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, 30 December 2020

Lune Valley Ramble 3

Tuesday 29th December 2020

Aughton to Loyn Bridge 

Many circumstances have prevented me from walking for weeks. Any leisure time has been filled with my model making. The De Havilland Mosquito was finished and I am now embarked on a Mk1 Spitfire, but at last a decent weather forecast coincided with a blank calendar and the opportunity to leave WW2 and The Battle of Britain for a while.

On 19th August I walked the second part of The Lune Valley Ramble. Since then I bought an E-bike at vast expense with the idea of using it to combine car and bike for linear sections of such walks. I have never really had my heart in cycling, although its benefits were much enjoyed when I was using a mountain bike for Munro bagging. After a couple of outings locally on the bike it languished in the garage until I was honest enough with myself to ignore the cost. which kind of forces one to  pretend it was a good idea, and admit that I just didn't enjoy its company. Particularly on busy roads I was apprehensive and nervy. A couple of weeks before Christmas the bike was advertised and I was thankful to get back £100 less than I had paid for it.

Linear multi-day walks will now have to be tackled using circular routes only with half the distance contributing to the main objective. I have now realised that this is of no consequence: a walk is a walk  and a being in its own right and if half happens to be part of an objective that is a bonus.

The car was iced up. I started up and adopted the security risk of leaving it running with all the defrosting heater thing blasting away. The last time I did this I went back inside and left the keys there only to find when I arrived at my destination to meet BC for a day's walk I could not re-start the car without the keys and I was brought back home by Green Flag on the back of their recovery vehicle hoping that the neighbours would not be looking. Great care was taken today to avoid a repeat.

I was able to use a car park opposite the church in upper Aughton. A steep road descent into the lower part of the village needed care with patches of non-visible black Ice here and there. There is a cottage and outbuildings down by the river where I finished last time and I looked with mixed thoughts at the open ended barn I had earmarked as a good place to conceal a bike when I next resumed, and here I was now with the revised plan.

Although there was a heavy frost fields were still gloopy and hard going. It took perhaps quarter of a mile to get back to the river - it really is a big beast at this stage and the views upstream exemplified the  now spectacular scale.

I was soon into wooded sections with steep rough muddy mini switchback paths,  often intimidatingly above the river and with treacherous tree routes and numerous crossings of deeply gouged tributary streams - all generally arduous going. Hardly a pleasant "Lune Valley Ramble." This continued with odd sections of muddy fields. At one point there is a little cottage called The Snab. I had of course to Google this back home but although it is mentioned by other walkers  derivation is not mentioned. Googling "snab" alone came up with:

Sellers-Nuffield Advanced Biology (SNAB) is an advanced level Biology course. The course uses real life contexts as a starting point to introduce relevant knowledge and understanding of biological principles.

I don't think I'll be signing up for that anytime soon even though it may be more palatable using "real life concepts."

My "furthest north" was the familiar Loyn Bridge passed on our Wainwright's Way with BC and on many other occasions but not from this direction. I italicised being reminded of what I thought was a fantastic bargain - a grand first edition of "Nearest the Pole" by Peary (1907) found in a secondhand bookshop for thirty shillings. Gloating on this coup I examined further back at home -  looking at the list of illustrations I noted: "Frontispiece, colour, Peary planting the US flag at the "the furthest north." Excited I realised that this must have been a very rare colour photo at the time thus potentially increasing the value of my find - the frontispiece had been removed.

The return by roads and paths was enjoyable climbing back to  higher ground with extensive views of the Lune valley. I think I will need two more of these circular trips to finish off this project; return paths are not so evident but I have not yet planned properly.

Worth clicking photos to enlarge

The  exciting centre of Lower Aughton

Picking up from my last finishing point. The river is rejoined near the distant trees. Note the metal gate on the right of the stile then my next photo

Not sure if this old gate was supposed to be that shape or if it somehow got that way. The top bent bar appears to be a re-used scaffolding bar

Rough going perilously above the river

The Snab

They were several hundred yards away down below. I thought they were up to no good and took this long zoom but when I was closer I could see they were fishing. At least I was on the move keeping warm, they must have been frozen, but they seemed to be well clad

The river Wenning joining the Lune

Loyn Bridge "furthest north"
Flights of fancy?

Wednesday, 23 December 2020



Hi Dave,

Just looked at your new blog:

How does one make a comment?


Tuesday, 15 December 2020

Season's greetings.

 Wishing all an enjoyable Christmas and a better New Year.

Our alternative Christmas tree. Pink Teddy on the top goes back two generations - I think he could do with some attention from The Repair Shop The conventional tree is in the other room.
I will be apart from daughter and granddaughter this time, just me and son W.

