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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


Monday, 20 January 2020

Following the coast (1)

Monday 20th January 2020

I know I will never walk round the whole coast of England (I have already done all of Wales.)

Browsing the map I wondered how much of the England coast I had walked and I plotted the information very approximately onto a map:

That gave me the idea of filling in the blanks, but not as a serious campaign, just as and when, and with the knowledge it will not be completed. There are bits from Carnforth down to the northern Welsh border that I have walked but they are too small to show on the map but there is much I haven't and all that is more or less within driving distance for day walks.

The nearest home is a short bit from Bolton-le-Sands north up to Carnforth so off I went this morning.

The start is on the shore just south of the Bay View café/garden centre which I have often visited with Pete but walked from there in the opposite direction. A stretch of tarmac leads to the shoreline "footpath" marked on the map as The Lancashire Coastal Way. Much of this area is covered by sea when the highest tides prevail and it is a lacework of deep and shallow puddles interspersed with marsh. With great care I was able to keep my feet dry just wearing Gortex trainers until near the end.

As usual I noticed discarded Lucozade bottles every now and then. They seem to be the most frequently repeating litter item. So does that mean Lucozade drinkers are more prone to littering than other humans? Or are they sold in higher numbers than Mac Donald's burgers thus statistically increasing their mathematical chance of higher frequency? With this worrying puzzle I plodded on  wondering where I stood as an ofttimes purchaser of Lucozade and what does that mean when defining my character?

I returned by lanes and then footpaths across more marshland. A new occupation has been growing for a year or two in our area, that is looking after pet dogs while owners are at work. Bordering my lane was a field where a chap was so engaged with about twenty dogs. They all came tearing across the field towards me barking and leaping at the disturbingly low fence and kept up with me for about two hundred yards until I was past the far end of the field. I am sure those dogs could have jumped the fence and presumably as fairly tame pets they were not of the ilk to be totally ferocious but I reckon I wasn't all that far from being torn limb from limb.

 Drama wasn't over yet.

In the next open field there were four horses and a group of six or seven sizeable ponies. As I walked the ponies set off on a parallel course from me but thankfully about fifty yards away. They geared up into a full gallup and when they were about two hundred yards ahead of me they turned and reversed their course again at full gallup and they continued to do this during the whole ten minutes or so it took me to walk across this large field.

I was looking forward to visiting Bay View Café. I drove up there to find new tarmac road leading past a whole newly developed café with three massive glass windows in line and visible inside perhaps more than fifty tables all occupied. The road lead to a massive car park with around a hundred cars parked and no vacancies that I could see, not that I had any intention of stopping after witnessing this monster development from what used to be a cosy little café with friendly staff and home made cakes. I was off back home to a bowl of my own home made soup and malted bloomer toasted and buttered..

Initial tarmac leads to marine marsh shoreline.
My own Arnside Knott is one of those distant hills

The marshlands

The only operative part was the bit of thin green string

It was here that I realised I had previously walked part of this route with BC during our straightline Longridge to Arnside campaign. That time we went over, today I went straight on

Some of the dogs still chasing even though I had now turned at right angles and was walking away from the fence.

Some of the ponies and horses now resting after their galloping alongside me. I was only ten yards from the stile here and at last felt safe to take a photo.

The green route disappearing south-east was our Longridge/Arnside straighline route


  1. You’re a coastal walker now!

    The dog-walking industry is a real pain at times. I’ve met groups of 10 dogs or more, most running off lead, with only a young woman in charge who seems to have no control. Quite terrifying when they all run towards you barking loudly. (Not as terrifying as cows... but that’s another story!)

  2. As you know, I'm with you both, utterly and completely, on this: all dogs should either be held on steel chains bolted to massive concrete blocks - or shot on sight.
    Particularly those friendly pet dogs that 'have never harmed anyone' - until they scent my blood.
    I suspect it is actually already an offence for dogs to be unleashed (in the strict sense) in this way in a public place or one with a public right of way across it: one reads of a significant number of attacks on passers-by, some fatal, caused by out of control dogs in such places: it is common sense that dogs in a group (ie more than one !) revert to the wild, become excited and impossible to control , even by an experienced and gifted handler - so the practice is both dangerous, probably illegal - and certainly a breach of the Queen's Peace (and this does include corgis, of course)! Grrrr.
    As for horses and cattle - try going the other way - sheep maybe, but never cows (or horned goats, camels or elephants, to be sure)

  3. Gimmer - while I would agree that packs of dogs (or a single dog) out of control can be alarming and I dislike those dog owners and the dog walking fraternity who allow their dogs to charge up to me, I am appalled at the views expressed in your first paragraph. I don’t have hard data, but my hunch is that the probability of being savaged or bitten by a dog or attacked by a cow is very low. Life is full of risks but we all have a tendency to overestimate the probability of any one of them happening to us. As a mathematician friend of mine said on a different topic ‘ go worry about something else’!

  4. That was the stretch of coast I found rather unnerving with the sea lapping at my heels. I escaped into the inland fields for some distance.

