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


Friday, 24 August 2018


Thursday walk with Pete - 23rd August 2018 - Holme

I enjoy my regular walks with Pete but often wonder what material I am going to find for a blog post. Today we had a number of fairly eccentric gardens presented to us at intervals, but there was no obvious connection, but they sparked off memories of such occurrences on my long walks

Sometimes, passing through  pretty villages, I note a succession of abodes with similar expensive fencing or fancy gates, or maybe a few houses together with solar panels on the roof. My erstwhile occupation involved selling and negotiating, and I have always been a sucker for a good salesperson. So I find myself imagining the professional who has had a good run in that locale, and I am not thinking of the bling adorned, BMW Sport driving, gift-of-the-gsb, sell-your-own mother type, more the suave, understated vendeur/vendeuse who has made such an impression flattering clients that they are only too pleased to recommend this charmer to their neighbours.

In between the quirky gardens an impressive hunk of stone with chiselled lettering, inlaid with gold proclaimed "Storth Ltd ." Behind there were extensive factory buildings, but no clue as to their operation. Later internet searching revealed their mission to be production of systems for controlling and handling slurry for farmers. I hope their control of slurry is better than their command of the English language - from their website:

"As the need for slurry storage increases due to government legislation, the value of slurry being put on the land at the optimum time and other outside factors, Storth offers an Above Ground storage in the form of Slurry Storage Tanks."

We enjoyed this little walk which we had taken against forecast showers which never materialised and therefore we may be seen as heroes. If we'd been drenched we would have been seen as foolish.


The top of that field  is the line of the Lancaster Canal which Pete and I walked in sections a few years ago providing much interest and many blog comments

For Alan R
 I only take photos of ones that look unusual. Alan may say this is not so?

Saturday, 18 August 2018

Friday, 17 August 2018

Blogger and photos

Fellow blogger Mark replied to a comment I made on his blog resulting in me referring him to one of my older posts which revealed the blanking out of its photos which I have been aware of for several months. I reply here to Mark, and for the possible benefit of others. I would be interested to hear of similar experiences and if anybody knows of a solution.

Mark - oin’t worry about the photos. blogger seems to have blanked all photos I have put on the blog in the past uploaded from my iPad whilst on the hoof. Photos put on from my desktop iMac at home have remained. I despair at Blogger’s continued autocratic and idiosyncratic behaviour.

Tuesday, 14 August 2018

Big Meanie

My walks are usually planned and rarely much altered and so it was today, but a new objective presented itself halfway through.

After a lot of faffing including emptying my Go-Lite backpacking rucksack from my recent trip and reinstating the relevant items in my day walking rucksack, I was off to a late start from Leck church  at 11:20am.

Once off the tarmac and onto the path I had a feeling of euphoria, contrasting the surrounding hills, cropped turf track and dales ambience with my recent trudging along soulless country roads with high hedges, and only occasional glances of  endless cultivated flat fields. For sheer enjoyment, apart from serious mountain walking, there is nothing to compare with the Yorkshire Dales, ok, I suppose some of this route was probably in Lancashire.

The track was well established and all delight leading to a steep climb on a well cut high bracken path. That lead out onto undulating moorland, and joy of joys, heather in bloom.  There is something about heather in bloom and its surroundings that supercharges my soul - is it not a bit early for it to be blooming?

Arriving at Ease Gill I looked down into the steep, thickly wooded ravine with an underlay of chest high bracken and was deterred to investigate the various potholes and caves lurking below.

I had been switching between Ordnance survey 1:25 and 1:50 on Memory Map on my iPhone and now looking again at the 1:25 I noticed a pothole named Big Meanie which could be incorporated in my plan to cut back to the Leck Fell road and possibly climb Gargareth.  There was no footpath indicated, but big Meanie was situated against a wall boundary which may have a path of sorts alongside, so I now had a new objective for the walk. I retraced steps back a few hundred yards to find the wall and sure enough there was a half decent path all the way back to the road. The location of big Meanie is not precisely indicated on the map. Just before I got close rain started. I found two significant sinkholes at the supposed point on the map, and took photos risking getting my camera wet and then trudged on. The rain increased with a vengeance - this was the really thick stuff where the metaphor of stair rods is appropriate, and they seemed to have some kind of extra force propelling them into the ground. My new Mountain Warehouse Pakka lightweight waterproof jacket did a good job  (£18.99) - that rain persisted almost for the rest of the walk, and back at the car I was still more or less dry - so much for your £100 plus, posh branded gear. Sadly I see their shop in Kendal is closing - I hope that is not the start of their demise.

