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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


Thursday, 28 February 2019

OS Grid 38 (northing) SD 305 380 to TA 269 379 - Day 7

Wednesday 27th February 2019 - Near Ponden  (SD 736 378) to Saltaire (Salts Mill)


We reckon car logistics have been stretched to their limit now. We both managed to arrive at Salts Mill visitor car park by 9:00 am but only because we had set off in good time - heavy traffic at rush hour hampered us again on the drive to our previous finishing point at Oldfield SD 993 377 where we found our minor road closed near Moor Lodge Farm SD 979 379 enforcing another time consuming diversion. We eventually started walking at 10:00 am.

After all that car time we had a few problems with footpath closures and fiddly navigation until we eventually met up with the River Worth at the bottom of Hey Lane - SD 020 376. From there the walk following that river all the way to Mytholm was the highlight so far on the whole walk - idyllic green-turf-paths with the river sparkling and chortling on our right, and bright sunshine, warmth and a balmy ambience redolent of other summer days.

There is very little modern building in these parts, just single cottages, farmhouses, rows of cottages, and seventeenth century mill owners houses all built from comforting yellowish stone glowing in sunshine today. At Mytholm we left the River Worth now on its way to join the River Aire which we would be encountering later further downstream. A steep road climb took us onto the high ridge heading for Harden with that top-of-the-world feeling and views all the way back to our starting point high up the Worth valley - splendid. At the start of that ridge above Mytholm was an unusual expensively stone built mini housing development like some ostentatious commune for the nouveau riche with everything a bit over-the-top especially the fancy, golden gates.

After crossing Keighley Road we spotted Catstones End, an apparently quarried outcrop on the horizon and we pondered about its climbing potential. I found little information from Googling - BC may do better?

From Harden we walked through St Ives estate with broad paths and mature woodland being aware that there is much more to see there:

Bingley St. Ives, or St. Ives Estate is a 550-acre country park and former estate between Bingley and Harden in West Yorkshire, England now owned by Bradford Council. The park has Grade II listing in the English Heritage National Register of Historic Parks and Gardens of Special Interest. Wikipedia

Old bridleways lead down to Beckfoot and its attractive pack-horse bridge where we now joined the River Aire following to Cottingley Bridge only about a mile from the house at Cottingley where I lived shortly after being married.

This is probably the last attractive part of the Aire before it runs into more industrial surroundings and eventually giving itself up to the Ouse. We arrived st the Leeds Liverpool Canal and walked on the opposite bank back to Salts Mill as the sun lowered and the light became even more golden. This has been the best day's walking so far for this project.


Heavy traffic slowed our return to our starting point and by the time I left BC it was dark, and on the narrow country roads there were no road markings, making for stressful driving until I got back to Laneshaw Bridge and civilisation, and it was 7:30 before I arrived home.

Just leaving the car

Perhaps they've gone onto gas?

Typical stone built properties

Bottom of Hey Lane I think - where we joined the R. Worth

The attractive path alongside the R. Worth - looking back.
We wondered why nobody has incorporated this into a quality long distance path.

Now a rare sight - these mill chimneys were prolific even within my memory  If you want to know more Google Fred Dibner - a colourful steeplejack guy who specialised in felling these, often using fire!

Panic to get a zoom shot as this appeared far down in the valley  It's difficult to find the object at that large zoom and I was glad to get this result, albeit somewhat curtailed

Typical stone built housng - climbing out of Mytholm

Cobbled ginnel leading us out onto the tops above Mytholm

Looking back up the Worth valley over Mytholm. Our day's starting point is round the corner, high up on the central distant ridge

The strange nouveau riche commune - note the ostentatious gstes in next photo

On the ridge from Mytholm to Harden. Cattstones was just coming into view on the horizon

Bingley in the distance

This and below - in St Ives

Ex reservoir building - now a modern architect designed house - SE 101 388

Riverside mill buildings, often converted into housing like this are common but little remains of the water power infrastructure.

