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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 April 2020

Round the Knott, April 2020

13th April 2020 - Tour of Arnside Knott

This is another photo journey of one of the few local walks I can do from home - the idea being to give a continuous impression of the walk with a photo every few hundred yards. The photos are therefore primarily for that purpose rather than attempts to win Photographer of the Year, but I have tried as best I can.

The tour of Arnside Knott, which at 159 metres is the lowest Marilyn is a little classic. Many people who visit Arnside target this summit, not particularly because of its M status, rather for the extensive views over Morecambe Bay to the west across to Grange-over-Sands and the Lake District, and to the south to Morecambe and Heysham Power Station, and the picturesque railway viaduct across the Leven estuary to the north-east.

I have walked to Arnside cemetery and chapel from home.  We are leaving Silverdale Road opposite the chapel into Red Hills Woods. The path to the Knott branches off left where the person is walking. My previous Arnside circular carries straight on from there.

We are now on that left turn

Branching left the path climbs steeply and is a bit loose and rocky - it is a good workout from here  all the way to the Knott if you push hard

This is still steep and emergence from the trees is in sight

Another left fork to take us to double gates, again still steep

Through this gate and immediately right through another to continue climbing on a more open field

Take the upper path here and keep climbing

Up to a gate in the wall just to the right of the lefthand tree

Through the gate and turn right - then on the level

Looking back down this steep field from the gate - a splendid sledging route when we get the occasional suitable snow

A couple of hundred yards up here takes us to the bench and the view.
Today I have not visited the trig point off to the left. There is surprisingly no worthwhile view from there considering its raison d'être

This is the sort of unofficial summit where you can sit and look across to Grange-over-Sands and down to the railway viaduct to the right

Grange and Lake District hills behind

Railway viaduct. I think the trees have gown up here - it was a better view when I first came here twenty years ago

A few yards on from the bench - the lover's tree. One of those legends: two lovers, family disapprove, lovers entwine saplings to proclaim their love. I am amazed that this has survived without vandalism during my twenty years sojourn.

From now we can look south over  the bay to Morecambe. Our route takes a left just past the righthand tree to drop steeply down a narrow rocky path

At this T junction we go left descending towards Silverdale Road after about quarter of a mile. Right goes to the top of Heathwaites
A couple of hundred yards before Silverdale Road we fork left up steep little climb left of gate

We dodge under this magnificent old Yew tree, now with the very steep scree slopes of the Knott on our left.

At the foot of the scree there is this spring, where both my Springers used to stop for a drink, Today it happens to be almost dry. It flows into this perfect polished bowl of limestone, AS WAS, BUT the National Trust in their wisdom put a collar of concrete round the bottom edge to carry a pipe for water to some debatable water tank some distance away. I complained; If you want to read about it including the comments:

I have copied the NT reply at the end of this post.

Here one can bail out onto Silverdale Road but our path continues through the trees to arrive back at the exit opposite the chapel and my start. In the distance reed beds created over the last few years by the RSPB hopefully to attract more nesting Bitterns from nearby Leighton Moss

Another road access but we carry straight on to the finish

Hi Conrad

I’m Ross, one of the NT rangers responsible for managing Arnside Knott.  The mini dam you’ve spotted we constructed last August when the spring was virtually dry in order to create a small reservoir of water.  We’ve then managed to put a 20mm alkathene pipe at the base of the dam and dig that in under the path and away down the slope.  If you’ve spotted the mini dam then I’m guessing you’ve certainly spotted the new water trough just up the slope from the vehicle gate on the bridle path.  The natural spring now feeds this trough.  

Before the installation of this trough grazing was restricted to the far side of the site (i.e. the cattle didn’t want to stray too far from the water supply) but now they can explore this end.  You’ve probably noticed we’ve thinned out some sycamores on the scree slope and beyond had some contractors in thinning out the trees near where it becomes grassier.  This does a few things: it enables the sun to shine on the stone warming it for a variety of invertebrates including the southern wood ant, it exposes bare soil to the warmth allowing pioneer species such as wild strawberry and violets to establish and it links the grassy areas to the water supply, which will hopefully encourage the cattle to roam at this end of the site.

