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


Saturday, 30 November 2019

Wainwright's Way - Dunsop Bridge to Salter Fell Road

Friday 30th November Wainwright's Way
Dunsop Bridge to Salter Fell Road - 11 miles (there and back)

BC had previously walked W's Way from Dunsop Bridge to Hornby. In my last post I walked from the northern end of Salter Fell Road to part way to Hornby and tomorrow (Sunday 1st December) we will both walk the remainder of that part to Hornby. That will leave me the section from Dunsop Bridge to Salter Fell Road as now described. With BC we had previously walked the whole length of Salter Fell Road during our Lancashire Witches walk in June 2016.


A toughy seemed likely based on BC's warning of rough going up Whitendale (he wasn't kidding.) Facing eleven miles there and back including the rough section and diminishing daylight hours I needed an early start.

Drama started before the walk. My drive through and over the Trough of Bowland encountered patches of ice. My Kia Ceed GT Line is really a sports car in disguise and not the best on that kind of terrain.  I was gripped several times descending over ice. I vowed not to return that way.

A frosty  8:10 am start treated me to surreal glowing-orange light on the Bowland hills with a carpet of white frost in the foreground.

But for the pre-warning the first five kilometres would have lulled me into thinking this was going to be a cinch.  I had been on a private water-board (I think) Tarmac road. Just after Whitendale Farm a gate lead onto virgin fell.  A board walk off to the right mislead me especially as it conformed to the GPX route I had downloaded from the Long Distance Walkers Association's website. I tried to follow that route but the path soon faded and I was quickly tackling monster sized tussock grass and wasting time and energy working back towards the stream and finding the proper path. Later, when I was returning the path of course went right back to the gate.

Green = already on OS plus GPX route downloaded, but not apparent on the ground.
Blue = the route I took across rough ground.
Turquoise = actual path on the ground used on my returm 
"Path" was almost a misnomer. Its only merit was just being able to identify it; I couldn't see where my feet were going because it was overgrown and uneven underfoot, and it switchbacked up and down requiring continual awkward stepping. Progress was disappointingly slow. The downloaded route did now coincide, but further on it diverged crossing a fence line to the right but that was not apparent on the ground. I continued on the known option of what I could see. Further on the OS 1:25 indicated another path off to the left, but as mine was intermittently furnished with marker posts I carried on.  My path eventually emerged onto the Salter Fell Road between the OS marked path and the downloaded GPX route.

It seemed unfair having to return back down Whitendale after all that effort but there was no alternative. The surroundings on the walk had been spectacular and perhaps worth the effort, but I don't think I will be walking up Whitendale again

Worth clicking to see enlarged

Hornby Road is the same as Salter Fell Road

Looking back at my route up Whitendale - there is more round the back of the distant central fell

Two red lines near finish show OS !:25000 path on left. My route on right, and green is the downloaded GPX route. Ignore all other marks scattered about on my computer Memory Map.

Monday, 25 November 2019

Wainwright's Way (catch-up)

Sunday 24th November 2019
Salter Fell Road to south of Hornby

Rationale - a bit boring put here for the record.

BC, my companion and instigator for walking W's Way has already walked the section between Dunsop Bridge and Hornby - I needed to catch-up.

The total distance is too much for one day, and even if it was contemplated car logistics are not practical.

Dunsop Bridge to the start of Salter Fell Road as a there and back is ok parking at Dunsop Bridge and that will now be my final section - I have previously walked the length of Salter Fell Road recently with BC when we were completing The Lancashire Witches Way - CLICK HERE  - it happened to be Saturday 25th June 2016, the day after The Referendum.

That leaves the section from the north end of Salter Fell road to Hornby and today my plan was to walk part of that to reduce the total distance which will need to be double as a there and back.

W's Way by Nick Burton uses the road continuing from the end of Salter Fell but BC had discovered a new permissive path following the River Roeburn for a couple of kilometres before rejoining with Burton's route at Beck Farm.


Sunday morning and I had done various household chores by  about eleven and on impulse decided to go and walk the bit of Tarmac from a known parking spot where BC's permissive path started up to the start of Salter Fell Road. As this was all on Tarmac and no rain was forecast I couldn't be bothered changing and jumped in the car already wearing approach shoes and a decent pair of M and S chinos.

