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


Wednesday, 22 May 2019


Tuesday 21st May 2019

Bollihope Carrs NY 962 355 & Harnisha Hill - NY  970 323

Part of my campaign to visit all trig points on Ordnance Survey  Sheet 91 

I do enjoy walking with friends but one advantage when you go alone is flexibility.

These two hills were considered the evening before but I didn't finally decide to go until I awoke next morning. See what I mean about flexibility? And it continues.

Looking at these hills on the map two options had occurred:

1. Take the shortest there and back route for each one from the nearest road access point treating them as separate walks, driving in between.

2. Make a circular  walk which would include several kilometres walking on the road, and would also need a decision for clockwise or anti-clockwise.

A seventy mile plus drive demanded a 7:00 am start. Arriving at the road starting point for Harnisha Hill I had still made no final decision. The obvious ascent followed a fence line directly to the summit and looked boring. I drove steeply downhill the three kilometres to the starting point for Bollihope. Only then I decided that I wouldn't be including that trudge in my walk!

I opted to ascend Bollihope first and decide which way to go when I got to that trig. BUT, during the ascent I realised how stupid I had been about the road section - it was illuminatingly obvious that the return route from Harnisha could be made in a direct line, downhill cross-country all the way and no boundary walls or fences.

From the map I could see that the traverse on a rising-contour* from Bollihope to Harnisha crossed  a multitude of deeply cut stream beds with only a vague definition of a watershed which may have made for easier ground. The going was tough. The whole of this seven mile plus walk was pathless and varied from cropped grass to tussocky grass to heather, and the stream beds turned out to be deeply cut peat hags -  I must have crossed twenty or so, often having to search up and down to find a viable crossing point.

That was all an interesting challenge and I took masochistic pleasure in negotiating this complicated terrain in as expedient a manner as possible. If I had had a companion I think I would have been worrying about their possible discomfort, and worse, displeasure, and maybe conflicting opinions for route finding. One exception would be my friend BC whose laughter and good humour would have increased in proportion to the depth and width of the peat hags.

If I mess up on my own there are only my thoughts to consider.

I was startled on a dozen or so occasions by explosive loud churking* grouse arising suddenly, often within a foot or so from my feet. Rabbits were scampering off at speed as I approached. Lapwings circled above, vociferous and casting their shadows around me on the ground. The sun was shining but a cool wind made for comfortable walking. At the car I had considered a light windproof shell, but switched to my Paramo jacket in view of the chill, and I was thankful later, not doffing it until after midday.

I spent a restful twenty minutes at the second trig with my flask of coffee and a sandwich looking at immense tracts of wild moorland extending many miles in every direction and no sign or sound of human presence. The cross country brainwave decision for my return route was still pathless but grassy sections linked heather and reed outcrops and it was just good to be there - that was the making of a satisfying circular walk when my initial ill-considered planning had suggested a dreary three kilometre plod on tarmac, and a good walk spoiled.

* obviously illogical, but I like it and I think it says what I mean
a new word made up by me

Sheep pens at Peg's House, an unusual enclosure, so marked on the map

Zoom to ridge of Bollihope Carrs. The pimple is a cairn - the trig is out of view to the rear - I've only learned on this trip that "curricks" marked on the OS map are a local name for cairns.

Another zoom to these boulders prominent on the ridge to the right of the summit on the previous photo, and the next: close-up when I got there

Bollihope Carrs trig, and below

Looking towards Harnisha Hill from Bollihope, My route lead off to the right to contour round the intervening bowl not apparent in the photo

Twenty minutes of rest, re-fueling, solitude and cloud-watching st Harnisha Hill

Blue line north to south to left is approximate route of my LEJOG that just happens to be on Memory Msp, and blue line to right is the eastern boundary of OS Sheet 91 - n.b. how close Harnisha Hill is to the edge.

Wednesday, 15 May 2019

Berwick to Castle Cary - whole slideshow

My commenter "gimmer" suggested a continuous slideshow of the whole trip from Berwick-upon-Tweed to Castle Cary. I did produce slideshows with captions of the previous three sections at the time of walking them and the links are scattered amongst the relevant posts. For anybody interested here are the four links. If you have the stamina you would get an impression of travelling from the northern borders of England almost to the south coast.

1. Berwick-upon-Tweed to Westgate, Weardale. - April 2017 - 9 days

2. Westgate, Weardale to Hellifield - August 2017 - 5 days

3. Hellifield to Newport, Shropshire - July/August 2018 - 15 days

4. Newport, Shropshire to Castle Cary - April/May 2018 - 14 days


1.When Dropbox opens click on the first thumbnail photo.

