.

Sleddale Hall

I waded across avoiding almost certain catastrophe


  1. You must be mad. How to plan a walk that is as difficult as possible for a septuagenarian with a new knee. Just relieved you survived.
    Walk along your prom or come down and walk with me on the forest tracks on Longridge Fell.
    Take care.
    Your guardian angel.

  2. bowlandclimber - Oh dear. That is a dire warning which if it had come from almost any other source I would have pooh-poohed, but coming from you I will try and take it on board. BUT, I remember it was on a "forest track" that I caught a small branch across my ankle causing a wound that took six months to heal bringing with it other serious related afflictions.

  3. Conrad.
    You will be glad to hear there is a new campaign ongoing - Clean up our forest tracks.
    Specialised council cleaning vehicles are sweeping and hoovering up on Longridge Fell at this moment. Unable to upload a picture here.
    There are plans to start on footpaths soon if finance can be arranged.
    Ribble Valley Council are to be congratulated on this initiative.

  4. I presume that campaign will cease tomorrow (2nd. April)

  5. I've only been to Wet Sleddale once I think. I remember the walk as being very hard going and also having to wade across that stream. It is one of only a handful of places where I've seen a Short-eared Owl though.

  6. Beating the bounds - Hi Mark,

    28th July last year I saw a short eared owl on the slopes of Widdale Fell - SD 789 888

    "In the dim distance I spotted an unusual sized and shaped bird perched on a fence post and managed to get a quick zoom shot. The bird took off and came straight towards me, gliding superbly completing a detailed examination of this rare human - I must have been as strange to this Short Eared owl as the bird was to me. That kind of sighting is the sort of thing that makes a particular walk memorable - not a bad start to the day eh?"

  7. I must admire your ability and perseverance in finding worthwhile walks in the most uninviting of terrain: whenever I drive down the M6 or A6, I glance across at the Wet Sleddale valley and 'wonder' - I cannot recall any time when even the slightest desire to walk there ever occurred - the opposite, actually! To do so in current conditions and with your still mending limb is, perversely, both admirable and, as others have commented, not necessarily particularly wise - and, particularly, considering your prior knowledge of the terrain. Sun Tzu might have had something to say about the strategy!

  8. gimmer - I had a look at Sun Tzu and learned that he was supposed to be the ultimate military strategist, but then reading further I found that he seems to be a professional purveyor of quotes - one in particular that may be appropriate as I take on board criticisms from people whose qualifications should give me cause to take notice:

    "man know thyself."

  9. I dare say I'd have been equally discouraged by the slimy stepping stones. But what about your walking sticks? Might they have helped? Have held you in balance?

  10. RR - My poles would have been helpful but not sufficiently to put the odds in my favour against falling in. The poles were still massively influential in ensuring a successful wade across.