A quick glance at the map had me thinking that would be easy walking but I ascended about five hundred feet in one and a half kilometres, sorry about mixing metres and feet but that's they way I think. All was quite pleasant as I passed Lower Salter, Middle Salter and Higher Salter farms. At the end of the Tarmac I saw the footpath we had followed on the Witches Walk. At Higher Salter  Farm there was more than usual noise from farm dogs and I looked over the wall to see a large cage structure with half a dozen or so collie sheep dogs all giving voice - all looked clean and tidy and I assumed the farmer breeds these as potential One Man and his Dog competitors, or just for daily farming work - it is one of the joys of walking in the country to see these working dogs perform.

Back at the car I was now tempted to reduce the rest of this section more by walking part of the newly discovered permissive path so it was over a ladder stile and onto squelchy muddy field walking - those M and S chinos will never be the same again.  The path was fine and eventually dropped down steeply to run alongside the R. Roeburn through autumn tinted woods. I came to a bridge and as no paths are marked on the map this seemed to take me to the wrong side of the river as far as I could tell so I stayed this side and exited up steep banking through the woods to a gate and then fields to arrive back on the road and AW's route proper at the track to Thornbush Farm. That now leaves a comfortable there and back trek from Hornby. I walked back down the road to my car and finished this little trip at The Hornby Tea Rooms for a pot of tea and a jam scone.

The chinos went into the wash and then the dryer - I am now going to the garage to assess the result - my Mountain Warehouse trail shoes had kept my feet dry. What a lot of writing for such a mini walk.

Salter Fell Road 1.5 km ahead - the start of the permissive path is just behind the camera

Just round the corner from the car - pleasant autumn walking

Not rare - just sad

High Salter Farm - gate in wall is footpath we took on Lancashire Witches Walk

Doesn't look familiar to me but Alan R may classify it as not rare?

Want to buy a collie to round up your sheep?

Lower Salter Farm on the way back - looks like a new wing built on with solar panels

On the permissive path not marked on OS map - just before misleading bridge. The path had been well marked up to that point but no markers on the bridge or beyond on my side

Hornby Tea Rooms - a bit quiet on this dingy Sunday afternoon

Green is official AW's Way. I have shown my day as two separate sections

Overall view of this logistically difficult section of AW's WAy.
My final completion will be there and back from Dunsop Bridge to Salter Fell Road (halfway up right side of map where it says Croasdale. We previously walked over Salter Fell Road on the Lancashire Witches Walk. I will now have to do a there and back from Hornby top edge of map) to the northern limit of my blue walk today. Ignore trig point markers - the red flag on the "o" of "Forest" is claimed to be the  "Centre of England" (or British Isles or whatever) - a subject leading to intense complexity by mathematical and geo-happy nerds - Google if you want.

Thursday, 21 November 2019

In danger of becoming rich

"O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!"

I've just received a letter from the Department of Work and Pensions'


"Now that you are approaching 80 you are entitled to a higher amount of State Pension.

Age addition at 25p. per week will be payable from your 80th birthday."


Tuesday, 19 November 2019


Monday 18th November 2019
Eden Way (1?)
Aisgill Farm to River Eden source and back - about 9 miles.

Ok, I know it's not strictly a verb but I like it, and why not?

Finding the source of a river sounds romantic - a picture of a bubbling little stream emerging from a hillside on a balmy summer's afternoon. From my experience it isn't. Sources are usually located high up, in the middle of nowhere with no footpaths where one imagines human foot never trod. When you arrive there is little to see and where the map shows emergence, no sign of water, especially in summertime. But if you want to walk the whole length of a river you have to start at the source. I avoided it with the Severn Way only starting at Shrewsbury a cowardly sixty eight miles from its source.

I fancy doing the Eden Way sometime but this section does not lend itself to inclusion in the first backpacking day and getting it out of the way now would leave a comfortable eleven miler to Kirkby Stephen ( assuming I could get somebody to drop me off at Aisgill Farm.)

It may have been a subconscious indication of lack of enthusiasm or perhaps prescience at this outing when I slept in and started an hour later than intended.

The signs were not good when I left a glorious blue sky sunny morning somewhere the other side of Sedbergh and drove into cloud which persisted until 11:30 am after I had started the walk at 9:50 am. I had only been able to find parking at the railway bridge over half a kilometre south from my start at  Aisgill Farm.