Beckfoot Bridge and our meeting with the River Aire

BC gets a photo of the Aire from Cottingley Bridge

Down the Aire not long before it becomes more continuously industrial

Along Leeds snd Liverpool Canal approaching Salts Mill as the sun is lowering

A hundred yards from our parked car

Tuesday, 26 February 2019

Why I didn't go to uni.

At Bradford Grammar School I sat eight O Levels and passed six. That was regarded as total failure. In any case we had been streamed: bright boys having the option of science or modern, and to be groomed for BGS’s only mission in life: to secure Oxbridge places.

The rest were put into X or Y forms, me to RX. I always said the Xs were for the lazy and the Ys for the intellectually challenged. Nobody from X and Y ever went to university a far as I remember. The possibility had never been mentioned to me and I was too immature to think about it for myself. When I went home and reported to my father (an autocratic FRICS chartered valuer and auctioneer) he said, using a word that I think he invented apart from an obscure irrelevant meaning in my dictionary. “what’s that, the skugs form?

I was recently jolted into wondering about my lacklustre education and analysed it subject by subject, particularly during the year leading up to O Levels.

Maths: a lady teacher who had no control whatsoever of the class - mayhem most of the time.

History: the master was also in charge of the school cadets. Almost without exception he vacated the room for the whole lesson to commune with his aspirant soldiers saying to us “read the next chapter.” He was incidentally our form teacher.
Art: a German or perhaps Austrian master who was ok if you showed some promise, but brutal if not. I did well with him in practical art and also History of Art. Unfortunately he was also the woodwork teacher. I spent a whole term making a wooden cuboid six inch box with dovetail joints. When proudly finished I took it to show. He had one look then shouted, with a thick Germanic accent “You make fire-vood’ and then threw it across the room where it landed in pieces.

French: a guy who had a snidey objectionable character with bad breath and mean with punishments, but with an unlikely knack for getting the basics of French Grammar into you - that has stood me in good stead in later years but there was little pleasure at the time.

Geography: a master who terrified us all with aggressive dogmatism and also by sweeping an eight foot map case across our heads. He also walked up and down the aisles between desks dishing out vicious backhanders to the back of pupils' heads - he went on to become a headmaster at another grammar school.

Chemistry: another master who had no control of discipline. This subject was totally incomprehensible to me and because of that I saw it as futile to try, rather reserve myself for subjects where I at least had some grasp.

English Lit. and Eng Language: Two subjects where I excelled being nearly always first or second in the class. I remember one inspirational master, and another who ran the school library and always interestingly reviewed new book arrivals for us during the lesson. There was s good library and it was one of the few areas where I benefited.

Corporal punishment was rife. I was caned twice by the deputy head and thrashings in front of the class with a gym shoe were commonplace. My elder brother who preceded me at the school was thrashed for having big feet.

Another bizarre custom compelled pupils up to Fourth Form to use the splendid twenty five metre swimming pool without wearing swimming costumes. There was one master in particular who always volunteered for pool duty although nothing untoward ever happened to my knowledge, but he was a standing joke amongst us: "Don't turn your back on Mr S."

On one occasion I was referred to the headmaster by the obnoxious, foul breathed French master on an issue that I strongly felt was unjustified. In the course of my meeting with the head in his study I tried to put my case. In response I remember the head saying “Do you think my staff would lie to me?” As a vulnerable fourteen year old I crept off subjugated. Oh how I would like to be back in that exchange now!

Me - “Well that is an interesting question Mr N, I have just been reading an anthology on environmental ethics and it covers the moral aspects of lying - perhaps we could discuss that a bit further - have you any thoughts on this?”

Headmaster (thinks) - Mmm… perhaps we’d better put this lad down for Oxbridge?”

OS Grid 38 (northing) SD 305 380 to TA 269 379 - Day 6

 Sunday 24th March 2019 - Nelson centre to North of Ponden (SD 993 377)

I had plotted the route to start from the east end of Ponden reservoir - Google Earth had shown me  ample parking in the entrance to the road over the dam. I arrived early, took photos in the early morning sunlight - what a fabulous warm day - and drank coffee from my mini flask before BC arrived. BC had identified a better finishing point from the road high above Ponden to the north so we de-camped to leave a car at the new terminus, then we drove to Nelson. 