Sunday, 13 December 2020

Don't underestimate sheep

It seems Bonzo had Floppy put in jail pending trial. Fortunately Floppy has a friend called Unshorn who is a bit of a sleeper belying, as a sheep, her presumed timidity.  Unshorn, again during the night, had noticed that Bonzo was, shall we say, otherwise occupied with Quacky. Unshorn, whose hero is Barrack Obama, has a gift for oratory and persuasion and she rallied the pack from their slumbers and preached the benefits of supporting Floppy as leader of the pack not least because Floppy was much more into chasing things across fields, wallowing in mud, and having a good time which was not the kind of thing Bonzo would be offering them, he being more interested in fighting other dogs and biting humans.

Unshorn had a plan. Whilst persuading the pack to mobilise somehow the Red Foxes had gleaned what was afoot and they tried to intervene, but the pack were now united in the plan to overthrow Bonzo and through force of numbers they soon had the Red Foxes handcuffed.

Off they all went to the jail, Unshorn leading the way in her chauffeur driven Land Rover. A stout chain was attached to the window bars of the jail and in true cowboy style, but using a Land Rover instead of a horse the bars were pulled out and thrown down below onto the hearth where I found them this morning. 

I have heard on The News that Unshorn as the ultimate peacemaker has been able to takeover as leader of the pack because Floppy was too much of a softy to take on that role. Bonzo and Quacky have been appointed as guards to look after Unshorn’s herd of relations on the adjoining side-table and also to guard the mantlepiece while the rest of them are off frolicking across my tartan carpet during the night chasing goodness knows what.

As for The Red Foxes they have been appointed as joint chauffeurs to Unshorn and also with responsibility for maintaining her Land Rover.

Oops! Just tried and enlargement is only being picked up on four of the photos for me.

The pack off to the jail following Unshorn in her Land Rover

The Red Foxes up to a bit of maintenance while Bonzo, Quacky, Floppy and Unshorn watch on

All back at home. Bonzo and quacky on guard. I think Red Fox Two is underneath draining the sump
The stone in the background is from the summit of my last Munro: Sgurr Mor (NM 965 980) - 28th June 2009


Mosquito update

Brother RR did National Service in the RAF as a radio technician. I wonder if the radio here would be familiar to him, although I think it may be older than the ones he worked on.

Tuesday, 8 December 2020

Attempted putsch in Arnside

 Tuesday 8th December 2020

Various circumstances have conspired recently against forays into the outdoors.

Meanwhile I have had a revolution on my hands. 

I have a collection of Beswick dogs on my mantelpiece and granddaughter Katie has always enjoyed seeing them. Katie presented me with Bonzo the bulldog on my birthday, a powerful guy with a strong will. He immediately took over as leader of the pack and appointed Quacker the duck as his second-in-command.

Yesterday I learned there had been an attempted overthrow by Floppy the springer. I think it happened in the night, but fortunately Bonzo and Quacker were able to  quell the rebellion but only with the help of their special agents, The Red Foxes.

I await the outcome - it may be that Floppy goes on trial but I hope he doesn't have a mysterious and unexplained fall off the mantlepiece.

The Mantlepiece Gang

007 and 007A: The Red Foxes

Katie after handing over Bonzo on my birthday

Monday, 23 November 2020

Walking in a bad mood

 Sunday 22nd November 2020 - Whitbarrow and Fairie's Cave

There were aspects of this walk that I did not enjoy. I wanted to visit Fairie's Cave which has recently come to my attention, and also a climbing crag at Slape Scar further south. I had walked on part of the route only a few days ago with not much enthusiasm passing close to the cave, and then plotting a satisfactory circular route to incorporate the crag was problematical. I decided to go for it anyway and improvise after the crag depending on visual assessment of the terrain. Having given the subject of objectives in a recent post an airing I now found that I was restricted by them to the extent of being forced to plot a route that did not appeal as an overall walk.

The path through the woods was unpleasantly squelchy and I found myself irascible right from the start. I was following a poor description for the location of the cave from an Internet post and spent longer than I should have not having a mental picture of the cave's situation and appearance. When I did find it there was no mistaking the huge deep cleft which I circled on steep pathless terrain with almost vertical forty foot drops into the depths. I tried to get a decent photo but the cleft was filled with trees. I could not see a reasonable way into the foot of the ravine without descending steep wooded hillside. If I was intending to explore this cave I would suggest abseiling in from the top. There seems to have been limited exploration which is a pity. with some persistence there may be a larger interesting system here The most  I could find on the Internet was this report from 2011.

Fairies' Cave (Pool Bank Cave)
The entrance is the dark slot above the choke of mossy boulders. The sound of running water can be heard inside although none was visible emerging. In 1979 the cave was extended by the Cave Diving Group to a length of 37m but became too tight for further progress. This is a shame since there is a lot of limestone above and good potential for a significant cave system.

Approaching the edge of the very steep forty foot drop into the cleft

After circumventing the rim at some peril I was able to look into the location of the cave from on high,
it is further away and deeper down than it looks here. It was not possible to get a good representative photo, but perhaps that was down to my slightly bad mood.
Zoom to cave

After visiting the cave I carried on reversing part of my route from a few days ago including the steep rocky ascent of Bell Rake. I vowed not to include its rough descent on my return. The next level section on the open Whitbarrow land was the best part of the walk and my spirit was briefly lifted.