2. Then click on the little arrow box at the bottom to see a proper slideshow, full screen, and with black background.

Monday, 13 May 2019

Berwick/CastleCary Part 4 - Slideshow

Here is the Dropbox link to the slideshow (with captions) of my 14 days walking from Newport (Staffs) to Castle Cary, Somerset.

The original plan was conceived in 2017 to walk from Berwick-upon-Tweed to Castle Cary in one hit on a route plotted by myself. The table below shows the sequence of events leading to eventual completion.

I would add that I have done a lot of other walking, as recorded on this blog, .in between the events in the table

1.When Dropbox opens click on the first thumbnail photo.

2. Then click on the little arrow box at the bottom to see a proper slideshow, full screen, and with black background.

Wednesday, 8 May 2019

Day 15 - on the train home.

Wednesday 8th May 2019

All these long distance trips are pleasurable but hard work, interspersed with usually pleasant stopovers and interesting and rewarding encounters. Instinctively I plot routes through sparsely populated areas avoiding large towns and  have walked for miles without seeing anybody never mind speaking, and for even me who has no problem with my own company it can be a bit lonely at times. There is something sort of smug in witnessing reactions when presenting oneself as an eccentric traveller of the highways and byways, perhaps with latter day connotations to the wandering minstrel except that I can’t sing or play an instrument, if I could I may get even more freebies. The original concept was bold and I have wondered as I walked whether I would have completed it all in one hit if I’d not had the debilitating physical interruptions. There is no doubt that would have been a lot more satisfying for me if achieved, but there is satisfaction  in having overcome the problems and battling on to the end. For me there is an aesthetic pleasure in the idea of a  none stop completion.It has been a fine route through hugely contrasting terrains. A route of this length must have sections of lesser interest and between leaving the Weaver Navigation river south of Northwich and Newport in Staffordshire it was pretty boring, often on tedious tarmac with high hedges, no views and agricultural uniformity, and I guess that is why I bailed out st Newport after.that thirteen day section. I am now just thinking back about my Land’s End John ‘o Groats walk and I think my route through England maintained a more consistent interest than this one. I found I had to make a few diversions from my original plot to have accommodation. I only used the tent twice and I’m sure I could have managed without which would have lightened my pack. But really I never felt overburdened as it was.

Tuesday, 7 May 2019

Day 14 - final day

Shepton Mallet to Castle Cary

Nearly all fields today. Paths and stiles etc were fairly good but I felt tired and only progressed slowly but it was only ten miles so was able to arrive at my FINAL DESTINATION by 3:30. The old knee, that is the  First knee was a bit sore and my left ankle was playing up spasmodically so I reckon two weeks is enough. This saga had to be finished and I have enjoyed it, especially yesterday when I took forty photos - I think enjoyment may be measured by the number of photos taken. Slide show to follow.

The train ticket app I used is called Trainline. Once you have downloaded the app and registered it is relatively easy- it was registering that gave me problems, but that was perhaps just me. You end up with one of those icon things on your mobile that looks like a scrambled chess board which cans be read by the train conductor - fingers crossed.

Monday, 6 May 2019

Day 13

Cameley to Shepton Mallet

Monday 6th May 2019

Limestone walking from Cameley was reminiscent of the Yorkshire Dales - cropped turf underfoot with the bonus of good stiles and gates and visible paths, . What joy. Yesterday my walking was leaden, today sprightly. Frequently there were huge areas of dandelion seed heads making unusual and attractive displays. Down one country track a tractor came towards me pulling a huge slurry trailer - I was glad I’d covered the ground before he got there.

A problem on these walks is need for a lavvy and sometimes emergency measures come into play but  Farrington Gurney boasted one of the best stocked farm shops I’ve ever seen and also a café bang on coffee time, and the coffee was nine out of ten. I sat at a low table that was actually a working fish tank - quite odd.

I crossed Farrington golf course on  paths shown on the map but not recognised by the club. Perhaps my maps are out of date, anyway after a couple of terse conversations with golfers I came out the other side.

Further on a path ccrossing about ten field boundaries had me anticipating the worst but all was good walking and easy to follow.

At Manor Farm I stopped to look at Emborough church. The farmer’s wife had seen me and came to make sure I was not “champing” a pastime I had not heard about but it seems there are folk who delight in bunking in down in old churches like this. We chatted and then I was invited into the farm house for a cuppa with her and the farmer husband. She gave me a graphic account of her experiences on a hot air balloon trip.

A long climb from the attractive village of Oakhill took me to Beacon Hill. One section of the descent afterwards was perilous down a very steep solidified mud banking for about thirty feet. A couple below watched my tentative and geriatric descent t with some concern which was well justified.