  5. Hi Conrad. I admit that I love walking coastal paths almost as much as the hills. The scenery can be spectacular, rougher the sea the better. The smells are different and it does make for an invigorating walk at times. Hopefully we will do some east coast walking in March.

  6. Ruth - I'm not in your league for coastal walking. I have the greatest admiration for what you have achieved.


    Gimmer and Afoot - I had a springer spaniel for sixteen years and I still miss him after ten years or so. I could walk Barney to heel through a field of sheep and he would come when called.I like friendly well behaved dogs and reckon I can weigh them up but I have had some unpleasant experiences over the last few years and am now a little more wary. So I can't agree with your hyperbolic suggestions Grimmer bur I do think there should be harsher penalties for transgressors. The sort of thing that annoys me happens when a dog starts yapping at me or worse snd the owner says"it's because you are wearing a hat..." or using walking poles, or carrying a rucksack as though it's all my fault.


    BC - I was lucky and certainly not from any research about the tide - it just happened to be out but it was still a pretty splodgy walk.

    Alan R - yes. There is something about the sea that always gives me lift. Perhaps it's a bit of a cliché but I think it's to do with us bring an island nation.


  7. Sir Hugh

    I agree entirely. We had two border collies over a 30 year period and as you’d expect both showed a keen interest in sheep, but we never had any concerns that either would take off after them. That said we often did put them on leads for their own safety since to be fair to farmers, they didn’t know that our collies were well behaved.

    I would say that walking through farm yards, particularly with a collie,invites trouble from the resident collies and we were always wary in that environment. A few years ago walking the Ochils, two irish wolf hounds (I think) came bounding round a corner and nearly flattened us. They were friendly but should have been under better control. On another occasion in the Ochils we met a girl with a border collie on a lead and as she started to tell us that the dog was nervous I put my hand out to pat him only to receive a nip. But that was entirely my fault.

  8. afoot - to assure you, it was , as Sir Hugh remarks, a hyperbolic jest: my sister and I were attacked by a monstrous Great Dane when i was four - it knocked us down and stood over us, straddling us with all four sets of claws , snarling and dripping from its lathering mouth - strangely, both my sister and I have had bad feelings about most dogs since - ' cet explit tout ': and they really do seek out my blood !
    I'm sure they can be lovely - for others.

  9. Gimmer - I’m not surprised you and your sister have bad feelings about dogs given your Great Dane experience. My only really bad experience with a dog was when I was thirteen years old - and I only saw the consequences, not the event - was when my first dog was killed by a Greyhound. Greyhounds are gentle souls, often badly treated, but on that occasion apparently all it saw was a black furry thing running so pursued it. It was just being a Greyhound and the owner was not in control.I think sometimes all the intelligence is at the wrong end of lead!

  10. (Attempt 2 at this comment. The public wifi I'm using dropped out and took my comment with it. How rude!)

    As the dogs and horses have already been discussed, I'll go down the litter route:

    My own non-scientific research has suggested that litter originating Macdonalds is far more prevalent at the roadside than Lucozade bottles. You can always tell, from many miles distant, when you're approaching a town that houses one of the fast food chain's outlets by the increasing amount of discarded wrappers bearing their branding.

    Many a road walk has been accompanied by a discussion (oft repeated, but never reaching a firm conclusion) as to whether people who frequent Macdonalds are more prone to littering than the population as a whole, or whether the amount of littering among their customers is at the normal level across society, but explained by the huge numbers of people who buy food there.

  11. That'll teach me! I read your post this morning and commented just now (because I have a keyboard in front of me now and I didn't this morning). What I should have done is re-read your post. I now see that my final paragraph reflects almost exactly your own ponderings. I think we can safely say that you, me and Mick all think along similar lines on the subject!

  12. i'm working on a plan for dealing with litter dropping or throwing:
    all packages to have an undetectable embedded or printed RFID chip which, when the server gives the pack to the purchaser, encodes with his or her mobile or card's own chip identifier (i forget what this called - MAC address or something like that) - it is axiomatic that all litterers have a mobile phone - and hey presto, when the offending discard is collected, the discarder can be identified instantly. It may even be possible to scan the roadside from a moving vehicle - or on foot if away from the road, without actually having to pick up the offending item.
    For execution, it will be made an offence, like speeding, to which there is no defence and the punishment, condign of course, can range from clearing the litter from a mile of motorway central reservation on a wet windy night to . . .
    For Lucozade bottles, the chip will be incorporated in the body of the bottle . . .
    Don't laugh - it is technically feasible and this type of system is already in use in thousands of shops to identity shoplifters and to track legitimate purchasers around the store. All it needs is the political will - some day.
    I had once thought that DNA tracking could be used but degradation of the sample by water and sun would make it difficult - as well as only catching litters whose DNA is already in the database - and only litter where the object had been licked or sucked being identified . . . although, as we all know, litterers come mainly from the criminal classes, that should still yield a good crop of convicts. The RFID chip plan is quicker, much cheaper and much more certain - and less disgustingly messy.
    Details of the fully worked out plan and draft legislation can be sent to interested parties from that comfy room with that thick bouncy wallpaper just inside the main door of the special hospital where they are working hard to calm one down after the sighting of a particularly flagrant act of . . . .