I had a chat with the farmer and I think he had doubts about my ability to find my way in the gloom, and although I don't see myself as an aged gent who should not be venturing into the fells I suppose others do.

I had immediate contact with the River Eden as I crossed a footbridge out of the farm, then veered off until crossing again by a deepish ford at Hellgill force, but just managing to keep my feet dry. The waterfall was not  easy to photograph.

The river swings east and then north from here running over solid limestone with dark brown but clear water pools between energetic waterfalls.

At the well named Hellgill Bridge I peered over the stone parapet to look down perhaps fifty feet below at the river cutting a narrow gorge through the limestone, much overgrown with trees and quite impenetrable and beyond the ability of my camera to show.

There was a track through the moorland veering away from the river until the track had to be left to cross rough country and ascend more steeply to Lady's Pillar, and Eden Springs the source of the Eden. An hour or so earlier the sun had penetrated the cloud and cloudless blue prevailed until I approached Hell Gill Bridge on the return.  As I had expected there was not much to see, just a dry stream bed - I was now at 689m. (2260ft.) and it was much colder, but since the sun had broken through the surroundings were moorland perfection with views in all directions and a few clouds still lingering here and there as inversions below surrounding hills - it was now a good day to be out. I couldn't find the track I had used earlier until nearly back down to Hellgill Bridge and it was time consuming over rough heather and tussocks.

Voices came from behind as I rejoined the track, they came from a couple out on a longer trek than mine I think. Their car was parked at The Moorcoock and as they still had a long way to go and the light was beginning to fade they asked if they could walk out with me and get a lift back to the Moorcock. This couple were good company, helping to lighten the tiredness at the end of a more strenuous day than I had bargained for. The couple (sorry, never asked your names) own the café at the trout farm at Kilnsey and have an interesting history of catering and skiing in the Dolomites and elsewhere. Thanks to them I got a much better shot of the waterfall on the way back. That was where we re-crossed the ford and at this time of day I was less concerned about keeping my feet dry.  I realised I had walked nonstop for just over six hours without a break for the snack and coffee I had brought. We drove off down to The Moorcck through thick fog with some care. Fortunately after that the fog cleared and I was back home for about for 5:30 pm for a well earned hot bath.

Aisgill Farm, just off the road - it was foggier than it looks here

First encounter with River Eden, just after the farm

Hellgill Force - I took a better photo on my return - see last photo here

Clear dark brown pools, limestone and waterfalls - delightful

Rime - awaiting the sun

Out of the cloud and fog at last

Lady's Pillar (689m - 2260 ft.) That is cloud not snow

Source of River Eden

My walking couple found this better location for a photo of Hellgill Force on our return journey, but the light was fading. Still, quite atmospheric

My route - thin red line
Downloaded GPX, Eden Way - green.
Ignore others - just flights of fancy on my Memory Map
Lady's Pillar and Eden Springs are only marked on OS 1:25000
but the 689m spot height shows where

Tuesday, 12 November 2019

Wainwright's Way - Haystacks and Honister

Sunday 10th November and Monday 11th November 2019

Sunday - Honister/Haystacks/ Buttermere

Monday - Rosthwaite/Honister


Forecast good for Sunday and poor Monday therefore do the grand finale Haystacks finish in good weather on Sunday and fill in Rosthwaite to Honister on Monday after staying overnight in the Glaramara Hotel in Seatoller.


There was an added complication for me to this schedule. On Monday we needed to walk from Rosthwaite and ascend steeply to Honister Pass summit a distance of about three miles in time for me to drive back home for the meeting of my book club back in Arnside at 2:00 pm.

To maximise time available on Monday morning at 7:30 am we took both cars to Honister summit leaving one and returning to the Glaramara Hotel for 7:50 so we could do the cereal part of breakfast prior to the official 8:00 am breakfast starting time. We then drove to Rosthwaite left the car and walked in strong wind and rain for most of the way to Honister. There was an excellent fix-the-fells- path come staircase to gain height quickly taking us onto the old unsurfaced road and a gentle ascent from there on to Honister summit. In the wet conditions I only took one photo: the Glaramara hotel as we passed back behind it on the way to the Honister footpath. A quick drive back to Rosthwaite and I was back home for 12:15 in time for a hot bath and a snack before my meeting.