I was booked into the Dusthole in Shepton, so called because in latter days there was a quarry and a flour mill next door. The building is ancient and more or less untouched  I had a good meal of lamb shank and then sticky toffee pudding with a good conversation with the host. He had climbed and walked in his younger days and worked and lived in many parts of the world. His dog Tyson waited on anxiously for the bone from my lamb.

This has been one of the best days walking in the trip with much interest and good going.

I have booked a train ticket back home for Wednesday. It took me an hour and a half signing up for the  app, creating passwords and all the rest but evtuslly only psi £46 compared with the first attempt at well kver £100.

I took abou forty photos today - here are one or two.

Sunday, 5 May 2019

Day 12

Emersin’s green, Bristol to Clameley - ST 609 575

My hostess at the Air B and B was not there. I was given full instructions on how to enter and everything else I needed. I had a few queries and we were able to exchange messages efficiently through the Air system and she responded quickly each time. The house was immaculate and I was  happy and comfortable. I went to the local Italian for a meal - five minutes walk. Breakfast as cereal toast and tea was made available and in view of a fifteen miler I was walking by 6:45. There had been  a frost and I wore jacket and gloves for the first couple of hours despite the bright sunny morning.

Walking was largely through old established suburbia with the odd bridleway and local footpaths and also a fair amount of country lanes. Part of the Two Rivers Way was blocked off in Keynsham and I diverted through the shopping centre. Keynsham resonates from way back on Radio Luxembourg when one Horace Bachelor claimed to be able to have you win a fortune on the football pools and his address was given emphatically as Keynsham. I also then remembered the H.S. Samuel Everight watch - “strapped to the wheel of the Royal Scot...”

The Cameley Lodge Hotel I had booked in the Internet - it took me an hour. It is only one of a few buildings next to a church in the middle of nowhere. As I approached feeling a bit creaky and groany I wondered if ir’d made a mistake and it would turn out to be located in a different hamlet of that name - what would one do - a taxi? But that may not be easy. This did happen to me once when there were four villages with the same name in the same county.but that is another story.

The manageress took pity in me. - I suppose a 79 year old after eleven days walking rolling in after fifteen miles may look a bit odd - she immediately upgraded my twin room booking to the Bridal Suite double -   I am not kidding. This is by far the best room I have had on this trip and the most warm and friendly welcome. If you want a bit of peace and quiet you would be hard put to find anything better. I had only been in the room five minutes before I dropped a soggy tea bag onto the pristine starched white tablecloth - the room did not deserve this. I immediately soaked it and took it down to Reception with apologies but they were not concerned - they have their own laundry.

It’s been a good day. - not far off finishing now.

Photo - - general, typical.

2 and 3 - the Carpenter’s Arms - I think it may be famous.

Blogger now going haywire so I’m signing off now.

Saturday, 4 May 2019

Day 11

Saturday 4th  May  2019
Alveston to Emerson’s Green - Bristol

The Alveston House Hotel was very expensive and although not bad it did not justify the cost - I’m not sure if there was a bank holiday loading. It seems the restaurant is now run by a separate company although ostensibly part of the whole and it is not clear which of the two halves staff are working for. The restaurant is Italian. The only draught available was Guiness. I had a small portion of garlic bread and a reasonable spaghetti. carbonara and two small Peronnis. I tried to have a bath but the water was not really hot enough. This morning I asked if they could let me have a postage stamp but they said they didn’t have any. Maybe I am being a bit over critical but ‘twas all for the want of a postage stamp” - that could have been their chance to show willing - I’m damn sure they could have found one somewhere. A contrast from the place in France when I asked for a cigar and the waiter disappeared into the night to find one elsewhere and then wouldn’t let me pay. The quote is a reword of a climbing song that I think RR wrote: “It was all for the want of a nail.”

I have been walking in roads mainly. I’m fed up with parochial footpaths. I made much quicker time and arrived at mi Air B and B by 3:15. The lady is absent but has left full instructions re entry keys, breakfast stuff, WiFi and everything else she could have thought of, and she has communicated very promptly with me by messaging within the Air B and B system. The house is immaculate and I have everything I need and will be able to get off in good time rather than being dictated to by hotel breakfast times. I am going to upload some photos now.. Blogger does not put them in the correct order. I have included one pretty country lane for BC, also the bream that I saw caught a few days ago on the canal, and a funny tower construction passed on the way - your guess is as good as mine - I couldn’t see any other clues.

