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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, 28 April 2020

Sunset on the Knott.

Monday 27th April 2020 (Day 34 of Lockdown)

First of all a bit of a rant.

New guidance from the Government to the College of Policing suggests it may be ok to drive for exercise if the driving takes less time than the exercise. We all know with common sense what that means but the loose way it is worded could lead to misinterpretation. Some may take advantage: "Well, I'm going to drive to John 'o Groats and walk to Land's End." Apart from"intelligent idiots" flouting the spirit of the advice others, even more idiotic, will take it literally as has happened in the USA with people believing Trump that drinking disinfectant may eliminate C.

Responsible administrators should be able to express themselves more explicitly to avoid this kind of misunderstanding and we should expect better from them than this.

Here is a no-nonsense article from the British Mountaineering Council written with the kind of clarity that seems to be lacking from other sources.

New guidance from the College of Policing, which was widely reported last week, seemed to suggest that it was possible to drive for a short time in order to exercise for a longer time. With no definition of what this exercise means, does this now mean that driving for 20 mins (for example) to go bouldering (for instance) is lawful? We think this is not necessarily the case.
This new guidance does not change the regulations: it appears to only apply to England and is aimed at advising police forces on how police officers should be enforcing the law on the ground.  Ultimately, it will be down to police officers and the courts on what they deem to be a ‘reasonable excuse to not be at home’, as stated in the regulations. As with any new laws, until tested at a court, and case law is established, the nuances of interpretation are unclear.


On a recent post my commenter Gimmer set us a puzzle and I have been asked by one or two people if we can have the answer. It seems that I and my friends and acquaintances here do not move in the same esoteric milieu as the members of the Round Britain Quiz team back in 1952.

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)

Can we have the answer please Gimmer?


I keep trying to find variations on the daily routine that I have now established, so instead of signing off to TV from the Six 'o Clock News onwards I checked the time of sunset and set off up the Knott. I arrived at the best viewpoint about five minutes before the sun disappeared behind the ridge of hills across the bay. I was surprised at how quickly the disappearance happened but I did get one or two shots first then to more surprise I realised that there was still interesting light for more worthwhile shots. I only have a point and shoot compact and wasn't using a tripod so I had no great expectations but was modestly pleased with the results. One thing I noticed when looking at the photos back home was the fact that I had not been holding the camera level which is much more obvious when you have extensive shoreline in a photo and I have had to spend some time "free rotating" with Photoshop Elements to prevent all the our local water running back out into Morecambe Bay.

Click first photo to enlarge for slideshow


  1. RBQ 1952: well, when the panellists from all four corners of the realm got stuck, the quizmaster (always a master) used to give some help - sometimes even more abstruse than the original question but perhaps striking that bell which rang in another head and the question was unravelled
    so here are -
    an expansion on the clue already supplied: a lifegiving source dividing the home of a bitter-sweet conserve
    another clue entirely: a figurative bar to a relatively recently re-discovered lost trading post, familiar to the magi, somewhere in the empty quarter
    and a third: dead men do tell tales but these may lead off-shore, whereas we want to be only a few miles from as far west as we can go without getting our feet wet
    (ps these are not cryptic in the crossword sense, but straight forward references to the answer to the question)

  2. We've previously discussed elsewhere some of the vague lockdown policies.
    I like that photo of the railway viaduct, it seems to be highlighted with ones eyes drawn to it.

  3. Further to your rant on lockdown policies, I'll have a rant of my own now.
    I find Nicola Sturgeon's press briefings in Scotland more precise than our own government's waffle and promises.
    Today I see she has made the sensible and only decision, in my opinion, to recommend the wearing of face coverings in enclosed spaces to help prevent the spread of coronavirus from asymptomatic persons.
    She will have the same medical evidence before her as in England so when will our government admit wearing facial coverings is an accepted measure. They cling doggedly to their original advice when they were worried that masks would be denied to the NHS.[They didn't do a very good job themselves of equipping our NHS and Care Sectors.]
    Watching the news from most other countries in Europe facial coverings appear to be the norm.
    I await further announcements in hope.

  4. Sloping horizons - mine all seem to list these days, I've concluded that I'm must permanently lean slightly.

  5. gimmer - Still working on it, but ready to give in.


    BC - I knew when I saw that viaduct photo framed by the trees from a place away from the cliché viewing point that is could be a good one.


    BC - It seems obvious to me that wearing a mask is going to reduce the risk of one passing the C on to another so anything that reduces the chances is worthwhile. I suspect the Government know that if they either recommend or impose there will just not be the kit available leaving them with egg on their face again. When the stuff is available they may well implement with some spin extolling their action.


    Mark - I suppose if you tilt them enough you can then convince viewers that it is arty-intertnional.

  6. Many of my neighbours are sewing homemade facial coverings for themselves and distribution locally.

  7. Agree the guidance is confusing. On the topic of masks, I ordered some good quality ones online and wore one to go shopping yesterday. Felt much safer. (Most people in our local Morrisons seem to have no idea what 6 foot is, and the staff are the worst offenders.)

    Love the photos. I take a lot of seascape photos, and it’s very hard to get the horizon dead straight in the original image. Thank goodness for photoediting software!

  8. Lovely pictures Conrad. I noticed I get the horizon skewed often as well. It could be down to being drunk though....🤔

  9. BC - I only see a point in wearing them when you are going to be in the presence of others which for me is rare at the moment. The same goes for washing hands - only advisable when you have had contact outside the home or handled some incoming goods, or at times when you would have done so anyway.


    Ruth - From what I understand unless you have high tech versions the virus can still pass through and that applies both ways. When breathing out or coughing I suppose the range will be reduced, and breathing in the amount taken on board also reduced? I am no scientist and am also aware that much of what we read is hearsay or surmise.


