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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


Thursday, 18 April 2019

The path to nowhere

Wednesday 17th April 2019 - Garnett Bridge and out of Long Sleddale

Breakfasting and reading the map I was intrigued by a public footpath on access land ending at a wall in the middle of nowhere. Such things spark my curiosity. Would there be a big hole or a notice saying "there be dragons?"  I have noticed these fascinations elicit no such reaction from others who perhaps question the balance of my mind. I pretty well knew nothing much would be gleaned, but  there was also a tempting little hill just beyond: spot height 429m that promised a decent view.

From Garnett Bridge I followed the familiar footpath on the western side of the characterful River Sprint which gave rise to one of my favourite posts when I was exploring that little river some time ago.

If you use the search box on this blog entering "River Sprint" you will find other posts relating to the lower sections of that exploration.

From Docker Nook I was onto new territory climbing all the rest of the way to my little 429m summit. All the gates, and there were many, scored highly for ease of opening (I score each one out of ten.) I think European grants have contributed to gate refurbishment here.

At path's end no big holes or dragons, but at least a gateway through the wall with a smashed up gate lying forlornly - perhaps some previous quirky-map-attributes-addict had been frustrated by a nil nil result.  I was now walking in shirt sleeves only and shorts for the first time this year - what pleasure, and in particular not having to remove gloves every time to consult mapping on the iPhone whilst manipulating walking poles which always end up falling on the ground.  I've attached wrist loops to gloves so that they can just dangle.

The predicted view from 429 delivered. There was a distant sighting of Skeggles Water, almost hidden in the folds of the landscape. I walked a circuit round that little tarn fairly recently. Here again I find this sort of re-visiting from a different location rewarding (almost exciting) which others may not understand, but for me it is part of my motivation and I suppose an inherent desire for exploration.

I was now fired up for a bit more adventure and chose a pathless  descent across rough terrain to eventually meet up with my route of ascent.

Garnett Bridge

Strange path liners 

Bridge End farm

Docker Nook farm. New paths for me from here and the start of the long ascent

Zoom to Skeggles Water from summit 429m

My descent route from 429 - 'twas steeper than it looks here

Looking back to 429

Just before re-joining the ascent route

Click to enlarge

Detail of path to nowhere's ending and summit 429m


  1. 'The path to nowhere' put me in mind of the adventures of Ralph Mellish - - ignore the now, or even then, non pc conclusion.
    Just a thought Conrad but from now you will hopefully be free of glove leashes why not create from your bits of cords something similar for your poles.

  2. Since your only significant response to my suggestion about following river routes was a mournful list of the difficulties involved, here's something less difficult. Many proper names in Dickens' novels give the impression that they were thought up in five seconds and never re-considered; as a result they are grotesque, multi-syllabled and implausible (No examples, please. I know them all.)

    Sometimes your posts give the impression you are walking through a Dickens landscape, as with Docker's Nook and Skeggles Water, both mentioned without comment. I am of course no walker but I doubt I could have recorded them so barely. I'd have been pushed towards a personal response. I emphasise "personal" to preclude any wearisomely unimaginative, typically bloggeristic reaction involving half a dozen tedious links to etymological sources which prove - dully - that both have Viking roots. Rather that you savour those names and others, let them gambol in your mind like Spring-born lambs. Then daringly transfer this gambolling to your keyboard.

    On the other hand, forget it. You are shortly to resume a walk outside Dickens country and the opportunities may not be so rich.

  3. BC - splendid stuff the Python. The walking poles already have wrist loops. I tend to alternate between using them and not. When they are in use I can just let the poles dangle, and even continue walking with them dragging behind while I faff with whatever, but all too often my need to consult the route coincides with a period when I have opted out from the loops. I then stop and lean the poles back against myself and they invariably fall to the ground as I am sure you have often seen. Whatever system you devise to overcome problems there always seems to be some way of unintentionally defeating it.


    I will look out for names and see what transpires, but maybe not for a while, otherwise it will be obvious that I have slavishly followed your suggestion. If you look at the OS map there are endless opportunities countrywide. Your previous rhetoric on this subject has focused on West Riding nomenclature but now you have shifted to the Lake District, but I guess you are classifying it all as "up north."

  4. So did the path continue on the other side of the gate? Or did the path really end in nowhere? (Love the idea for this walk, Conrad.)

  5. Ruth - There was an indistinct track leading to the little summit but it was only couple of hundred yards ors. There was no path after leaving the summit until I re-joined with my ascent path.

  6. A dedicated map reader of highland (general, not scottish particularly but frequent there also) districts comes across such 'paths to nowhere' on many places - leading to butts (yes - but not for you, perhaps) and sheilings (remembered joys of hot summer hills) - and of course peat diggings - so when trig points yield up their final treasures, how about a determined campaign: beyond that last blue mountain, barred by - dry stone walls? - you will follow - where lies the fading road to - nowhere !