Several hundred yards further on I found another much more distinctive sinkhole with a large tree growing from its middle, and again risked camera destruction taking a photo.  Internet searching I found that this was in fact Big Meanie which is not accurately positioned by OS. Big Meanie turns out to be quite a significant pothole undoubtedly needing a high degree of expertise for it exploration.

BIG MEANIE December 2016
This pothole provides a classic exchange with, or alternative route to, the
bottom of Death’s Head Hole (see separate description).
WARNING: The first pitch of Big Meanie is narrow at the top and may prove
strenuous particularly on the upward journey. Be sure that anyone entering
or exiting via Big Meanie has a suitable ability to tackle this. Loose blocks are
a hazard on all pitches in Big Meanie and appropriate care is required.
Big Meanie can be descended in moderately wet conditions. However, the
connection to Death’s Head Hole can have limited airspace in wet weather.

Dry conditions are required if planning to enter the Leck Fell Master Cave.

I have shown below a JPEG of the PDF file from the Council of Northern Caving Clubs website from which the above quote is taken but there is much more info if you want to look. If you can't read it:

CLICK HERE and follow link to PDF titled Big Meanie.

Needless to say say plans to visit Gragareth were abandoned and I walked back in heavy rain down the road. At one point I met a young guy happily repairing a drystone wall in the pouring rain dressed in an ankle length waterproof and listening to Radio 1 on his parked quad bike, and we had a brief chat, about, guess what, the weather.

Soon after leaving the tarmac

A brief spell through Springs Wood.
I branched off to look at a quirky bridge over Leck Beck,
see below

Map shows track leading back to Fairthwaite Park House, but not
a public right of way. That farm is on a list of farms used by an educational
organisation called Countryside Classroom - Google if interested
Leck Beck

You can see the cul de sac road, top left, leading to Bull Pot Farm: cottage used by Craven Potholing Club.
Crag Hill, pointy on horizon

End of the path at Ease Gill, my intended turning point.
 Ease Gill sweeps round to right and behind
the camera

Big Meanie

Leck Fell House. Must be one of the most remote farms in the country,
the road ends there. Gragareth summit above

Click to enlarge or follow link above

Thursday, 9 August 2018

Hellifield to Newport slideshow

Here is a Dropbox link to a slideshow with captions of my walk from

 Hellifield, Yorkshire


 Newport, Shropshire.

25th July


 5th August 2018


Click on first thumbnail, then click on two arrows at bottom to see as "full screen" slideshow with black background.

When I tested it seems to show each slide briefly then properly - a bit irritating but can't find a fix

Tuesday, 7 August 2018

Dsy 14

Sunday/Monday 6/7th August - Newport to home

I am now typing this at home.

My Air b and b in the centre of Newport was a first floor room annexed to a pub overlooking the yard where outdoor-smoker-drinkers caroused which made for  a kind of bedtime music - oh how tolerant I am? That was more than could be said for a black cuboid eight inch box that turned out to be a cooler for those awful little sachets of milk which in any case are long life and don't need to be kept refrigerated - this device made a continuous kind of humming hissing noise that was irritating to say the least. If I'd unplugged it would have been against the perceptions of the host for its need so I left it be.

It being Sunday I found that almost every eating establishment in the town was closed. Eventually I found a large fish and chip shop with seating for perhaps fifty. I was the only seated customer. Others kept drifting in for take-aways.

At first sight it didn't look promising, but the chips were to my liking and in particular the fish was cooked skinless, a must as far as I am concerned, and again not to everyone's taste, the batter was really crisp and crunchy - I was well satisfied.

Back at my pub I decided to have a cup of tea. Using a tea bag provided, and the aforementioned mediocre milk sachet I brewed up. The first taste was like Dettol. I presumed the cup had been washed with some kind of cleansing liquid that remained. I ditched the brew, filled the cup with boiling water, rinsed and dried throughly with a towel and re-brewed with a Yorkshire tea bag from the small supply I had brought with me. The result was exactly the same as before. I can only presume it was that awful milk.

Back at home I have a Peter Rabbit child's porringer with images of Peter running round the edge (Royal Doulton I think) - it goes back to my childhood and I remember eating porridge from it so it must now be seventy years old at least. I wouldn't say I attach too much importance to it, but it is a mildly cherished heirloom that has survived. As I vacated my room and walked down the drinker-smoker passageway a replica of my porringer caught my attention - it had been used as an ashtray snd had been despoiled by a revolting mess of squashed out fag ends.

