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


Tuesday, 31 March 2020

La Peste

Tuesday 31st. March 2020

I wanted to post my reply to Gimmer on my last but one post "News from the USA"  because I reckon not many people look back at older posts to see later comments and this matter is so topical and worth more general airing.

 My reply to gimmer:

One of thr most influential books I have ever read is The Plauge (La Peste), Albert Camus. unfortunately the English translation is poor but the good news is that it is easy to read in French for anybody with a reasonsble acquataince with the language and I strongly recommend it.

Below is an exchange I had with my brother RR on his blog a few days ago:


"...The fictional story is told through the eyes of the local doctor, Rieux; his commitment to his task is complete, but his attitude is dispassionate. As we would hope of people in charge; Trump showing how not to do it. There is nothing to be gained by getting excited and uttering overworked words like “menace”.

Rieux and the others do what they do because the need is obvious; discussion is unnecessary. The solutions are mainly traditional, tried and true; good results at first seem distant but it’s important to be patient. Without articulating that need.

Best of all, courage is inferred, never stated. People volunteer for difficult work and some die. But no one dwells on this, calling it a tragedy; it was to be expected." 

My reply:

"La Peste made perhaps the greatest lasting impression on me of any novel I have read and that has been with me now for many years. It is one of the few books I have read in the French language after reading it in English. That demonstrated how bad a translation can be. I seem to remember the scene where the child dies and Rieux (I think) questions the priest about there being a bountiful god being particularly badly handled. That is shameful especially as that is one of the fundamental issues Camus is putting up for consideration."

By slight coincidence with your refernce to Naziism many have suggested that La Peste is, apart from its main theme, also an analogy to the Nazi supression of France.

Sunday, 29 March 2020

Circular from home

Sunday 29th March 2020

I'm developing a routine, at least at the start of the day:

Breakfast - read news on computer and answer and make comments on the blog.

March up and down my stairs ten times.

Go out for a local walk.

Today I think I have established what may be a regular route from home. I decided to take photos to show an almost continuous record - it is perhaps a bit boring, but for my readers from other countries (yes I do have some) this will give a good idea of my locale. The walk is one and a half miles and today, including stops for photos took me thirty five minutes.

Worth clicking first photo to see slideshow after reading captions

Round the corner from my house, Silverdale Road just out of sight at top

Left into Silverdale Road. My nearest post box on left under shadow of hedge

Silverdale Road.
Cemetery and chapel on left beyond car.
Right turn into Red Hill Woods opposite cemetery

Cemetery and chapel.
Latter is used for parish council meetings and other occasional events

Right turn off road opposite chapel into Red Hill Woods

Red Hill Woods - Arnside Knott way up to the left

Halfway along track in woods - no need to use bench today

Emerging from woods onto High Knott Road - distant Lake District hills in view

High Knott Road. Elevated above Arnside with a line of grand old houses on left

Arnside railway viaduct - on the way to Grange-over-Sands

I've walked High Knott Road perhaps hundreds of times at all days of the week and times of day but never seen so many cars parked opposite the large houses

Descending from High Knott Rd to Red Hills Road

Red Hills Road.
Junction in distance with Silverdale Road and my convenience store opposite
My convenience store - Silverdale Road

Looking up Silverdale Road. Dentist on right, playing field etc. on left

Children's playground, cricket and football pitches, bowling club and tennis courts

Left off Silverdale Road onto top of Briery Bank. Telephone exchange on left

After a few hundred yards on Briery Bank I have now turned right into Hollins Lane and a steep little climb back to home

My neighbour flying the Union Jack and the Westmorland flag.
Westmorland as a county was merged with Cumbria for "administrative" purposes in 1974 - I am sure my friend and commenter Gimmer will have something to say about that. Many, including Gimmer, lament the redaction of the name of this historic region which had, and still has its own special identity.

Friday, 27 March 2020

News from USA

Friday 27th March 2020

Want to know whst they think about us in th USA at the moment?

Read this from today's New York times:

Thursday, 26 March 2020

Disconnected jottings - early days - Covoid 19

Thursday 26th March 2020

My tea consumption, and I guess that of the nation is getting out of hand.