We walked though the attractive park in Nelson and it is to be hoped local authorities will still be able to maintain these spaces often donated by wealthy philanthropists in Victorian times.

We had spotted a supposed hill fort on Little Gib Hill and diverted to investigate - like many such antiquities marked by OS this turned out to be what I call a figment of the imaginations of zealous archaeologists.

At Doughty Farm we were pestered for several hundred yards by a pesky, snappy Jack Russell. Between that farm and Wiil 'o th' Moon farm we encountered the first badly cow trodden fields on the whole of this project so far. That was coupled with a network of baffling paths, hard to navigate, especially with the distraction of that little dog and its mistress chasing behind ineffectively trying to recall it.

Better walking ensued as we sauntered through pretty Trawden then crossed and followed part of our Bronte Way path from May last year south of Wycoller. We chatted with two young lady fell runners - inspirational they were - getting out there doing their stuff.

We were now into a  stretch of wild moorland with a decent path leading to Watersheddles Reervoir -   my kind of walking. We found the path between the edge of the reservoir and the road this time having irritatingly walked down the road on our Bronte Way trip.

From the end of the reservoir we were on the road back to the car, but from the higher branch it was quiet and culminated in fine views of Ponden reservoir far below making us appreciate BC's wise decision to follow this higher ground.

Another excellent days walking with all day sunshine, but much haze in the distance and a massive contrast from The Beast from the East we were experiencing at this time last year.

Worth clicking first photo for slideshow
I have tried to put these maps at the end but Blogger is having one of its moods.Faded blue is our grrid line 38. Pink lines are one mile north and one mile soith

Morning hazy light on Ponden reservoir

Out of Nelson - the old brass bands still going strong.

The park in Nelson, and below

Looking back down into Trawden

On the way to the elusive hill fort on Little Gib Hill

Looking down to Laneshaw Bridge (I think) from around SD 923 380.
Marked erroneously "Forest of Trawden" on the map - we were on top of the world there.

We wondered how that had happened

Dropping down to the valley south of Wycoller to join the Bronte Way for a bit

Ponden reservoir as we neared the car on the high road

Friday, 22 February 2019

Derby Arms/Meathop

Thursday walk with Pete - 21st February 2019 - Derby Arms, Witherslack/Meathop

Today started with a mission. On an earlier post Gimmer brought to my attention a relic tractor situated at the entrance to Castle Head Field Centre at Lindale, so along with Pete we went to investigate. I don't think the model is a rarity so not of much interest, I guess, to Alan R my tractor enthusing friend. But, the state of disintegration it had now arrived at had a special attraction for me, and it was certainly worth the visit before we drove to the Derby Arms at Witherslack to start our walk.

The Derby Arms serves reliable and acceptable food in a rustic atmosphere and it was only a week ago I was there again on a family gathering.

Today we parked there to give us access to the A 590 underpass leading to the quiet road south over Meathop Moss. We were almost completing the circle from our recent visit to this area accessed a kilometre further south east from the Lindale/Grange road, and the two routes enclosing Meathop Moss Nature Reserve where an Osprey has nested and reared young for the last few years. Despite a couple of visits I have not had a sighting - we are hoping it will return again shortly.

The fields were flooded  and the drainage dikes full. We encountered  a few family cyclists, it being half term for many local schools.
Gimmer's tractor, and below. There must be a story to tell?

Pete's knowledge of plants is profound - "Vinca" he said.
I tried with unpublishable results to macro photograph the flowers

A590 underpass

Flooded Meathop Moss - the Osprey nests in a lone tree, high up, away over there to the right. There is a n RSPB viewing point accessed from the A590, but the nest is perhaps quarter of s mile away and only to be favourably seen with a bird watcher's telescope or high magnification binoculars.

Zoom shot to a more unusual tractor type vehicle - comment please Alan R.

This looked more dramatic than the photo as it towered over the road