Please click first photo to enlarge as slideshow 

The non-lift giving Air b and b

That is early morning heat haze, but a fair impression of Staffordshire/Shropshire countryside

Crossing the Shropshire Union Canal

Norbury millennium stone - one of four. I saw another further on

The Wrekin

Sunday, 5 August 2018

Day 13

Sunday 5th August. Near Eccleshalll to Newport. About 7 miles

Last night after leaving the pub it took me 40 minutes to walk back to the B and B. I have to say I was peeved about that especially as the host had even suggested driving me to Eccleshalll when i  enquired about pub transport before booking , and that is well beyond walking distance - she must have known my booking depended on a favourable reply to that enquiry and then she just ditched me.

This morning I set off in much heat and humidity and was soon all of a lather. I felt very tired. I hado expected to get fitter after a week or so. but at my age the opposite seems to apply. The temperature was 23 degrees forecast rising to 27 degrees. I only walked about seven miles but was absolutely bushed, and the forecast is the same tomorrow. Much of this walking through Staffordshire has been on quiet country lanes with high hedges and very few views. Quite boring really and demanding in the heat. Looking at my overall route, if i cut down to 10 miles a day it would probably take me another other three weeks which I cannot really afford b and bing every night. Taking rest days just adds extra cost without making progress. So I have decided to return home tomorrow and leave the rest for another day. I am sure my route becomes more interesting further down the country.

Working up to this trip  one half of me was influenced by cabin fever and me wanting to get back on the trail. Circumstances had dictated that I would be walking in school holidays making booking more difficult which has proved correct. The other half of me was suggesting leaving it to the back end after school holidays, and I reckon now that must have been the more sensible option, but there is no fun in being sensible all the time.

Saturday, 4 August 2018

Day 12

Madeley to near Eccleshalll, Staffs. Saturday 4thAugust - about 13 miles.

Last night at the pub I chatted with the bar lady who turned out to be the landlady. She very obligingly gave me a lift back to the b snd b in her brand new, shiny black Ford Mustang. When it started up I thought we were going into space. So my little bonus of walking the distance I missed earlier was thwarted.

Back at the B and B I sat and chatted with our host Kami and two other guests, one who was involved in the organisation of the Horse of the Year Show, and the other, a young a South Africsn cricketer over here playing for a local team" conversation majored on sport in general.

This morning I mad a quick visit to the Coop two minutes away while my phone was charging up - i had plugged it in last night but was still only at twenty five percent..

I walked down Red Lane, so marked on OS which was ok until the last hundred yards which were overgrown with nettles, brambles, and tthe ubiquitous Himalayan Balsam.

Coming out of Ashley in the road I met a guy high up on a grand, all white horse. He was a hunter and so was the horse. In a bit of subtle conversation I confirmed that the hunt is just carrying on as before.

Further on I met a couple unloading their two border terrier dogs and we had a good chat and they refilled my water bottle. I was offered a cup of te Gsyle, but declined - once again time was an issue.

I had understood I could get a lift to the pub and my host booked me in for 7:00 then told me she was going out and would have to take me at 6:15 so I had a hurried shower. I had further learned she could not pick me up and she would not be able to pick me up - the pub is a miIe and a quarter away.

I have had some pâté and a decent fish pie and am now  willing myself to set off on the trek back.

I am now struggling beyond to put up photos but Blogger seems to have changed its mind again about how it works.

I will have to pack in this not very interesting post and get back for a rest.

Friday, 3 August 2018

Day 10

Winterley to Madeley, Staffs - SJ 771 447 - about 10 miles - Friday 3rd August.

A bit of a mixed day. Pleasant road walking and tracks took me to south of Alsager where I found a farm shop and café. A bacon butty snd tea supplemented the tin of rice pudding i had back at the Air B and B.

Ages ago I bought a new tin opener and chucked it into my kit. Could I hell-as-like make it work. I took it to Laura my host who found it had a flip out lever, but even then we gave it up as a bad job. I will have great delight in bining it when I can buy one suitable for those approaching their eighties.