I decided on scrambled egg on toast for lunch. I took two mugs, broke and whisked an egg in one, put the bread in the toaster, switched on the kettle then put my tea bag in the cup with the egg. A message has gone viral amongst the family asking for a recipe that will incorporate the result.

Yesterday and today I have embarked on a project to walk up and down my stairs ten times none stop each day. This has started with good intentions,  any bets for how long it will last?

I will be going for short local walks on the roads. Until a few days ago I thought I would be doing no harm if I went into a remote area for a walk knowing that I would meet nobody, or at least maybe one or two other walkers. Now I realise that our voluntary Mountain Rescue teams will be compromised in the same way as our public services and it is not fair to go off somewhere where you could become a casualty as I know too well, although when that happened to me I did manage to get out on my own, but of course we who go out often tend to think we are well competent and it wont happen to us - DON'T DO IT.

I am well equipped for solo existence having lived on my own now for twenty three years - I read,  blog, cook, watch tele, play with Photoshop Elements, and communicate also by email with a network of a dozen or so friends and relations. I am not one for pubbing or clubbing and am quite lazy these days about making the effort to go to the cinema or other manifestations of the arts. My major interest is walking, most often on my own, but also very enjoyably with one or two very good friends and that is the thing I will miss most, but living with my own company is no problem. I know many people find that difficult and I sympathise.

My last book club read was a 500 pager - An Officer and a Spy, Richard Harris. That was a docu-novel about the Dreyfus affair, a true story of a Jewish French army officer wrongly accused of spying, an event that split families and the whole country down the middle according to which side one took - a brilliant read handled by Harris, a master story teller. Shades of Brexit, a word I haven't seen anywhere in the news for the last few days - do you think it has gone away?

We are now embarked on our next book - Charles Dickens, a Life - Claire Tomalin. I am 200 of the 400 pages in - not quite as exciting as the Dreyfus but an amazing amount of meticulous research and certainly worth a read - D was a far more complex character than I knew.

Arising from the Dreyfus it is well known that Emile Zola wrote a pamphlet in defence of Dreyfus called "J'accuse" and one of the book members was trying to find a Zola biography - I found one and left her a copy on the doorstep - this one is an 800 pager! A couple of days after I sent J an email asking if she had finished it yet - "only another 799 pages to go" was the reply. I also have a copy - it may well last the duration of our incarceration.

At some point in the year I convert from long trousers to wearing shorts most of the time. Yesterday out came the shorts - a double edged event, firstly a symbol of Spring, longer days and better weather, but on the other hand a reminder of how little those events will be taken advantage of, or perhaps a challenge to find worthwhile substitutes.

For years I have hated gardening - it is hard toil and whilst I enjoy and appreciate the results they are all too short lived and the weeds and grass have grown back in no time and you start all over again. But, I have spent an hour or so each day over the last two days concentrating on one small area each time and I can see that now being housebound for a long period I will be able to continue without the temptation of rushing off into the wilderness. I may even get to enjoy it - perhaps many of us will develop new skills or take up new pastimes?

Of course I am already longing for an end to all this and following in the footsteps of Mole in The Wind in the Willows - the quote is listed here in my sidelines, but no apologies for repeating it here.

Mole has suddenly realised that Spring has arrived.

"...he suddenly flung down his brush on the floor, said ”Bother!” and “O blow!” and also “Hang spring-cleaning!” and bolted out of the house without even waiting to put on his coat. Something up above was calling him imperiously..."
Wind in the Willows

Sunday, 22 March 2020

Arnside under threat

Sunday 22nd March 2020

I am at home with my son self isolating and social distancing. We are both in the "vulnerable" category.

My daughter has a flat ovelooking the pier in Arnside - she is a teacher in a senior position and has been putting herself at risk from the beginning of this outbreak along with her eight year old daughter. It is a blue-sky-sunny day and she tells me the village front is teeming with visitors with virtually no indication of social distancing. People are using the same metal handrails, sitting on seats where ohters have just moved from and generally intermingling.