There are some Shetland cattle on as we speak and they’ll be there for a couple of weeks before being moved onto Heathwaite.  They’re a conservation species with the ability to survive on poor forage and, as I’m sure you know, are an essential tool in managing the site for the rare grasses, wildflowers, orchids and associated species that make the Knott so special.

Any other questions feel free to email directly rather than using the Morecambe Bay email as we only check that every week or so.

Kind regards



  1. That tour works really well giving an accurate picture of your walk. Don't be surprised if there is a procession of people following it tomorrow.
    As I've said before we are fortunate to be living on the edge of beautiful countryside. How people in city flats are coping I just don't know - and they will be affected for several more weeks.
    Next time I'm in those woods I will look out for the Southern Wood Ant, thanks for the information though I think it will be very similar to the Northern Wood Ant.

  2. BC - If it is THE Southern Wood Ant it may be tricky to find on its own up there? Since it was also back in 2017 the odds are increased even more.

  3. I didn't realise the Knott was a Marilyn. Thus my score is three... It's a start but I fear the magnetic impulse is lacking. Rather, it drives in a different direction.

    My repertoire is now 44 tutored songs and 11 self-taught songs at different levels of competence. The rate of absorption has increased over the last year so what would be a reasonable target before physical decay brings down the curtain? The Ton would be too ambitious. Seventy-five looks like the outer limit. Happily I remain unaffected by the weather and I can take - as it were - different detours. A new composer, for instance; it could be time for Mahler. Or write a lyric for an existing tune.

    From Arnside Knott there's Morecambe
    The bay displayed in si-il-ver...

    Tune: Silent Witness. Needs a bit of work I fear.

  4. BC: "How people in city flats are coping I just don't know" we walk the canals! 😊

  5. RR - I'm sure you will have climbed a few more Ms than that. There are quite number in The Lake District and the Yorkshire Dales. Can you advise about how to source and apply that magnetism please?

    Apart from the technicalities of learning the music it is a thing of wonder to me how singers and actors learn huge tracts of complicated and, in the case of singers particularly, precise words.

    Shouldn't your lyrics have started "I got up one morning...

  6. Paul.
    Yes, I know you do. Anyhow your flat looks very comfortable to be isolated in. Here's to canal walking. Sir Hugh is a fan.
    I was thinking more of the family with a couple of children, not intending to be patronising.

  7. BC and Paul - Ok Paul, I guess your comment was meant to be a bit tongue in cheek. But, there are young single mothers with a couple of kids as just one example who have never walked on anything else but a city street, and although it is difficult for us to imagine, walking on a canal towpath would be as foreign to them as walking on the Moon would be for us. Apart from that they would probably be just plain scared at the thought both from the physical nature of the terrain and also the question of personal safety.

  8. Was it really as quiet as suggested by your photos, or did you time them to miss other people (save for the dog walker in the first pic)? I've been encountering significantly more people than normal on my daily outings and would have thought that Arnside Knott would be a magnet for the people of Arnside to get their daily exercise.

    What's the tally on the daily 10xstair climb, and did you excuse yourself from it on this day, due to having achieved outside ascent?

  9. Gayle - There are usually one or two people about on my daily walks but I think they are all locals. But cyclists are more frequent and I suspect from further afield.

    I have done my set of 10 stair ascents every day since 25th March and have also walked locally on all those days but only an average of about 1.75 miles per day. I have noticed that my balance and agility seems to have improved descending the steeper rocky, loose limestone paths on the Knott.

  10. Conrad,
    I have come across people on TV etc who are ascending their stairs to an equivalent height of their favourite hill or mountain.
    Have you a favourite and what's its height? How long will it take to reach the top and come back down?

  11. I hope your favourite isn't Everest, for your sake Conrad.

    Your route is rather more scenic than our suburban streets. We live next to a canal towpath, but it's simply too crowded for my liking, even early in the morning.