From the breakfast café a public footpath went accross wasteland. Even from the start I had to cross a ploughed potatoe field leaping from furrow to furrow. I lost the path about four times ( mostly my fault) and trekked through a perished crispy brown field crop intermingled with weeds. My socks were plastered with sharp grass seeds as if been propelled like lead shot. I stopped at a stile snd tried to de- seed the socks but it was going to take forever so I continued just wearing my compulsory black support stockings. In the middle of all this I fielded a phone call from Martin (PostCardFromTimpotley)
who was offering to give me some company. We had a few email exchanges and eventually agreed got meet with him approaching me from the opposite direction.. I was all geared up to snap my approaching butler but he suddenly appeared from a farm track on the left. What a gent! He gave me tea, opened gates for me, fed me bananas and sandwiches and as I know full well maintained his reputation as a good egg. Martin left me at one point to move his car and the nre-met me as before. I have to admit to being driven that last couple of kilometres to my Air b snd b but I am now seeing this more of a holiday than a dedicated trek. 

Martin had researched the area of my destination and was pessimistic. When i arrived Kami was the most welcoming host and her house, based on her Indisn background was full of interesting and new to me artefacts, pictures and other art expressions - wonderful. Ksmi is a non driver but she helped me with a bus timetable do I could go and eat at the Old Swan where I now sit typing after an excellent mesl, mainly poached salmon.

I had taken the bus to get here , bu when I walk back I will have filled in all but a few hundred yards of the distance Martin drove me.

Thanks again to Martin for his company and I'm sure he'll be glad to hear that my Air b snd b turned out to be so good, as did the Old Swan.

Wednesday, 1 August 2018

Day 8

Northwich to Winterley - OS grid SJ 747 570: -Wednesday, August 1st, about 15 miles.

Serve yourself breakfast had me off to a good start at 7:45. The Air b snd b had been excellent.

Walking down the Weaver Way in sunshine and shadow with the occasional cool breeze seemed to have a special invigorating ambience, and as far as Winsford the best walking so far; there was a unique kind of bright clear light. Huge piles of salt were evident accross the water - Northwich is renowned for its salt mines. 

At one point I met two teenage girls coming towards me. The first had just passed a malevolent swan guarding a brood of chicks right on the pathway. Girl umber wo was all of a dither not daring to pass. I blundered ahead waving my poles, not as brave as I might have appeared, and the swan sat it's ground hissing and making threatening gestures. I then had the pleasure of watching the second girl psyche herself up to go for it, and that she eventually did in a flurry of waving arms and legs and girly shrieks - all Google fun

At Winsford i surfaced from the river track and found Morrison's café where i took on food and tea and bought another bottle of Fanta.

I left the Weaver after that heading accross country and from there on the day went downhill. There was a stretch on the canal with no structured path, just hard knobbly, ankle twisting grass. I then had a treaturess kilometre on a very busy major road with no walkway. Branching off i was on the long distance path Crewe and Nantwich Circular Walk. I missed a stile and plodded half a kilometre accross an appallingly cow trodden field and had to return - these fields are so bone dry with hard lumps and cow-foot-plug holes walking is desperately awkward. I think that was the point when i realised i was no longer enjoying myself. Back on the proper LDP i  mounted what was the first of over a dozen  stiles all clones of each other, and many of these were doubles (over one, and in two yards over another.) they were cleverly designed to require my knees to bend more than i wanted and i struggled hard with them all, and the intervening fields were similar to the aforementioned. There was sbout two kilometres of this stuff. I arrived at a turning point in the path and took stock. I was well and truly weary, it was 4:30 and there was still another four miles of similar stuff to go. I realised i had underestimated the distance and it would mean a late arrival compromising time for sorting and eating. The resident farming gent came by with two aged yellow Labradors and he sympathised with me and suggested walking out to the road and the Coach and Horses to ring for a taxi. On all my walks I have never given in and always walked all the distance, but now I succumbed.

It is one of those facts of life that after deliberating long and hard to spend your money the potential recipients don't seem as eager to accept as you are to part. We rang over half a dozen taxi firms and none could oblige. I then rang my host, Laura. It turned out she is not resident at the Air b snd b but after toing and froiing with texts and phone ( I only had one bar on EE and kept losing signal) Laura managed to ask a friend in Winterley to come snd pick me up. I would have tried to hitch-hike but the route was do convoluted it would hardly have been possible.

I had a hurried shower and set off to walk about half a mile to the pub which i was given to understand provided food  it didn't!

I walked back and went to the Swan Lake Chinese restaurant which turned out to be a good choice run by an enterprising young man who already has a degree and is now embarking on studies for medicine. 

Back at the b snd b I decided to have a rest day. I spent ages on-line rearranging the date in my already booked Air b snd b for the next night, and booking this further day here where I am now typing next morning before walking 0.8 miles to th Coop to get some food. There is no breakfast here and Laura's resident house minder William is off to work and I am left in sole charge for the day.