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, 26 May 2020

Heversham and Greenside

Monday 25th May 2020 (Day 62 of Lockdown) - Heversham and Greenside - 3 miles

Over a week ago I set off in the car to do this walk. It is just four miles to park at Heversham. Before I got to Milnthorpe my conscience nagged to such an extent I turned round and came back to walk more locally.

Since then restrictions were eased, and although my instinct tells me that was premature it sufficed to ease that conscience just enough to let me venture that bit further.

I have walked the first part of this route on Wainwright's Way recently with BC and also on a few earlier ascents of Heversham Head, but I was quite excited when I worked out this little circuit where the rest of it was on previously un-walked paths.

I have said before that the view from Heversham Head is one of my top three near home and today I had a diluted version. It is much better after gaining the extra height to the summit of Heversham Head.

The whole of this walk was attractive and it can go on my list of local walks worth repeating.
Heversham Church. The walks goes through the churchyard and up the hill behind

Still on the path to Heversham Head and part of Wainwright's Way

Heversham church and the Leven estuary leading out into Morecambe Bay. The view is much more extensive from the top of Heversham Head

A part zoom to the bay and Arnside Knott. My house is there somewhere below the summit

Out onto the road leading down to Greenside

What a good day.
When I arrived at the lonely oak I found it had been dismasted with huge fallen trunks by its side, but despite that misfortune it was in full healthy fettle


I had an email a few days ago from Jon not having heard from him since he packed in at The Kentdale Rambler outdoor shop in Kendal - he was at Glacier Sports in Preston before that. Jon was a keen climber and well known to my friend Bowland Climber and to Tony Frost who I climbed with for seven years before he died sadly from cancer back in 2003. Jon has set up a photography business based in Kendal and if you go to the link above you will see superb examples of his work.

Saturday, 23 May 2020

I wonder where that path goes?

Friday 22nd May 2020 (Day 59 of Lockdown)
Middlebarrow Quarry, north side

Often on my short local walks I find new paths. Then whilst exploring I notice another branching off and I am raring to go and explore yet more avenues forking from my familiar territory, but where will that second one lead me to? I have to reign myself in from following endless branching. I know there is going to be plenty of time ahead to explore such new discoveries and so I reluctantly save that second, and possibly other new paths for another day.

So it was today when I branched off a known path to explore a substantial track climbing through the woods to come out on the rim of the north side of Middlebarrow quarry. That is not marked as a public right of way on the map and there was much pheasant rearing paraphernalia. I was apprehensive about meeting some irascible member of the support brigade for the wildlife killers. Fortunately I saw nobody.

It was interesting to get a new view of the quarry and a close look at the larger crags. I think they may be too friable for climbing, but one never knows - if they could be cleaned up and found viable that could become an attractive setting with some fairly big routes. For some reason photos I took turned out to be dingy and disappointing and I plan to go back when I am sure we have less haze and sharper atmosphere. That resolve was also bolstered because there was another path further on branching off towards a part of the quarry rim away from my main track and it will have to be explored.

The main track passed through well spaced thin tall silver birch and mixed woodland conveying a cheerful snd friendly ambience. I was looking across the farmland far below and then beyond to a fine view of Arnside Knott from an entirely new perspective. This forbidden track has turned out to be one of the best I have found in my domain and all the better for discovering it for myself.

I eventually came to the end, out of the woods through an easy to open gate and a surprise new view of Arnside Tower a few yards beyond.

I will be back.


That crag goes further down to the quarry floor

A new view of Arnside Knott

Pleasant largely Silver Birch woodland

A new view of Arnside Tower

The red is my newly discovered track but not a right of way.
 I have omitted exact start and finish from my home

Sunday, 17 May 2020

A quarry and a wood and a sea battle

Friday 15th May 2020 - Middlebarrow Quarry and Eaves Wood ( Day 52 0f Lockdown)

After twenty years living in Arnside I am still finding new paths and certainly around Arnside Knott there are paths well established and several feet wide obviously well walked that had no existence whatsoever when I first came here.

I set off to explore a less frequently visited area, but still within easy walking distance of home. 

I had only gone a few hundred yards when I found a plaque low down on a garden wall that I must have walked past a hundred times over the years and never seen before.

Location of plaque on Black Dyke road

Afterwards I couldn't resist a Google for 5th September 1782. I am sure the plaque location would have been an open field at the time, but whilst the cows were grazing and the peasants toiling there was a ferocious sea battle afoot off the east coast off Long Island. The American War of Independence was in full swing.

The Action of 5 September 1782 took place during the American War of Independence between two French Navy frigates, Aigle and Gloire, and a lone British 74-gun ship of the line HMS Hector. In a two-day battle, the two frigates severely damaged Hector and only failed to captured her when a British squadron appeared on the horizon. The French withdrew but Hector foundered a few days later after the 
Thanks to Wikipedia.