As I approached furthest south where Slape Crag was supposed to be according to another poor website description, I reckoned  I would have to climb steeply through dense boulder strewn trees which completely obscured a view otherwise. Then it started to rain. I gave the crag a miss. I carried on finding more swampy paths until eventually coming out onto the more pleasant Whitbarrow open terrain, but with no alternative but to connect with the main ridge path up to Lord's Seat where dozens of folk were passing in both directions imposing some Covid anxiety. I used to run here then descend to the path that goes back though the woods and today I couldn't find it and pressed on trying to find a way down  but that was blocked by a substantial wall and bit by bit I traversed on until, much to my annoyance, I  found myself again at the top of Bell Rake which I had vowed not to include on my return. The only relief was that the rain had stopped and I picked my way down that steep rocky descent and then splashed my way back to the car.

Oh for those warm summer days and ridge walking high up on dry close-cropped turf.

Ascending Bell Rake, much steeper than it looks here

The best part of the walk

I stopped for coffee and a sandwich looking at this pretty view of blue sky, limestone, and silver birch before the path became unpleasant

At last out of the swamps

The pins show location of Fairie's Cave and supposedly Slape Crag which I never saw. The horrid path was the second half of the north/south bit. Bell Rake is marked close to the cave if you enlarge. The blue line is part of my route from a few days ago. Ignore the other blue route at bottom left

Saturday, 21 November 2020

Off-roading in my garden

Saturday 21st. November 2020 

The Land Rover kit was finished a few days ago.  "Weathering" is intentional. That was a good excuse to cover my inadequacies. After all, this is a 1973ish model and however well looked after it may have been it would be showing its age now.

It's a shame the current situation prevents me from taking her for a spin.

I am now embarked on a WW2 De Haviland Mosquito. A macro photo of the cockpit detail I thought I had just finished is about five times as large as the actual model and the imperfections of my paintwork which looked immaculate on the actual model are revealed as woefully slapdash, so I'm not showing that before some touching up is done and a new photo taken. I did make a better job of the undercarriage. 

If you are enthralled with this subject click the first photo to see enlargement.

The wings and engine pods are in primer. The undercarriage is painted. The camera has produced a sort of pink cast here and there that is just some sort of shadow or reflection.

Saturday, 14 November 2020

Moral dilemma

 Saturday 14th November 2020

There has been much debate recently about badger culling. I am not sufficiently qualified to interpret all the conflicting information, but this practice has now come close to home and I am not sure what to do about it.

From time to time my daughter asks me to baby sit two recently acquired kittens. I have to say they are adorable and much fun in small doses, but they walk all over my keyboard as I try to type, I am constantly tripping up over them, and they run riot all over the house, up and down, and sideways, and upside down, investigating everything. I have just come back from my dining room where I have discovered that the kittens are no fence-sitters as far as badger culling is concerned. They have taken decisive action.

Katie update - Nov. '20

Saturday 14th November 2020

Have you ever opened your mouth and put your foot in it?

I haven't been able to see much of granddaughter Katie recently with repeated lockdowns and the like, but I get reports and although I avoid Facebook for my own use I do intercept some info. from family members.

Katie has just gone nine. Katie and Mum have a first floor flat in Arnside. A couple of days ago the landlord had to summon a plumber to trace water leaking down below. The fault was traced to Mum's kitchen tap. Whilst the plumber was fixing this Katie was outside playing but came back in and went to supervise the plumber. Having weighed up was was afoot Katie chatted to the plumber, "Oh! So it's that tap that Mummy put in, did she make a bad job of it?"

The plumber was fortunately sympathetic with Mum and promised to keep mum. 

Katie with Arnside railway viaduct in the background

Thursday, 12 November 2020

Whitbarrow north

Thursday 12th November 2020

Just photos for a quick six miler on the spur of the moment. I have explored much of the southern end of Whitbarrow but neglected this northern end. It is quieter and not so rewarding but this was a pleasant outing taking advantage of the only day of half acceptable weather in the long range forecast. Most of the photos just illustrate the kind of terrain and dwellings.

This huge millstone had the accompanying inscription seen to the right and in the photo below, I placed my walking poles on the stone to show the scale

"Township Plantation

The first part of the walk was through old birch and mixed woods. Now I came out onto the northern back end of Whitbarrow

Looking back northwards

Old mine working I think

Bell Rake. Steeper than it looks and rough going. And below a bit further down

And then I was onto quiet tarmac until the track contouring round the absolute end of Whitbarrow to arrive at Row and back down the main road to Dawson fold. It looks like the fruit and veg. stall there has packed up.

Lime Kiln

The shape of things to come. Electric charging point. This is in a quiet village location with virtually no passing traffic but it still looks a bit vulnerable