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


Wednesday, 14 March 2018

Which way round?

Tuesday 13th March 2018 - Sizergh anti-clockwise

I think my main motivation for this walk was the thought of the café at the end. That was not to undermine the pleasure of the walk itself.  On a part-day outing it is debatable whether it is more desirable to have a café at the beginning, halfway round, or at the end. For this walk I could have arranged for any one of those by using a different starting point, but I reckon having a goal and a reward to walk to is part of the enjoyment so I rather prefer the café at the end.

This was just a variation of the walk I eulogised about recently CLICK HERE. For variety I went anti-clockwise. That is another decision one has to make on a circular walk: clockwise or the opposite? There is no definitive rule in my mind, each walk is different. I have noticed when walking with friends the opinion on this can differ, but the reasons seem to be so subjective as to be undefinable.

Sizergh Castle and its National Trust café is a popular launching point for walkers, and today the carpark was well used and there were many people wandering about wearing walking gear, or donning boots by their cars, but I only met two other couples on my walk, and the surrounding path variations are fairly limited - do some of these people just dress up in hiking gear to come to the café?

An initial flat section on a field track led to a rocky path climbing through a wood, then a rather unpleasant section up a quite steep cow trodden, tractor churned field took me to what would be the surprise view, if I hadn't been there before, across the Lyth valley to the distant Lake District hills with The Old Man of Consiton dominating - quite breathtaking the first time it is encountered. Sizergh Castle is now incorporated within the recently extended boundary of the Lake District national park.

Here one also finds Heslington church, and I took the trouble to investigate this modest establishment. It was built in 1762 from an endowment by the farmer at neighbouring Holeslack Farm, hence its isolated position a long way from prospective parishioners, but close for the convenience of the farmer, John Jackson, a strange mixture of altruism and selfishness.

Back at the café jam and butter scone and a pot of tea were taken as a row of oil paintings of the Sizergh Castle/estate owning Strickland family looked down on me from on high, I think they still live there but handed over to the National Trust a few years ago.

Distant Lake District hills across the Lyth valley

Zoom to The Old Man of Coniston

Helsington church

2.38 miles - 1.7mph including church viewing


  1. Well done Conrad. You have been busy. I’ve just caught up from my sick bed - finally resorted to visiting the doc today, and hopefully antibiotics will generate an improvement.

  2. Nice circuit.
    I for some reason tend to walk clockwise on short excursions. Freud could be consulted into my childhood to explain this.
    On longer walks or multi day efforts I become more practical - where is the wind, where is the sun, where is the accommodation, where are the difficult steps which are always easier up than down. I don't mind walking the guide book backwards because I tend to use the map.
    It's when you meet yourself coming back that I worry.

  3. Phreerunner - I hope you are on the mend now. I am trying to discipline myself to short walks with a couple of rest days in between weather permitting. I am also doing five ascents of my stairs ever hour (on the timer on my iPhone) and I am pretty sure that is having beneficial effect.


    BC - I agree in general with your considerations for direction. I seem to remember Wainwright wrote his Coast to Coast guide, or the Pennine Way guide backwards. I could never understand his reasoning - his subjectivity was more obscure than most. I did once meet myself coming back. With Pete on Tom Buihde above Glen Clunie. I took a compass bearing from the summit (perhaps on a sheep) put the compass in my my pocket and off we marched only to arrive back on the summit about ten minutes later.

  4. Clockwise or anticlockwise? For me it depends on which way looks to have greater interest. For example, I always do the circuit of the Newlands Valley anticlockwise because I wouldn't want to miss the delightful ascent of Scope End and the final descent to Little Town.

    On a foul day other considerations would play a part, wind direction and ease of escape (particularly in Scotland)for example.

    If the route is a low level one I'm not sure it matters but having said that I always walk clockwise round Buttermere, normally on the worst day of our usual July holiday in the Lake District.

  5. afoot - I reckon I also take into account the factors mentioned by you and the others - my question was really aimed at provoking a bit of discussion.

    BUT, there is a related situation. Imagine you are in a party of three on pathless terrain and a debate ensues about which detailed line to take over the upcoming half mile that you can see ahead. By the time the discussion has yielded a decision I reckon I could be three-quarters of the way across on a beeline (avoiding of course obvious obstructions) - sometimes so much detail is not required, let's just get on with it!

    Well I'm still here (just).

  6. Sir Hugh - I rarely have those debates because I walk with Lynne and as you say we ‘just get on with it’. In Scotland I don’t tend to do many circuits, circuitous routes maybe, but not circuits. One circuit I am looking forward to doing is the Bannisdale Horseshoe. I am eternally grateful that you found a copy of the Outlying Fells for me, although I hope I’m a long way from emulating the struggles of the figure depicted on the rear of the cover! That guidebook cost almost three times more than all the other Wainwrights put together. They were 90p each when I bought them.

  7. afoot - I am now keeping a lookout in charity shops for Outlying Fells.

  8. afoot - I have just done another post with suggestions for the Bannisdale Horsehoe - a post for clarity and to enable me to show maps which is not possible here.

  9. "do some of these people just dress up in hiking gear to come to the café?"
    I thought of you today as Mick and I donned Paramo trousers and Rab insulated jackets, together with our walking boots (not to mention buffs, 'technical' gloves and hats) to walk the half hour along cycle paths into Ypres. Once there, we went to a cafe. Whereas the people in the context to which you referred must dress as they do to try to fit in, we achieved the exact opposite - but we were as warm as we could be in the current negative temperatures (oh how I wished for my big down jacket, though).

    As for the clockwise/anti question, I put a little thought into this and concluded that I have no idea why I generally walk some of my local circuits clockwise and some anti. I've a feeling that I've stuck with the direction I first did them, although I do occasionally have a rush of blood to my head and walk one of the 'backwards'.

  10. Gayle - with your walking CV etc you're entitled to do anything you want in my book.

  11. Clockwise or anti-clockwise - I think my decision usually rests on the ascent and descent parts of the circuit - where will the steepest bits be and do I want to go up or down them?

  12. beatingthebounds - After taking those points. into consideration I wonder if being left or right handed has any unconscious influence on the decision?