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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


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


  1. "The Eden Project"
    Glad you found your Eden, that couple were obviously Adam and Eve.
    You had a much more strenuous day than I, but similar winter sunshine.

  2. let me know when you approach my domain - hospitality awaits
    has the makings of a wonderful walk - right down to the sea

  3. BC - I can assure you I had no apples in my rucksack.


    gimmer - will do as and when - thanks.

  4. Hi Conrad, I have just read the comments for your walk on Monday. It is us who came up from behind on the uneven top late in the afternoon - Jimmy and Tracey. It was a highlight of the day for us to spend a couple of hours walking out with you. You are an inspiration with what you've achieved and your attitude and drive. And good company to boot. I never live in regret but I do which we could have capped the afternoon off with a tea and scone. With that said I hope you enjoyed your bath and spaghetti Bol, our lamb shanks were yummy, plenty of mint gravy. All the best for the future and we'll surly keep an eye on the blog. J and T


  5. Jimmy and Tracey - Excellent. Welcome to the blog. Long may your comments continue. I will have to sort out a walk that incorporates a visit to your Kilnsey Trout Farm Café, but will be at the halfway point or at the end?

    I think if you have, or create a Google account you will then be able to identify yourselves rather than appearing as anonymous but that is your choice of course.

    For my other readers Jimmy and Tracey told me one of their specialities is deep fried battered trout - they said it sounds unusual but has proved to be very popular.

  6. Make sure they do it 'skin off' before embarking on such a lengthy trek

  7. gimmer - I don't think it would be fairly compared with our traditional battered cod where I agree with you about skin-off so perhaps one needs to be open minded. From your comment I thought you may be thinking I was planning to walk there from home but I meant devising a local day walk in the area.

  8. On the radar after the Eden Way is done, I had assumed (apropos of which, although the Eden does not flow that near Penrith, the best Fish and Chips in the World (skin on or off, to choice - by the way, I was always taught to eat the skin - good for you - lots of goodness/vitamins/minerals there, etc etc - and have always done so, with varying degrees of relish) can be found in Angels Lane - be there by 2000hrs or the chips lose their feathery (angelic ?) lightness - and is well 'worth the detour'.

  9. gimmer - Thanks for that heroic sentence.

    My mother used to force cod liver oil onto me because "it is good for you" but I have never taken it voluntarily since.