    I enjoyed your Rhum pictures from the '60s!

    Stay safe...

  12. To occupy those odd moments of self-isolation which aren't filled with other more improving pastimes, here's a question from an edition of Round Britain Quiz from 1952: what has one of the best views of Rum not got to do with the night sleeper to Inverness ?(NB Sir Hugh is disbarred from answering)

  13. your statutory clue - the answer might be found in a jar of marmalade

  14. BC and Phreerunner - See my next post.


    Afoot - Thanks for your undisputed correction - I will now have to look at my computer to see if it will put that accent on the letter "u"

    Gimmer - That question could have many answers, but at a quick glance I haven't identified the marmalade connection yet. I will save that until I go to bed tonight and I can lie in silence and ponder until I fall asleep.

  15. Sir Hugh - I must confess that I don't always use the accent but'Rh'is always incorrect. Hold down the 'u' on the keyboard until the popup appears, release the key and select the appropriate accented letter and click.

  16. No , there is only one right answer. But you can email it to me to avoid the challenge being 'spolied' for other nimble (or twisted) minds - I was always amazed how the participants in that quiz could unravel questions infinitely more abstruse than this - it's demise reflects the general degradation of the BBC intellect, I fear.
    On my keyboard, the 'grave' accented u is silent (aka invisible) so I will have to keep on with the plain 'u' but still hear the guttural ughu in my mind - and still thank all that is holy that we went there then and had such exceptional weather and such an extraordinary time - fancy setting off for a full days mountain walking and scrambling at 1430 and being on the highest point at 2030 and still being back to cook in the sunshine by the lochside at 2245 - i could never go back - nothing could even approach all that !

  17. gimmer - I have not been able to solve your puzzle (so far).

    If your Mac is the same as mine I am sending you an email of the keystrokes that will get you all the accents.
    If anybody else wants a copy please let me know.

  18. I'm surprised that Arnside Knott isn't busy just with locals. I'm seeing greatly increased (compared with any time prior to last month) numbers of people every time I go out, including in places where I'd never seen anyone before. Presumably all of them are local (because our village streets and nearby lanes would be a strange choice of location to drive for a walk!), and presumably a goodly number of them have always roamed the streets to some extent, but are now finding the time to do so more often and, more particularly, in the morning when I'm out, but when they would previously have been at work.

    It will be interesting, when some kind of normality resumes (or the weather turns persistently nasty), to see whether such levels of exercising persist.

  19. Gayle - I walked over the Knott again today and only met one person on the road and one later on the path. It was all eerily, but pleasantly silent, except for a deer fleeing at speed across my path from two dogs chasing in full cry - they were sort of whippet size with some kind of yellow collars, obviously a special breed, but no sign of accompanying human - I have reported this to the National Trust who are the custodians up there.

  20. A lovely circuit - I'm intrigued by the ponds on your map. I shall have to investigate!

  21. Hi Mark - A guy who lives at Far Arnside has bought 30 acres of woodland that borders the Holgates touring caravan site at one end and the National Trust Knott land at the other end. I met him and had a long chat. He is making it into a nature reserve with paths, nest boxes etc. There is an access gate from the road near the Holgates end and if you go through and bear left for a few yards there is an old quarry with a man made pond in front. There is a bench to sit and contemplate. He told me he has stocked it with carp.

  22. Belated catch-up with this post. Lovely walk, Conrad. As for the ruined spring, what makes the desecration even worse (in my eyes) is that it was done to provide water for cows �� Much to the amazement of many friends, I refuse to become a member of the National Trust because of their dodgy “conservation” practices. Incidentally, I’m currently reading a book called Wilding by Isabella Tree, describing how her large farm at Knepp was left to rewild itself. A very interesting read if you haven’t already read it.

  23. Ruth - I have seen the NT doing all kinds of strange things - I am not a great fan. They should stick to what they know, I.e. looking after country houses and the like. I noted your lack of concern for the welfare of bovines, but see the first photo on my latest post - 3rd. July 2020 - just for you.