  13. Needless... - What a splendid idea, especially the punishment of picking up the litter on a cold wet day.

  14. Lucozade is associated with the Red Bull family of "energy" drinks, famed mainly for providing evidence on how vacuous people can be persuaded to spend largish sums of money on adulterated water. Energy drinks are a subset of a wider habit whereby huge sectors of the population now feel it necessary to be seen refreshing themselves in public - at departmental meetings, funerals, performances of the Mass in B Minor, queueing for buses, riding on buses and getting off buses, in doctor's waiting rooms and - possibly - while otherwise behaving privately over the pissoir.

    Apart from the litter problem I am haunted by the thought of what these imbibers did before drinks became so portably available. Did they die of thirst in public? Did crossings-sweepers (And when did you last see one of those?) brush them away as dried-up husks, telling all and sundry they were sorting the wheat from the chaff?

  15. RR - I have often commented to walking friends about the FASHION for carrying a water bottler everywhere but not, as I can recall, on this blog. I tried Red Bull once and was overcome with nausea and haven't tried since; their investment in sports sponsorship must exceed the budget of the USA?

  16. This question - what people did before plastic bottles - has intrigued me as well: we were advised, in various well-thumbed books and guides, to train ourselves not to drink during walks or climbing (fell walking or going up to the crag) - I suspect it may have been BP who advised sucking on a couple of pebbles if really needed. The need to drink was considered a sign of unfitness and bad technique - excess breathing even.
    One never saw people drinking water on the buses or the tube (although in the days of smoking and no a/c, it might have been better that one did) - my guess is that it is a principally a marketing effect and mindlessly pursued by 'health experts' who themselves have been brainwashed by the bottled water suppliers and merely repeat, unthinkingly, their propaganda. Having an 'oral experience' at least every 90 mins is claimed to be instinctive - the migration from minutes to seconds has been a miracle of marketing and MeToo-ism. At huge cost to the environment, the pocket and the climate !

  17. On the hill I was told from a very young age to “drink before you are thirsty, eat before you are hungry, stop before you are tired”. I generally do the first two and feel much better when properly hydrated and fed - which comes as no surprise. Why people need to consume food and drink while walking along the street is beyond me. As for those who do it while driving vans or cars...

  18. gimmer and afoot - I remember gimmer's first paragraph being instilled in us in our scouting days. I drink little during my walks these days unless it is unbearably hot. In the evening ( in the privacy of my own home) I then find myself drinking large amounts of water.

    I have read from various quasi medical sources that one should drink several litres of water per day - my thoughts are that one should drink whatever your body suggests. Another modern phenomenon is the bladder system ( a plastic bag in the rucksack with a long plastic straw attached so you can drink as you walk - in my opinion that is just extra weight to carry and infuriatingly no indication of how much you have left.

  19. afoot - reverting to instruction given when young(er, or course): very sound doctrines at any age - the last sometimes rather hard to obey - for rests, yes, but overall, often hard to judge: a mantra even harder to grasp 'it is twice as far back' - its zen-like feel is beyond most of us.
    A no-drinking regime might be all very well in the UK but simply insane in high hot climes, even in the Alps or the Pyrenees, let alone the greater ranges: one of the seminal discoveries of Griffith Pugh - with Michael Ward - that keeping well hydrated was the key to effectiveness, stamina and survival at high altitude, was one of the 'untold secrets' of the 1953 Everest expedition's success - his story, as related by his daughter, is one of the most interesting and sobering books on 'mountaineering' and 'mountaineers' I have ever read: 'Everest - the first ascent: the untold story of Griffith Pugh' - is compulsory reading, on many quite unexpected levels.

  20. gimmer -I agree - the Pugh book was one of the most fascinating I can remember. He was verging on genius, but an unsung hero, I suspect because of his outsider temperament and his curmudgeonly character making him unpopular with his contemporaries, but his absence would almost certainly have scuppered the success of the 1953 Everest expedition the credit for which fell less deservedly on Hunt. The book reveals much relating to the science involved mountaineering, but also interweaves a very human story.

    See my review from November 2015 which was based on your recommendation of the book to me.

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  22. Gimmer and Sir Hugh - I'm ashamed to say I haven't read the book but I'll put that right once I've dealt with my current pile of volumes. A friend's nephew is a hospital consultant and climber and is currently training to specialise in high altitude medicine, but I wonder if that generation read these old expedition books. Since I value your opinion on such matters I'll recommend it to him.

    On hydration, I heard the respected Paul Rose repeat the advice I quoted while he was doing a programme on the Pennine Way a few years ago. Of course I never blindly accept what I'm told but the evidence on the importance of hydration during exercise (UK or elsewhere) is unequivocal. Your muscle cells are 75% water...

    Are we going for 100 comments?

  23. afoot - I certainly respect Paul Rose - a good guy.

    This will now get us up to 23 posts I think and I am pleased to see some varied discussion taking place after a while of scarcity of comments.