This is just not fair on the residents of Arnside. If Governement guidelines were properly followed these people should not be here at all. In normal times we welcome visitors who bring trade and life but this is just pure selfishnes, or ignorance, or shear bloodymindedness.

These irresponsible people are wilfully contributing to the exponential growth of the infection, and that has been obvious for some time which I reckon should have been the trigger for the Governement to impose a legal curfew. That is a tragic thing to consider and If people had used common sesne and conformed to the advice it may not be necessary- through their selfishness they are going to make the rest of us suffer.

Saturday, 21 March 2020


My good friend Bowland Climber who comments here has just posted the link below on his blog. I have repleid as per copy below but in order to spread this message as much as possible I am repeating it here and strongly uge everybody to read it and re-post from their own source so that we can get this over to as many people as possible. Time is obviuously vitaly important.

This morning I awoke to read another blogger I follow who WAS embarked on his round Brtain walk which he abandoned and has now found he is a victim himself - again sober reading but real life and unadourned.

My reply on BC's post:

I've just listened to that. My son thinks I am getting too embroiled in the whole thing and up to a point I can see that not being a good thing but here we have the absolute truth about what is going on compared with prime minister's briefings and an avaalnche of stuff on the media that is difficult to dissemeinate. I will be more selective I think in future and try not to be too immersed but having said that, if there is one source that I think everybody in the country should take on board it is this moving and real assesment.

To any other readers here:


Tuesday, 17 March 2020

Wild Boar Fell

Monday 16th March 2020 - Wild Boar Fell - 708m - 2323ft (SD 755 984) circular

My reaction to the C thing is of course to comply with the strongly forced advice but to drive to remote locations to do obscure circular walks without visiting cafés or whatever.

I know everybody doesn’t agree with the methods the UK government are applying but at least it is a plan that in its own way will tackle the problem and we are now stuck with it and must responsibly try and make it work as well as it can. This not just a matter of self preservation but importantly also not passing C to others when we are living in cuckoo-land seeing ourselves healthy before the eruption of the virus which we are unknowingly carrying - a point that seems to be lost on  some members of our population.  I am no fan of Johnson by the way.

Ok - rant over.

I suppose Wild Boar Fell is hardly an obscure objective but this was planned the day before the latest request to self isolate for the over 70s was announced. That was only after I returned home, and I had been trying to conform along with the previously suggested advice. I had already opted out of a meeting of my book club where the remaining members were continuing to live in denial along the lines I mention above.

It seems Wild Boar is, sort of topically, a subject of some contention:

Wild Boar Fell is a mountain in the Yorkshire Dales National Park, in the civil parish of Mallerstang on the eastern edge of Cumbria, England. At 2,323 feet, it is either the 4th-highest fell in the Yorkshire Dales or the 5th, depending on whether nearby High Seat is counted or not.  Wikipedia

This is also a Marilyn and I have climbed it a couple of times before but from the other side. On the last occasion I was descending the obvious ridge of Swarth Fell and I must have stood out prominently as an RAF jet came across just above my head and waggled his wings.

Today wind was my biggest problem. It was strong, but I have known stronger, but this was unceasing throughout the walk and it got to me. Somehow wind makes simple things difficult like taking photos or stopping for the usual faffs including the sandwich stop, more so than other kinds of inclement weather. I have to say it spoiled the outing today. Most of the route was over pathless moorland and fairly hard going and I wouldn't recommend it to others. I found nowhere except perhaps the summit shelter to stop for my sandwich and coffee, but the wind was so strong on the top that I departed by something akin to a dyno move in rock climbing terms (just touching as one passes on.)

I was glad to get back to the car where I had my food break in comfort wallowing in the anticipation of a hot bath back at home.

It was in fact a good sunny day which doesn't seem to be reflected by these photos.
Nevertheless it's worth a click to enlarge
The Uldale Fell road - my start was from a large carpark just west a couple of hundred yards down the A683 from here

From the fell road out onto open land

Wraygreen Farm

Tarn farm - nobody about

Wild Boar Fell hidden in cloud

Eller Hill Farm

Needle House. There was a bell on the end of the roof of the long building centre - see next photo...