Friday, 3 May 2019

Day 10

Tudor Inn, Shepherd’s Patch, Sharpness Gloucester canal to Alveston , south of Rothbury

Yesterday I forgot to mention  the fishing match. There was one in progress as I walked down the canal, but only about six anglers. How often have you seen them and thought “I bet they never catch anything.” Just as I arrived one of the guys netted what he said was a large breem and I didn’t disagree. I suggested he should be in line for a win but he replied dourly “early days.”

Further on two cruisers came into view - they were from the Willow Trust who I think look after kids with problems. I waved my poles and had a very cheery response from them all - it’s heartwarming to see a bit of good being done.

All was good also at the Tudor Inn where I ate and camped in August 2013 whilst walking the Severn Way. Paths crossing again.This being another bank holiday weekend I had a lot of trouble finding accommodation and had to go off my plotted route to the Alveston House Hotel south of Rothbury
which meant a lot of time re-plotting on Memory Map. Although it was nearly 14 miles  much was flat and on minor roads. One section across fields had a dreadful collection of stiles. I ended up trespassing into the back door of a children’s adventure playground with animal attractions, crazy golf and much more including for me a café - coffee and shortbread cherry sandwich - not bad.

I am sensing homing in on my destination with the change of accents and the regular use of “my lovely”

When I choose photos Blogger does not put them in the same order. I have taken many more and hope to do a good slideshow with captions from home. The first photo is a cricket pitch facing onto a main road and not far from wicket to  boundary. If there have been no road accidents to date I reckon it is only a question of time.

The next one is just a bit of long grass across the whole extent of a field supposed to be a public footpath. The third is a stile - the photo foreshortens. The approach was a deep trough and the fencing leaned back towards one, impossible for me to climb; I squeezed between the bars.

Thursday, 2 May 2019

day 9

Thursday 2nd May - Gloucester to Shepherd’s Patch on Sharpness Gloucester Canal

Travelodge seem to have breakfast well sorted with an easy to use self service system saving a lot of pretentious messing about and long waits often experienced  with table service. They know their largely business customers need to be up and off in the morning and so do I.

All the way today on the canal with one café break. There was always something of interest to see. This is a huge canal built to bypass the dangerously tidal River Severn to get fairly
large vessels up to Gloucester.  There was a dreadful collision with two vessels and a bridge years ago on the Severn. - a horrific story that i commented on when walking the Severn Way in August 2013. I can’t find the link at the moment but it is worth reading about - will post later.

With this being a larger canal there is a wider variety of botats, nay, in some cases almost ships. The canal leisure narrow boats range from well kept, to those that are obviously “ it was a good idea at the time,”  I suspect many owners use their boats far less than their romanticc imaginations suggested at the time of acquisition. One such couple, I suspect, were sat at a nearby table in the café with a guy who was some kind of agent advising them on all aspects of a boat they were buying and he was doing a good sales pitch using the rechinque of painting pictures. At my next table  two thirty years old ladies were talking, well one of them was , endlessly. segueing between trivial subjects whilst her friend nodded and said “yes” and “ah.”

I arrived nostalgically at Shepherd’s Patch and looked across at the Black Barn café where I had poor service, if not rude service in 2013 - I didn’t risk a repeat -the Tudor Arms was only another fifty yards down the road


Wednesday, 1 May 2019

Day 8

Kilcot Inn. To Travelodge Gloucester

Wednesday 1st May 2019

A contrast from yesterday in two ways. Today I felt really fit and yesterday I was tired from start to finish - must be settling in now. Also today was nearly all on footpaths not roads. They were short sections giving variety and frequently changing interest. The difference being that I was mostly on the Three Choirs Way long distance path. Although it is hardly waymarked with their logo the standard footpath signs sufficed and the paths reasonably well maintained ( except for the stiles.).

A large field of wheat had not had a path made across its middle. To go round would have added half a mile, it was so huge.  A..n. other had obviously walked through recently and I followed. The only people I have spoken to all day was one farmer and another farmer with an immaculately maintained 1963 tractor. . Where is everybody? It is only by walking through these regions that you realise what huge expanses of unoccupied countryside we have. I walked fro 8:00am to 4:30pm without a stop for anything and felt quite fresh on arrival.

There was a cycle route that took me to within a few hundred yards of the Travelodge in Gloucester where I have just eaten - at least it will keep me going.

One luxury I allowed myself for this trip was an electric toothbrush. I bought a children’s lightweight model powered by one aaa battery. Changing the battery needs a micro screwdriver with a one mm. blade ( not supplied.) I attached o ne with Sellotape. Last night it fell off and vanished down the plug hole. That could have been total disaster but I couldn’t help enjoying the jolly tinkling noise as it went.

Tomorrow I will follow the Gloucester Sharpness canal. I have previously walked the Severn Way  the river following roughly the same line as the canal.