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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, 21 July 2018

The Invasion of Barbon

19th July 2018 - Thursday walk with Pete - Barbon

Part of the enjoyment of a walk may arise from the get-away-from-it-all feeling, and part may come from unexpected happenings if they are pleasant. Since the second half of our route only serviced one or two properties on a narrow lane running as a loop from the main road I was confident we would have peace and quiet.

We had only walked a few hundred yards down the road after parking by Barbon church when the Church Mouse Café displayed a notice board stating "No lunches today." The reason given was the imminent invasion of "500+ school children"." A group of people were chatting outside the café and Pete said to me "That's Tim Farron." So it was (Tim is our local MP and erstwhile leader of the Liberal party.) A few yards further on another notice board announced that Tim was having a surgery that day in the adjacent village hall.  I had a memory of another walk on my own a few years ago near Barbon on an even lesser used and narrower lane which turned out to be in the process of full scale re-surfacing, with all the clamour and disturbance from heavy machinery - I guessed that was the one day in a fifty year period that this would have been done, and I had managed to pick it. 

We walked on and speculated on whether we would encounter the school children. Pleasant walking took us to the turning point and as we returned, at about half distance, from round a bend the first group of school children appeared, bearing down on us. Large groups were then continually encountered all the way back into Barbon. We stopped several times to chat with supervising teachers and learned that they were from Queen Elizabeth School in Kirkby Lonsdale. The whole school undertakes this 21km. walk every year on a compulsory basis, and never mind the predicted 500 mentioned on the notice board, we learned that there were actually 800 plus. 

That all made for bonus entertainment and it was good to see most of the children enjoying themselves - it may have been different if it had been a rainy dreich day.

Barbon war memorial

Tim Farron in the background

I never fail to be impressed by the public works and utilities architecture and building skills of the Victorians, even on this modest and insignificant bit of railway long since disused and dismantled. I couldn't find any reference after a brief internet search 
Our quiet grass-in-the-middle, pheasant populated lane before the invasion of eight hundred plus school children

They just kept coming and coming

A quiet afternoon in Café Ambio


  1. That's a coincidence.
    When we walked the Limestone Link from K.Lonsdale to Arnside in July 2015 we must have picked the same day as the school's annual walk. There were hundreds of them down by the Devil's Bridge, fortunately going a separate way to us.
    We met you in the Albion at the end.

  2. BC - I guess they would only just have set off from the school at that point. 21k seems quite a challenge for many young kids who probably have zero walking experience.

  3. "zero walking experience". As if you and your mates had a monopoly on the word and anyone else who dared to do it without Primus stoves, ice-axes, smartphones, compasses, etc, etc, hadn't got the hang of it. Mind you although "hike" (assuming I've got the meaning right) is surely closer to what you do, I can see why you might not care to adopt it. The origin sounds North American but the word has been further corrupted as a synonym for "raise" (eg, price-hikes).

    "Rambling" sounds directionless. Perhaps "forcing on" is more to your taste. But you must remember your lot are in the minority, it's you who need the qualifier, not the unmuscular people like me who, when it comes to locomotion, are "doing the best they can" (Damon Runyan).

  4. RR - why shoul you pick on that? I was only pointing out a potential problem - like putting a non driver in a car and expecting them to drive straightaway. I don't like either rambling or hiking. The former creates an image of a 1930s guy, smoking a pipe, wearing plus-fours snd a tweed jacket and carrying a haversack (another word that sounds soppy to me). The latter sounds too frenetic. I tend to talk about backpacking for a long walk, and perhaps day walk for days.

  5. I picked on that because in that sentence you used "walking" in a way that implied only the walking you do, ignoring the walking - a humdrum, day-to-day form of locomotion - most of us do. Those kids may not have done LEJOG (horrible acronym which undermines the concept since it hints that it's done at a trot) but they have walked. I suggested you're not entitled to use the word on its own, unqualified, since your idea of walking is a minority view. I walk to Tesco, you engage in something quite different when you strike out for distant B&Bs there to eat cake.

    Given your admission about "backpacking" you might have used "zero backpacking experience". As it is you seem to suggest the kids have made do with some other means of getting about, slithering along like snakes, perhaps.

    Was I that obscure?