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


Sunday, 29 April 2018

Tuesday, 24 April 2018

Crosby Garrett

Monday 23rd. April 2018

As I wrote my previous post I Googled “Crosby Garrett cafés” and at a quick glance saw three listed by Trip Advisor which surprised me a little but I was more taken up with the concept of devising a circular walk taking in Crosby G halfway to indulge in the most promising of those three facilities since I had been thwarted by Crosby Ravensworth.

Route plotted, and just before setting off I decided to run through the three cafés more carefully. Typical of Trip Advisor all three turned out to be in Kirkby Stephen miles away from Crosby G. - if you searched them for a b and b someplace they give you examples many miles away from the requested location - useless for walkers.

Along with the aforementioned Crosby Ravensworth, there are no cafés in Crosby Garrett!

But the die was now cast. The planned walk looked attractive and there was a decent forecast, so off I went to start from Soulby - also caféless.

I suspect all the above was a bit of flannel implemented by my subconscious to  disguise the fact that my true motive for the walk was to conduct further trials with the newly acquired Zantec Ultra Light Mini Folding Chair.

Whatever the motive, after parking I set off wearing a shirt and a lightweight Paramo windproof jacket in consideration of the recent warm weather. Within a hundred yards I was shivering from a wicked, piercing wind from the west. I turned back to don a fleece and some gloves which by good fortune I had in the car.

The paths following Scandal Beck made for enjoyable walking, but with a good share of stiles which I am now finding only slightly less arduous.

At the furthest south I found a pleasant spot by the stream with ford and bridge and out came the new toy. I sat comfortably having coffee from my flask and a couple of fruity bars finding I could both descend onto, and arise from the seat without difficulty. I am sure this will now be carried permanently and I would even be prepared to take on the extra bit of weight for backpacking trips. I have Googled this product again and it appears to be unavailable at the moment, but some sites say "stock arriving soon" so if anybody is interested it may become available again - be prepared for a two week delivery time.

The rest of the walk was back on tarmac through Crosby Garrett, which is attractive and worth a visit, albeit caféless. There were only two cars passing me on the road back to Soulby. Deducting the time for the coffee stop I averaged just over 2 mph which is good for me in the circumstances and has me optimistic for further steady improvement.


Road bridge at Soulby

Soulby - village water pump (presumably unused)

Scandal Beck

Identify please - shaded, damp, riverside location - click to enlarge

Pleasant riverside walking

At first I thought the wooden bridge was attractive, then I noticed it is supported by a huge RSJ underneath.
Here I stopped for coffee and...

...deployment of the
Zantec Ultra Light Mini Folding Chair!
I placed it next to the rucksack for scale, but with it being in the foreground it appears taller than it is (actual height - 26cm.)

If you click to enlarge red dots show my route looking back towards Soulby

Entering Crosby Garrett

I don't think the lovely plastic windows go back quite that far

Crosby Garrett church perched on high

Sunday, 22 April 2018

Crosby Ravensworth

Friday 20th April 2018

This walk was nearly over before it started. A few hundred yards down the final approach road from the north I hit a pothole with incredible impact, but thanks to Kia's engineering there seemed to be no damage - phew!

I have often walked and cycled sections of the large area north from the River Lune, and east to Kirkby Stephen, then north to Appleby and bounded to the west by the M6. Recently I have taken to exploring it in more detail - much of this is limestone country with ancient lanes and sheep-cropped turf, often with extensive views to the south of The Howgills, with the northern Pennines to the east and the Lake District to the west, with endless variations of footpaths - magnificent walking country.

At just over seven miles this was the furthest I have walked since the knee operation. As always knees stiffened up in the evening, but were back to normal next morning - all very encouraging.

The walking was perfection except for the steep road climb out of Crosby Ravensworth followed by a short section of tedious farmers' fields and tarmac. At one point I missed the departure point from road to track and walked a couple of hundred yards round a bend in the road, but tout à coup, serendipity: a welcome bench at exactly the moment I wanted a rest and a swig of coffee. I had lunched earlier using my new acquisition which I hardly dare confess to but here it is:

I am fed up with the scenario where one says to oneself, "right, I'm going to stop for food or a rest" only to find oneself a mile further on not having seen any convenient spot to place one's bum. At only 293 grammes this item is light enough, certainly to carry for day walks. I intend to give it further trials and if it proves to be invaluable I may consider it for backpacking trips if and when I get back to them. It comes with a neat little bag making its somewhat cumbersome configuration easier to slot into the side pocket of a rucksack.

I bought this Zantec Ultra Light Mini Folding Chair through Amazon and it took weeks to deliver - I think it was shipped from China, but unfortunately I see it is now "no longer available."

This route was plotted so that Crosby Ravensworth would be halfway. I passed through here years ago with my Thursday pal Pete after an exhilarating three kilometre downhill mountain bike ride, and I was sure Crosby R had a café. *I was wrong! If anybody knows differently and I missed it I don't want to know.

* I've just discovered the cycle ride with Pete was to Crosby Garrett which abounds with cafés.