After that exerpt on Wiki, if tales of sea battles and derring-do are to your taste you can read on. There is an account detailing the manoeuvres and sequence of the battle and also the aftermath. You could well be reading a chapter from one of O'Brien's Aubrey/Maturin sagas.

After that drama, as I write, I can't avoid anticlimax for the rest of this quiet pastoral and arboreal walk. 

I carried straight on at Middlebarrow Quarry instead of crossing the railway and followed a steep rocky path up the side of the quarry to give me a better than previously seen panoramic view of this now deserted excavation. Nature seems to be making a slow job of re-wilding here.

Unfamiliar northern reaches of Eaves Wood followed with a network of paths I have no recollection of walking before until I arrived at the northern limits of Holgates static caravan empire to make a more familiar descent to Arnside Tower.


The new panoramic view of Middlebarrow Quarry

This was the only one of this route marker I saw or have seen before

Arnside Tower

Friday, 15 May 2020

Gardener's World

Friday 15th May 2020

Have watched Gardener's World for years.

 So sad (genuinely) tonight to hear that Nigel has died.


Covid 19 update

I have not conducted the research below myself but from what I know, or have been informed on by the media it seems pretty factual rather than subjective. There are aspects that in fairness are, or were beyond the control of the Government and one has to acknowledge that they are wrestling with a problem of unprecedented scale and there is bound to be some need for "make it up as one goes along." You could also write a companion script to outline what has actually been done and even though present results are disheartening the effort and scale of operations that has taken place is immense. But even if you redacted sections of the text below where it may just be possible to argue there was not fault or negligence by individuals or the Government, or the odd unsubstantiated claim, as a whole this is still a dismal record of none-leadership. 
December 31st China alerts WHO to new virus.
January 23rd Study reveals a third of China’s patients require intensive care. 
January 24th Boris Johnson misses first Cobra meeting.
January 29th Boris Johnson misses second Cobra meeting.
January 31st The NHS declares first ever ‘Level 4 critical incident’ Meanwhile, the government declines to join European scheme to source PPE.
February 5th Boris Johnson misses third Cobra meeting.
February 12th Boris Johnson misses fourth Cobra meeting. Exeter University published study warning Coronavirus could infect 45 million people in the UK if left unchallenged.
February 13th Boris Johnson misses conference call with European leaders.
February 14th Boris Johnson goes away on holiday. Aides are told keeps Johnson’s briefing notes short or he will not read them.
February 18th Johnson misses fifth Cobra meeting.
February 26th Boris Johnson announces ‘Herd Immunity’ strategy, announcing some people will lose loved ones. Government document is leaked, predicting half a million Brits could die in ‘worse case scenario’ 
February 29th Boris Johnson retreats to his country manor. NHS warns of ‘PPE shortage nightmare’ Stockpiles have dwindled or expired after years of austerity cuts. 
March 2nd Boris Johnson attends his first Cobra meeting, declining another opportunity to join European PPE scheme. Government’s own scientists say over half a million Brit’s could die if virus left unrestrained. Johnson tells country “We are very, very well prepared.”
March 3rd Scientists urge Government to advise public not to shake hands. Boris Johnson brags about shaking hands of Coronavirus patients. 
March 4th Government stops providing daily updates on virus following a 70% spike in UK cases. They will later U-turn on this amid accusations they are withholding vital information. 
March 5th Boris Johnson tells public to ‘wash their hands and business as usual’ 
March 7th Boris Johnson joins 82,000 people at Six Nations match. 
March 9th After Ireland cancels St Patrick’s day parades, the government says there’s “No Rationale” for cancelling sporting events.
March 10th - 13th Cheltenham takes place, more than a quarter of a million people attend.
March 11th 3,000 Atletico Madrid fans fly to Liverpool.
March 12th Boris Johnson states banning events such as Cheltenham will have little effect. The Imperial College study finds the government’s plan is projected to kill half a million people.
March 13th The FA suspends the Premier League, citing an absence of Government guidance. Britain is invited to join European scheme for joint purchase of ventilators, and refuses. Boris Johnson lifts restrictions of those arriving from Coronavirus hot spots. 
March 14th Government is still allowing mass gatherings, as Stereophonics play to 5,000 people in Cardiff. 
March 16th Boris Johnson asks Britons not to go to pubs, but allows them to stay open. During a conference call, Johnson jokes that push to build new ventilators should be called ‘Operation Last Gasp’ 
March 19th Hospital patients with Coronavirus are returned to care homes in a bid to free up hospital space. What follows is a boom of virus cases in care homes.
March 20th The Government states that PPE shortage crisis is “Completely resolved” Less than two weeks later, the British Medical Association reports an acute shortage in PPE.
March 23rd UK goes into lockdown.
March 26th Boris Johnson is accused of putting ‘Brexit over Breathing’ by not joining EU ventilator scheme. The government then state they had not joined the scheme because they had ‘missed the email’ 
April 1st The Evening Standard publishes that just 0.17% of NHS staff have been tested for the virus.
April 3rd The UK death toll overtakes China.
April 5th 17.5 million Antibody tests, ordered by the government and described by Boris Johnson as a ‘game changer’ are found to be a failure.
April 7th Boris Johnson is moved to intensive care with Coronavirus.
April 16th Flights bring 15,000 people a day into the UK - without virus testing. 
April 17th Health Secretary Matt Hancock says “I would love to be able to wave a magic wand and have PPE fall from the sky.” The UK has now missed four opportunities to join the EU’s PPE scheme.
April 21st The Government fails to reach its target of face masks for the NHS, as it is revealed manufactures offers of help were met with silence. Instead millions of pieces of PPE are being shipped from the UK to Europe.
April 23rd - 24th Government announces testing kits for 10 million key workers. Orders run out within minutes as only 5,000 are made available.
April 25th UK death toll from Coronavirus overtakes that of The Blitz.
April 30th Boris Johnson announces the UK has succeeded in avoiding a tragedy that had engulfed other parts of the world - At this point, The UK has the 3rd highest death toll in the world.
May 1st The Government announces it has reached its target of 100,000 tests - They haven’t conducted the tests, but posted the testing kits.
May 5th The UK death toll becomes the highest in Europe.
May 6th Boris Johnson announces the UK could start to lift lockdown restrictions by next week.