    Paul - That could apply to me also but on this occasion I reckon it was partly due to just having power-walked up the Knott resulting in heavy breathing and unsteady body.

  10. those images remind me of the ones i used to take of dawn light and spectacular colours and formations from the other side of the bay - as the house was lower , the reflections and colours of both the sky and water were very dramatic - around Christmas and the New Year were the best times as the sun rose directly opposite, above your favourite caravan site. Good to see the other side of the hill !

    On masks - I don't understand why your correspondents say the advice was unclear or confusing - it was the opposite: that they were NOT recommended - not on administrative or political grounds but on our friends the WHO's scientific advice. The fact that that was wrong in part is beside the point. My view has always been that unless fully fitted and able to filter /stop particles of less than 0.1 microns, they were not much good at stopping aerosol particles or agglomerates of viruses being inhaled, BUT they were useful in reducing the velocity of both droplets and aerosols exploded from the wearer - and thus their spread. However this utility disappears almost completely unless accompanied by the most effective actions of separation, handwashing and not touching the face. As this advice is so easy not to follow, this effect far outweighs any usefulness of simple or homemade masks as the wearing of a mask gives the wearer a sense of separation from danger and thus less concentration n these basics: behavioural studies have shown that this (relaxing of precautions) occurs more frequently with everyone who wears one, and so may actually increase the risk of infection. Thus NS's apparently ‘courageous and decisive’ view is unsupported by observation or science and is probably dangerous, and looks 'populist' to me. To be an effective public health action , the masks must be capable of what is classed as 'ultra fine' aerosol filtration (not just dry dusts) and must be worn and used strictly according to the instructions - both conditions most unlikely to be met by the general public, and thus dangerous in giving false confidence. There are countless examples of confident leaders giving clear and bold instructions which were wrong, with undesirable consequences - Balaclava springs to mind, for one.
    Good masks properly used: may reduce infecting others; inefficient masks will probably do the opposite.

  11. Gimmer - I seriously doubt that any behavioural studies would show that 'everyone' wearing a mask relaxed their precautions. I've never read any behavioural science paper, coginitive science or neuroscience paper where conclusions are so certain. If you're right then your behavioural scientists are the only ones who have expressed certainty during this pandemic. Please state your source and how the study can be accessed and where the results have been replicated.

  12. Gimmer - I acknowledge and respect what you say especially coming from your qualified scientific background and the relevance to aspects of your lifelong business. Afoot has a point about sources. When I was writing my little rant about the vagueness of driving to take a walk I was pulled up by my son W because I hadn't named my source. I was implying that the info I was writing about had been issued by Hancock or one of the other daily briefers so I went back to look and couldn't find it, but then discovered that it was in the form of advice offered to the College of Policing that was picked up and bandied about by the media, so one has to be careful. I was shocked to find that I had nearly spread what was almost fake news.

    Thinking about masks I wonder if the ones we see nurses and doctors wearing in the Coronavirus ITU units are of a higher specification than the ones we as the public can buy assuming that we go for the best ones we can get?

  13. The British Medical Association have issued a statement on facial coverings, I would not want to dispute their advice.

    The British Medical Association has advised that face masks should be given to all essential workers, including shopkeepers and transport staff, to slow the transmission of Covid-19.

    While current Government guidelines don't call on the general public to cover their mouths and noses when outside, the chief of the BMA has also pressed for this to be changed.
    Dr Chaand Nagpaul, chairman of the British Medical Association (BMA) said it was common sense that a barrier offers some degree of protection.

    "The Government must pursue all avenues of reducing the spread of infection, this includes asking the public to wear face coverings to cover mouths and noses when people leave home for essential reasons."

    The decisions of other European countries to advise or even mandate the wearing of face coverings in public must be based on their interpretation of medical evidence. They can't all be wrong.
    I don't know how Scotland has reacted to Nicola Sturgeon's prompting as yet, but if facial coverings have been adopted in the prescribed situations I know I'd rather be shopping in one of their supermarkets than ours. For the record, I'm not shopping anywhere.

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  15. Sir Hugh - Of course I was not commenting on the efficacy of masks on which, as far as I'm aware, no data has been published by any country to justify their decisions on whether to wear them or not. If it has, let us see it.

    Behaviour is probabilistic so it was the use of the word 'everyone' by gimmer which I found worrying. The plausibility of any claim, no matter the subject matter, is always my starting point.

    The other issue with using the word 'everyone' is that it is easily refuted by anecdote, unlike a probabilistic statement. Just before Nicola Sturgeon advised face coverings in certain situations, I had to go to the pharmacy and wore a buff and a scarf, but remained extremely careful about maintaining my social distance both in the pharmacy and outside. Thus the 'everyone' statement is proved wrong.

    BC - I don't know how Scotland will react and don't intend to visit my local supermarket to provide you with any data which, by its very nature, would come from an unrepresentative sample!!

  16. Afootinthehills - yes but a common-sense sample.

  17. BC - keeping this on a lighthearted note, it would be a sample of all those people who were shopping in Sainsbury's in Kinross on the day and for the period of time that I visited the shop. Whatever the findings, they couldn't be generalised to how Scotland was reacting to the advice to wear face coverings in shops. But that's enough of that, from me at any rate!

    I must admit that wearing a scarf and buff when at the pharmacy made it very hard to speak, even briefly, to the shop assistant - I think she thought I was odd!

    Best wishes and keep safe.

  18. She probably thought you were out to rob the place of Elastoplasts.

  19. Today's press conference - Mr Johnson also said face coverings will be "useful" as part of the strategy for coming out of lockdown "both for epidemiological reasons but also giving people confidence they can go back to work". BBC Correspondent.

  20. BC - I heard that too. Perhaps Boris reads Sir Hugh’s blog.