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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


Wednesday, 20 June 2018

Littledale and Mallowdale

Tuesday 19th June 2018 - 9.1 miles - Littledale and Mallowdale

The majority of my walking has usually been solo, but I seem to have walked over various sections of this route several times always with others.  In November 2013 I walked a fair section of it with Gimmer And in June 2016 The Lancashire Witches Walk with Bowland Climber coincided, and that walk was discovered by me in June 2016 when investigating a witch's way-mark on a gate whilst walking on another part of this route on a Thursday walk with Pete:

A gate fifteen yards off the road closed off a track. There was a footpath sign, and we could have just walked on - I see many of those which usually turn out to be just a general indication of a public right of way, but something jarred in my mind. Researching the map for this walk I hadn't noticed a public right of way marked here, so I went to investigate. The sign was for the Lancashire Witches Walk  

Back home I chatted with Bowland Climber on the phone in the evening and he was enthusiastic to take on this attractive little fifty-one mile route which we could do in sections, either devising circular walks or using two cars for linear stretches.That is what I mean by "making things happen."

Today I wanted to do another 9 miler with the objective of building up to a 12 miler and then  possibly recommencing my Berwick to Castle Carey walk from Hellifield where my knee packed up back in April last year. This time I would try and restrict daily miles to around 12. Certain commitments dictate that this would be after 26th July, so a bit more time to work up to and assess my capability.

As I was driving from Caton I passed two young girls walking and parked perhaps three quarters of a mile further on. After I had been walking in total silence for about half a mile  I heard babbling behind me and although I thought I was walking fairly quickly the two girls had caught me up - they were chatting with overlapping conversation, non-stop, it sounded like a high pitched Bach fugue from behind, and then they passed quickly with pleasantries..

The walk up Littledale was varied on good tracks and paths, through some woodland and fields and all quite remote. An abandoned church was passed - strange how so many churches are built in places of isolation,  one wonders where the congregation came from. I could find nothing on the Internet about it.

At Haylot farm the farmer, the only person I met all day, told me of a landslip on the path ahead. There was a "path closed" notice and I tried to divert, but barbed wire fencing had me beaten and I returned to the notice and went steeply down through the woods on the path to find the landslip at the bottom before crossing the stream. I sat on my bum and sort of dropped off about three feet and the problem was solved - it is so often the case that closed footpaths remain negotiable with care, but it is of course a gamble when you proceed.

There were a few places where I lost the path, and although only short led me into disproportionately time consuming, marshy, tall reed infested terrain, but the whole walk was in a quiet area with outstanding views throughout - a splendid day out.

A bit of quiet road to start with - the two girls wouldn't have been far behind

At the bottom of the road I turned left to walk up the Littledale valley defined by the long line of trees stretching  towards the distant hills and Mallowdale

Pleasant walking. typical of much of the walk

Abandoned church

Now used by nesting birds and some farmer who suffers from the opposite of OCD whatever the opposite is

Littledale Hall - a rehab centre for people recovering from drug problems - there are more details on the walk with Gimmer (link above) when we walked past the other side. This zoom shot from afar - looks like visiting day with lots of people milling around.

Alongside Artle Beck, I wonder why it isn't called Littledale Beck?

Ahead towards Mallowdale and the even more remote part of the walk.
 Haylot Farm is visible top left

CLICK TO ENLARGE. The little bits of blue route are where I missed the way, and where I searched for an alternative to the closed footpath


  1. I have walked some of your route here but not all of it. Its a splendid walking area and bigger than you might think when just glancing at the map. On a sunny day its worth visiting. Your lucky being in such close proximity.

  2. So good to see your mileage increasing and plans being made for walking trips. This looks like a wonderful walk. Glad you managed to make it through the closed section.

  3. Ah those babbling girls. (Babbling: talk rapidly and continuously in a foolish, excited, or incomprehensible way) Quite unlike their observer, austere and alone with his profound thoughts. Great to be a guy in the oughties.

  4. Alan R - Yes there other variations which may get my attention n the future.


    Ruth - I think you are the expert at forging on along routes with an unknown outcome - bravo!


    RR - I throw these little pleasantries in just to show that I am aware of the mundane world around me.

  5. If I were you I'd stay away from the mundane world. Just look what happened to the hideous Lord Sugar when he incautiously strayed.

  6. I have a general policy of ignoring path closure notices in the UK and have managed to get through the cause for the closure far more times than I've had to turn back. One that really sticks in my mind was just up the road from Ribblehead where the closure notice wanted me to walk 12 miles around due to the reconstruction of a bridge (so maybe for the sake of 20m of path in total). I opted to walk dryshod across the ford instead.

  7. Artle Beck is lovely, it's a shame there aren't more stretches you can walk along. I'm intrigued by the abandoned church - I haven't been there, I shall have to investigate.

  8. to go 'off topic' - again: talking, as we weren't, about babbling girls - did you know that a significant proportion of the increased hospitalisation and even death rate among aged males in London in the present 'heatwave' is being ascribed, by some analysts and medical journalists, not to the heat, but the garments (if such a term can be applied) being worn by such selfsame 'babbling girls', causing first palpitations then actual heart attacks, as they stride along . . . so I am informed - reliable sources - etc etc . . .