On Sunday we had planned to rendezvous at our Buttermere finishing point at 9:00 am. I arrived first and was taken aback as I arrived from Newlands to find cars parked parked precariously all the way back for about quarter of a mile from the junction with the main Buttermere road. The car park down past the Fish Hotel was also full, but BC is a member of the National Trust and we used their car park a few hundred yards further up the road out of Buttermere. We never found out why there were so many cars parked so early but it may have been due to a fell race.

When we arrived at Honister although we were aware it was Remembrance Sunday we had forgotten about the annual service held on Great Gable by the Fell and Rock Climbing Club. There were around two hundred cars parked on the huge slate mines car park and we had some difficulty in finding a spot - free parking had been declared for the day.

We walked up the slate mine road before joining the path that lead us to Haystacks. I looked across the Honister road to Yew Crag with some sadness. I climbed with Tony for six or seven years before he died from illness in 2003 - Tony always lead and I followed, usually up to HVS (Hard Very Severe) standard. Tony was very competent and so safe -  I followed in my less than elegant fashion and always managed except for the one occasion on that Yew Crag across the valley on a climb called Cleopatra where I couldn't even get off the ground after Tony had lead the first pitch. Finally we had to give up and Tony had to abseil off leaving a sling behind which he was not too happy about - ah well.

We had cloudless blue sky and almost no wind giving us a magnificent day to finish what has been an excellent walk throughout. Innominate Tarn where Wainwright's ashes were scattered was at its best...

"All I ask for at the end is a last resting place by the side of Innominate Tarn on Haystacks where the water gently laps the gravely shore and the heather blooms and Pillar and Gable keep unfailing watch. A quiet place, a lonely place. I shall go to it, for the last time and be carried, somone who knew me in life will take me and empty me out of a little box and leave me there alone.

And if you dear reader, should get a bit of grit in your boot as you are crossing Haystacks in the years to come, please treat it with respect. It might be me..."

...and we pressed on to Haystacks summit - I caught a patch of sunlight on distant Pillar bringing back more climbing memories. 

I have been up and down the Haystacks to Scarth Gap scramble before treating it I guess with pleasant anticipation and then enjoyment. Today as I saw the steep start dropping off vertically it was more with trepidation and I found it pretty challenging and bringing into focus that such sections previously done without a care now need to be given serious consideration.

We opted to walk back up the  more pleasant elevated path on the western side of Buttermere lake - Nick Burton's route goes on the eastern side near the road.

We had hoped to round off the day by paying homage to the Wainwright memorial window in the little church at Buttermere but as we arrived outside the door we hear a cornet solo being played for the remembrance service that was being held.

The Glaramara Hotel in Seatoller gave us a most friendly welcome. We had a long chat with the proprietor - this is an excellent hotel, with a particularly comfortable ambience.

These last two days had provided a superb finish to what is an excellently devised route keeping alive the exploits of Alfred Wainwright for which I seem to gain ever more respect contrasting with a kind of dismissal back in the days of my youth when rock climbing took precedence over walking.

This and below - cars parked at Honister Pass for ascent to Great Gable and the Fell and Rock Club Remembrance Day service held annually there

Our route went up the old slate working road above the cars

Yew Crag, scene of my failed attempt with Tony on the climb Cleopatra. The crag is central to left of top of scree

Looking back down Honister Pass. The main road is well below the quarry road in the centre.

Looking back at the Honister slate quarry workings and all the parked cars

Mountain bothies Association bothy on the way to Haystacks, and below

Buttermere and Crummack Water

Blackbeck Tarn - and below

Sunlight on Pillar

Innominate Tarn where Wainwright's ashes were scattered.

Buttermere and Crummack Water.
This is the start of the scramble descent going down the rocks in the foreground

At the bottom of the scramble down to Scarth Gap - others going up

The scramble down to Scarth Gap

Fleetwith Pike from the southern end of Buttermere

Fleetwith Pike again

Glaramara Hotel where we stayed. Glaramara is peeping up at horizon with snow

Friday, 8 November 2019

Wainwright's Way - Langdale to Rosthwaite

Wednesday 6th November 2019
Wainwright's Way - Langdale (Old Dungeon Ghyll) to Rosthwaite -about 7.5miles 

BC suggests in his post, Click Here , that I enjoy arising early - not sure where he got that from. I was up at 4:30 determined to have breakfast to provide energy for the 120 mile round driving trip and a fairly strenuous Lake District walking day.