Definitely worth clicking to see these as slideshow
Perfect parking 

Ideal walking terrain

I was not sure if this feature was man-made or natural - the arrangement of the stones appeared to be natural

Left - High Street, the pointy one: Kidsty Pike

Wet Sleddale reservoir - scene of my recent walk and the Shap cement works in the foreground

Zoom to Jct. 39 on the M6. The car heading towards the pylons is on the way down into Shap village


More perfect walking - distant Howgills

Just before the steep road climb out of Crosby Ravensworth

Stone circle - looks like it was there before the wall

Thursday, 12 April 2018

Finter Gill, Dent

The Kendal Grufties are an enthusiastic mountain biking, adventure seeking couple I met on my recent walk in Kentmere, and they have since commented here, and in particular steered me to Finter Gill. 

The gill is a savagely deep cut ravine rising up the hillside south-west from the village of Dent.

Dent is a quirky village in the Yorkshire Dales, but a village with attitude which is impressed upon your feet with discomfort as you walk the mini-cobbled narrow streets. Here was the home of the Dent Knitters, also known as The Terrible Knitters of Dent operating a thriving home knitting industry for centuries. They employed a unique method with one of the needles fixed to a belt enabling these industrious women to demonstrate, so long ago, the ladies' ability to multi-task by additionally churning butter or whatever other pursuit suited. They were often in trouble for continuing to knit during the long sermons in church.

As if that wasn't enough for Dent it was also the birthplace of Adam Sedgwick in 1785 - he advanced the study of geology, but for a man of profound intelligence he let himself down (in my opinion) by opposing Darwin’s theory of evolution, but that doesn't seem to have had a major influence on his still acclaimed standing - here is part of a letter written to Darwin after the publication of Origin of Species - Darwin had been  a pupil of Sedgwick's, and surprisingly, despite Sedgwick's opposition to The Origin they remained friends.

"If I did not think you a good tempered and truth loving man I should not tell you that... I have read your book with more pain than pleasure. Parts of it I admired greatly; parts I laughed at till my sides were almost sore; other parts I read with absolute sorrow; because I think them utterly false and grievously mischievous — You have deserted—after a start in that tram-road of all solid physical truth—the true method of induction and started up a machinery as wild I think as Bishop Wilkins's locomotive that was to sail with us to the Moon. Many of your wide conclusions are based upon assumptions which can neither be proved nor disproved. Why then express them in the language & arrangements of philosophical induction?"

The ascent of the Gill is by a steep rocky path. In recent days and weeks we have had more than our share of rain but the stream in the gill a hundred feet or more down was only a trickle. Considering the depth of the gorge and the force that must gave been required to carve it out today's lack of forceful water after so much rain was a mystery. Before the path rises above the stream there is a large  flatbed of limestone with the stream running over and a small plaque high up on a tree announcing "Dancing Flags".

Higher up there are gaunt and gnarled tees creating quite a spooky atmosphere especially in the haunted light of this dismal day. After topping out I was onto high level classic dales tracks taking me south-east with views across Dentdale where the sun was making a brave attempt to shine on the slopes of Aye Gill Pike. More track and footpaths descended to take me back to Dent.

Stone Close Tea Rooms provided welcome tea and cake.


On the way to Finter Gill out of Dent. Pity about the wheelie bin

There is to me something enchanting about drystone walling, here skilfully enhanced by a magical little well

The sign announcing Dancing Flags (see photo below)

Dancing flags

Where are the witches?

Lime Kiln

From top of Finter Gill - it drops very steeply after this - note lack of much water

This and next two looking across Dentdale to Aye Gill Pike and the sun's struggle to get through

The old dales tracks

Friday, 6 April 2018

From Barbon village

Thursday 5th April 2018 - Thursday walk with Pete

What a glorious spring day. I walked without gloves for the first time for many a month with Paramo jacket stowed away in my rucksack.

At our furthest point near Low Fellside I noticed the unmistakable signs of a disused railway and research has now revealed that there was a branch line running from Ingleton joining the main east coast route at Lowgill near Tebay. It must have been an attractive scenic route.

From Wikipedia:

The Lancaster and Carlisle Railway built the Ingleton Branch Line from the existing Ingleton Station to Low Gill.[2] By the time the branch was completed in 1861, the L&CR was operated by the London and North Western Railway (L&NWR).
After formal closure the line was still on occasions used for weekend excursions and to transport pupils to and from local boarding schools. Goods traffic continued until 1 October 1964. The line was maintained as a possible relief route until April 1967 when the tracks were lifted.[3]
Sheep and their lambs were abundant and more than usually voiciferous on both sides of our quiet country lane. On our return journey a couple of lambs had escaped onto the road and despite our best efforts we couldn't get them to go back, but a couple of hundred yards further on we told the farm lady who was tending sheep in the next field. Some of her sheep were almost black in colour the like of which I had not seen before - she told us they were Zwartbles.

 From Wikipedia:

The Zwartbles is a breed of domestic sheep originating in the Friesland region of the north Netherlands. There it was primarily used for the production of sheep milk as well as lamb and mutton. They were often kept alongside dairy cattle herds.

Low res. photo from Wiki

Barbon Low Fell

Waiting for spring

Middleton Fell

The old railway near Low Fellside