...Just past there a lonely builder was refurbishing the farmhouse - he knew nothing about the purpose of the bell - it remains as one of the many of life's mysteries that I am storing up

Panorama to the Howgills - my route over rough moorland toils up from the dip right of centre

It would have been a fine little ridge walk along to the summit but for the more than irritating wind

Just a flying visit. I think this shelter is new since I was last here

Thursday, 12 March 2020

Hesketh Marshes poem

This is based on my previous post about walking down the Hesketh marshes following the River Ribble as it nears the sea, and the resulting comments from my post.

Thanks to those who will recognise their own words and thoughts used with some license from me.

Man is baffled to find a use
But reluctant to ignore.
Green looks grey as seen through gauze.
Walkers on these bleak estuarine urban fringes
Remember Magwitch and more haunted Kentish marsh. 
Damp sticky, and chill, and lonely levée.
Trodding above tide line - drifted sticks and plastic,
And logs, and odd wrecked shoes, and bladder seaweed,
And rope abandoned, and the odd dead fish,
And planks and wooden beams
With hints of erstwhile trouble out at sea.

After. My photos confirm the gloom.
I write and show and readers say d’accord,
Except for one remembering the same
Without the gauze, now blazing sun,
And finding beneath a rare defiant tree
Welcome shade to munch her lunch
And eager,
Celebrating her chance to use
This expanded open scape.

Tuesday, 10 March 2020

Following the coast (11)

Monday 9th March 2020 - Preston to Tarleton - 11 miles

Rain was forecast for later in the afternoon so I was up at 6:00 and walking from Preston Portway Park and Ride by 7:50 am with eleven miles to do before the rain came. The bus stop for my return  to Preston was about quarter of a mile down the busy A 59 and as I trudged carefully down the grass verge I was fearful of seeing a bus coming my way before I arrived at the stop. All was well. I only had to wait three minutes, and the rain just started before I boarded.

I was reminded of one of General Patton's maxims: The Six Ps:

"Perfect Practice Prevents Piss Poor Performance"

Practice in my case in the sense of method.

I crossed the Ribble from preference by the Old Penwortham Bridge which is now just a cobbled footpath. Immeditely opposite the other side was an enticing looking coffee shop but I am concerend about Coronavirus and much as I would have welcomed a coffee I pressed on to find the footpath which would follow the Ribble almost until the river arrives at the sea.

For half a mile or so a tarmac road passes through landscaped parkland apparently refurbished from a coalfired power station operating back in the mid 1800s. That road then became a gravel path, then an earth path with muddy patches in places before emerging onto wide grass river banking making for pleasant walking and a whole new view of the River Ribble.

In one area there was a profusion of molehills. One in particular was much larger than the others. Was this the royal residence, or a mole hotel, or pethaps their version of the Albert Hall - I couldn't hear any music?

Where I could see the Ribble meeting the sea in the distance the banking swung to the left until I arrived at a footbridge and a bench where I had my sandwich and coffee. From here I had some wandering before getting back onto the proper path and continuing on river banking following the River Douglas and then a short link to the A59 to catch my bus

Dingy photos on a dingy day.

Walking from the park-and-ride towards Old Penwortham Bridge. Good to be off on a walk when everybody else around is off to work

Old Penwortham Bridge, now only a cobbled walkway

Downstream on the Ribble

The Ribble railway bridge and St. Walburge's Church
St Walburge's Church is a Roman Catholic church in Preston. The church was built in the mid-19th century to a design by the Gothic Revival architect Joseph Hansom, the designer of the hansom cab, and is famous as having the tallest spire of any parish church in England. (thanks to Wikipedia)

The new Penwortham Bridge

Landscaped and tarmac parkland on the site of the old power station, the Ribble is running on the right

Tarmac has now become a gravel path

Entrance to Preston Dock from the Ribble

Mole-eye view inside a pylon

Ribble Link. 
If you are brave and make a booking with a pilot you can transfer from the Lancaster Canal with your narrowboat to go down the Ribble and re-enter the canal system at Tarleton.

The Ribble meets the sea. I turned left

Boatyard on the river Douglas at Hesketh Bank