Arnside to Rosthwaite, (end of Borrowdale)
Rosthwaite to ODG Langdale
Rosthwaite to ODG Langdale (BC driving)
Langdale to Arnside

I am not  keen nowadays on driving in the dark and it only became light as I was driving down Borrowdale.

We departed from the ODG at 8:30 in gloomy weather with clouds drifting above, on top of and below the fells. All was pure nostalgia from the many times camping next to the ODG, climbing and carousing back in the late Fifties and early Sixties. Tales from the ODG are now mythical and get better for the telling every time when I remind Pete on our Thursday walks - last Thursday - from Pete:

"I remember one weekend in the ODG there were rumours that the Craigh Dhu* were in the area. About six of them  all over six feet came into the bar. The tallest one had a big black beard, he drew a huge knife from a sheath on his belt, stuck the knife in a wooden beam and hung his coat."

I don't know what time we set off on an epic day I had with Gimmer back then. We ascended to Pavey Ark, climbed Little or Great Gully (can't remember which), walked over High Raise down into Langstrath from where we scrambled Cam Crag Ridge.We then dropped down into Combe Gill and climbed up to Raven Crag to climb Corvus, then summited Glaramara and returned back to Langdale via Stake Pass - what a day.

As we trudged up Mickleden towards Stake Pass we passed the place where along with BC and Tony's wife Veronica and other friends we had scattered most of Tony's ashes back in 2003 (BC had known Tony much longer than me but I had climbed with Tony for about six years.) With the remainder of the ashes BC took Robert, Tony's son, and me up to Gimmer Crag where we did a scary climb (for Robert and me) so we could scatter the remaining ashes on Gimmer's summit.

Stake Pass brought back more memories of a blistering hot day walking the Cumbria Way with my springer Barney. Today the path, now largely improved and the cooler weather made for an easier ascent - we did that with only one brief stop of about a minute to take photos - not bad for a couple of well over seventy year olds.

My memory failed to recall a half mile section through a hidden plateau valley of hunps and bumps before starting the descent to Langstrath. We were on the lookout for a small unnamed tarn mentioned by Nick Burton in his guide attaching importance to keeping to its right. We only found it by chance by ascending a few feet from the well worn path from where it was not visible and in any case was of no use as a landmark and guide, but pretty enough for all that.

The continuing descent was on a completely uncharacteristic for Lakeland path descending with many tightly engineered zig-zags. Steeply down to our right the wild Stake Beck cascades and rushes over a bed of solid rock with  almost horizontal waterfalls  with proper vertical plunges every now and then all on a bed of solid rock - as impressive a beck as you would see anywhere. 

Langstrath must be one of the longest valleys in The Lakes and the trudge out was mostly on an uncomfortable rocky path - there was s feeling of remoteness with all the ambience of wilder and more remote terrain than one might expect in Lakeland - one doesn't necessarily have to climb several three thousand footers to have a true mountain day.

* Creagh Dhu - A notorious Glasgow based climbing club with a reputation for overall HARDNESS and a legendary uncompromising attitude to most other climbers.

N.B.  I have followed Ordnance Survey with the spelling of "ghyll" - I prefer this version. 


In view of the dingy light these photos are much much better if you click to enlarge.

Old Dungeon Ghyll - thankfully unchanged.
Early morning with poor light as per many of following photos 

The Band leading up to Bowfell annd Crinkles behind

Harrison Stickle and Gimmer Crag - note the sheep posing on the boulder

Zoom to Rossett Gill

Mickleden - Rossett Ghyll left, Stake Pass right

On the way up Stake Pass

The little tarn that Nick Burton attaches importance to

Down into Langstrath

The strictly zig-zagged path with Stake Beck down to the right

Stake Beck speeding over solid rock

Langstrath - you could be in one of the wilder Scottish glens?
I'm fairly certain the red dots identify Cam Crag Ridge

Looking back up Greenup Gill where our path joined Wainwright's Coast to Coast

The green line: Nick Burton's optional route