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


Tuesday, 16 July 2019

Trig points OS Sheet 91 - Water Crag - NY 929 046 - 668m.

Monday 15th July 2019 - Water Crag - NY 929 046 - 668m.  (2192ft.)

I've just walked up the road from the Tan Hill Inn looking for the bridleway (Green dash line on map below) that starts before an unfenced track (white with dashed edges) both leaving the road to the south-east. There is mo sign of the bridleway even though GPS says I'm spot on, so I go to the track which joins it shortly anyway. At that supposed junction there is still no sign; a bridleway is defined as a path suitable for, and legal for horses, and I was expecting to see something substantial. I consult my compass to see the general direction taking a bearing from the map. The compass tells me it heads north-west, not south-east: opposite to the general direction I expect. I have heard of reverse polarity on a compass but "you never think it will happen to you," well it did to me.


Fortunately I also have a compass on the iPhone, goodness knows how that works but at least it was pointing in the expected direction. That was s good job because I only found traces of a path across rough moorland after quarter of a mile in, and even then it was intermittent and hardly visible on the ground - pity poor horses. Eventually I found the fence line shown on the map which took me to my summit, again on a path that was figment of the map's imagination.

Water Crag is a poor relation to Rogan's Seat so I would not have expected much, but the views were extensive with wild moorland for miles and miles in all directions and hill ranges on most horizons. On the way to the summit Ordnance Survey indicates "pile of stones" - that turned out to be a not insignificant quirky large cairn. Against expectation for this poor relation there was a huge stone shelter thirty yards from the trig worthy of a major Lakeland peak. Having said that Water Crag is over 2000ft. and qualifies as a Nuttall (any summit of 2000ft (610m) or more which rises above its surroundings on all sides by at least 50ft (15m)) in England and Wales) - there are 446 on the list.

Water Crag as such appears before the true summit. It is mentioned in rock climbing web sites as a bouldering venue.You see an escarpment of broken limestone blocks and the rock looks superb, but there is not much of any size, and placing a landing mat may be a problem with the rocky terrain. Most climbers I have been involved with resent a long walk to a crag. I think after three miles of thrashing over thick pathless heather most would be disenchanted. But, bouldering flowered only after I had stopped climbing, and I see it almost as a separate sport- it has many aficionados now, so I may be wrong

Parking at Tan Hill Inn for the start brought back memories.

Pennine Way7th day. Monday 27th. April1987.
Made good time up to Tan Hill, but too early for lunch. Had Britvic Orange and two tonics together - £1.20 - took it slowly - one of the best thirst quenchers I know. The heat and sun have been almost unbearable.
LEJOG - Day 40
Sunday 25th May (bank holiday) 2008
Keld to Bowes
12.5 miles

I plodded on over moorland to The Tan Hill Inn, which I think is supposed to be the highest pub in Britain at 1732ft.

The pub was very busy, even at 9:45am, and when I asked for tea and a bacon  butty I was told to go into the kitchen, make my own tea and plead with the lady in there to make the butty for me. This was all done in a crazy good humoured fashion, and everybody in the place seemed to be quite eccentric. I got everything I wanted, then had more tea and bought some Kit Kats and got somebody to take my picture. 


If you want to know more about reverse polarity click on the link below - I was surprised to learn how many everyday items can cause this - beware!


Photos: worth clicking to enlarge
Tan Hill Inn - it was much busier when I returned five hours later

Cloudberry. This was the only one I saw with berries, but there were many without all over

A far cry from the traditional butts made from piles of peat. The only birds and wildlife I saw all day were a few grouse erupting from the heather in front of me and a very small frog - mission accomplished by the shooters

Water Crag (and below)

Marked "pile of stones" on the OS map, I think it deserves a bit more than that.
May I suggest: wonky cairn?

Shelter on Water Crag summit - surprisingly substantial for an infrequently visited  peak. The trig can just be seen near top right - it is actually only about thirty yards away

Now much busier 


  1. I've heard of the reversed polarity problem but like you never expected it to happen.
    Is that the same compass that we were relying on last week?
    Going to check mine now before venturing out to the shops.

  2. Yes it is and probably explains the difficulty I was having on one occasion with your indication of route direction Fortunately it was your walk on a route you more or less knew and I hardly needed to ever consult my compass.

