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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, 14 January 2020

OS Grid 38 (northing) SD 305 380 to TA 269 379 - Day 10

Friday 10th January 2020 - Barwick-in-Elmet to Church Fenton

Last year  Bowland Climber and I  set out to walk the Ordnance survey northing grid line SD 38 running from Blackpool on the west coast to East Newton (TA 268 379) on the east coast.

After nine day walks using two cars and public transport we finished at Barwick-in-Elmet on 2nd April 2019. Part of our motivation was to ensure we kept walking-fit during the winter months.

We have now resumed with three consecutive days walking and two nights bed and breakfast in the excellent Owl Hotel at Hambleton:

The first two days have been very well described by BC and I am sure Day 3 will follow. 

Setting off from home at 6:00am I had a good drive until I hit the Leeds ring road. There must be twenty roundabouts and every one had a quarter mile tailback.  I rendezvoused with BC in Church Fenton about 9:15 later than planned and after driving back to Barwick-in-Elmet I think we were walking by about 9:45.

We were soon following Stone Age dykes but the footpath veered away and we could see on the map we could still follow the dyke for another quarter of a mile. Just before we rejoined the public footpath we were accosted by a young gamekeeper complaining that we had ruined their planned shoot for the next day - well, we had put up one pheasant and we speculated about the possibility of the whole shoot being cancelled on our behalf. There was intermittent gunfire during most of this three day's walk and quite close at times.

We had several sightings of buzzards in the clear blue sky and at one point red kites.

The highlight of the day was the tiny St. Mary's Church  isolated in the middle of a field near the village of Saxton. There had been a medieval village surrounding the church which is now long gone.

The Ramblers' Church

Since being rescued by a group of walkers in 1931, St Mary's has been known as the Ramblers’ Church. The repairs made then are recorded on the back of the church door. The church stands alone in the middle of a field filled with the bumps and furrows of earthworks that indicate the site of a Medieval manor house, for which St Mary’s was probably originally the chapel.

Nearby is Towton, the site of the War of the Roses battle, believed to be bloodiest in English history which brought the Wars of the Roses to an end in 1461. Ten thousand men are said to have been killed, and Cock Beck, the little stream which you cross to get to St Mary’s, is said to have run red with blood. You can find monuments to crusading knights in this tiny 14th-century church.

Despite its awesome history, St Mary’s is a peaceful place. The tiny rectangular building is very simple. It was probably built by the Tyas family, whose massive grave slabs are set into the floor. Carved with heraldic symbols and inscriptions, and dating from the 13th-century, they are an important and interesting collection.
Later additions were made to the church in the 18th-century, with a rustic pulpit, clerk’s pew, reading desk and painted texts.
Thanks for the above from the website of The Crooked Billet pub which we walked past not far from the church - my highlighting.

The church had an unusual three tier pulpit which reminded me of the Monty Python sketch identifying the grades in our class system - perhaps the top one was reserved for the visiting archbishop and the lower ones for his subordinates?

We had much lively conversation wondering about the Battle of Trowton which must have been on a par with battles of WW1 and unbelievably more bloody. Why did anybody want to be king in those days? Nearly all of them came to a violent end after spending the whole of their lives in conflict. Perhaps that comment reflects my twenty six years of retirement and the stresses of daily working life now a distant memory?

More debate surrounded the meaning of the word billet - we were both correct, me with my piece of wood and BC with his soldier's accommodation, but have a look at a good dictionary - there is much more.

What a splendid day's walking after only one decent walk for me from well before Christmas.


Barwick-in-Elmet Church

Becca Hall - 1783 - many owners - quite interesting history on Wikipedia. Currently owned by Lara Grylls, sister of Bear Grylls.

In Aberford

Aberford Bridge - Grade 2 listed. Late C18.

For my Relics collection

This was a dodgy bridge. The path alongside went uphill whilst the river was flowing downhill!

This and below - red kites

St, Mary's Church close to Saxton and the site of the Battle of Towton

The three tiered pulpit

Church Fenton church, and below


Granddaughter Katie update.

I gave her watercolour paints for Christmas and this was her first attempt.


  1. Your camera is able to zoom so much better than mine - hence the Red Kites.