  3. Yes I remember the query which I over-ruled, not your fault at all it was Silva's.
    PS I must have visited Water Crag on my round of the 2000footers, will check my diaries.

  4. Sir Hugh - I’ve experience this reversed polarity problem even though I thought I’d sufficiently isolated my iPhone from the compass. It’s been well documented by Glenmore Lodge staff amongst others. I now carry two compasses.

  5. As I'm sure I recounted in a previous comment on a different post, my first walking trip with Mick involved a compass with reversed polarity. I'd borrowed it from my father, who (it turned out) had been storing it on top of the microwave oven.

    On the subject of summit shelters, I also recall coming across one that seemed out of place on a small and (to my mind) obscure Marilyn. What I can't recall was which hill it was. Nor indeed which region. I do miss having a good memory!

  6. afoot - I suspect it is more common than I thought. I too will double up on compasses as well as having the iPhone - I presume that works via GPS but I'm not sure.


    Gayle - Your first paragraph reminds me of the humorous references Nick Crane makes in Two Degrees West about his eccentric father. The likelihood of your obscure Marilyn being in England must mean that I also have visited. I'm off to bed now and instead of counting sheep I will be trying to identify your mystery summit from the 175 English Ms.

  7. Hi Conrad. Phew, I've just caught up with everything you've posted since leaving Newport. (I had read some of it before!)
    How do you compile your dropbox slideshow and add captions and 'index' slides before each day? (I'm being lazy asking I suppose - should be able to work it out for myself.)
    I have a fine collection of reverse polarity compasses and disintegrated magnets bought in an effort to correct the polarity. Conclusion: don't bother with magnets, bin the compass and buy a new one. Currently all my working compasses seem to be filled by air bubbles. (Luckily I haven't been out in fog recently!
    Enjoy the trig points!

  8. Phreerunner - You must have plenty of stamina getting through that lot!

    My camera automatically puts photos into daily folders. I download from camera to my IMac desktop into a master folder called Pictures into a named sub-folder that I created in readiness ( “Pictures” is is divided into separate folders under location and event headings - e.g. Long Walks, Local Walks, Arnside, Christmas 2018 etc.)

    I open all photos individually in Photoshop Elements 15 and make any adjustments for lighting, cropping etc. then save back to its folder in Pictures as a “replacement”. Whilst the photo is till there in Elements I downsize it from approximately 4000 pixels to 1000 pixels and save it into a folder called BlogPics with a letter and number title. I then know that THE ONLY downsized photos on my computer are in BlogPics.

    When I write a post I just use Blogger Dashboard to create the new post and select the photos en-masse from BlogPics to include in the post. Blogger allows you to add a caption.

    If I want to make a Dropbox slideshow I go to the original folder of photos in Pictures and make a duplicate copy of the whole folder of photos. I then bring each photo into Elements and add the captions actually onto the photo. A bright yellow seems to be the best colour to show up for most photos but occasionally I have to change that depending on the background. I usually create a master daily title photo in Elements probably using one of the photos from the walk as a background with writing to show date and location etc which is slightly modified for each day.

    When completed I then drag and drop the completed slideshow folder into my Dropbox folder. It can take several hours to download a large number of photos into Dropbox - there is a little arrow alongside which changes colour when the transfer is completed.

    When that is done I can go to my account on the Dropbox website and opt for “share” and “create Link” and “copy link” and then use that link to put on my post in Blogger Dashboard.

    If there is anything you need further explanation of please let me know. It all sounds labour intensive, but I don’t think there is any getting away from that. It could be less so if you were not fussy about masking lighting/cropping etc. adjustments to your photos.

  9. Thanks Conrad, that's helpful. You use a very similar process to me for blogger (I do some additional 'sizing' in HTML to reduce the images from 640 to 550 pixels width.)
    The photoshop processing makes sense, though it's a shame you can't just add captions like we used to do in Picasa.
    I suspect there are other options, such as Flickr, or Google Photos...

  10. The best system is the one that works and that you know. Learning new software is a pain - it usually includes tons and tons of stuff you don't need or would never use which gets in the way of the learning process.

  11. That's why I stick with Blogger, Conrad.
    I do have to find new web design software though, for, which at present is stuck with an old version of Dreamweaver on WindowsXP...