Wednesday, 13 May 2020

My monthly book club. Book review

Wednesday 13th May 2020 (Day 50 of Lockdown)
I have attended an informal book club group of six locally for many years - we normally meet by turn in our respective houses, but the C. has now prevented this. Rather than discuss a particular book we have all read we have now agreed to share our individual current readings by e mail so I give below my effort for our forthcoming "meeting" next Monday.

Sometimes I ask myself a question I don’t particularly want to know the answer to. I can’t explain why, except perhaps that disappointment may ensue if the answer is too mundane. So, when you read the rest of this I am not asking for a plethora of answers.

Recently on my blog* I wondered “ why are robins so tame?”

A friend and fellow blogger who has a fair knowledge of nature was unable to enlighten but suggested I might find the answer in The Robin a Biography by Stephen Moss.

When the book arrived it looked immediately appealing with an enticing dust-jacket and then the contents similarly so. That was after I opened it carefully and with respect - physically the book was so attractive it seemed a shame to bend it open and spoil its pristine state.

Stephen describes the robin month by month throughout a year from his own enthusiastic observation. He intersperses with just enough literary, academic and historical anecdote using deceptively simple language. The result provides sheer pleasurable reading - a welcome anodyne but informative experience in these troubled times.

A reviewer on the dust-jacket concludes "It's a story that tells us as much about ourselves as it does about the robin itself."

I no longer felt I needed an answer to my question but eventually Stephen does tackle it, but thankfully (for me) not very successfully.

I shall continue to enjoy not knowing.


The book was published not surprisingly by an off-shoot of Penguin in 2017.

Tuesday, 12 May 2020

Don't travel to walk and climb!

Tuesday 12th May 2020 (Day 49 of Lockdown)
My friend and fellow blogger Bowland Climber has posted this and has quite rightly asked for it to be circulated as much as possible. Obviously I agree with the message and have had no intention of travelling further than a couple of miles from home. But I have to say it has made me think because I have been walking on albeit well established limestone paths in my area I realise there is hardly anybody about and I could be almost as much a nuisance as the example in the scenario described below if I had an accident preventing me from getting out to a road. I will be even more cautious now.
Conrad R.
From BC:

This is a copy of a Facebook page for Coniston Mountain Rescue today.
It is worth reading in full and disseminating widely in the outdoor community. 

Hello All,
Hopefully, you’re all managing to stay safe and healthy through the Covid-19 pandemic.
We know that many of you will be desperate to get back on the fells and trails, and to get your Lake District “fix”. The relaxation of the Coronavirus lockdown may have been music to your ears when the Prime Minister stated that it is now Ok to drive any distance to take your exercise. This came as a total surprise to us as a Mountain Rescue Team (MRT), Cumbria Police, Cumbria Tourist Board, The Lake District National Park and also The National Trust. Simply, the Lake District is NOT ready for a large influx of visitors. The hospitality sector remains closed, some car parks may be re-opening, along with some toilet facilities, but this is an enforced opening due to this announcement to cater for those that do decide to come, rather than an invitation.
Why are we, Coniston Mountain Rescue Team, so concerned about the relaxation of the travel to exercise rules? Maybe if we talk you through what happens it may explain why we’re worried.
Firstly, we are all volunteers – most of us have day jobs from which we take time off to deal with incidents during work hours, or time out of the rest of our lives “out of hours”, and secondly most of us have families who we need to protect.
How a rescue might play out during the Covid-19 pandemic:-
1. Paul and Sarah came up from Preston, and have summited the Old Man of Coniston, had their lunch and set off down towards Goats Water.
2. Paul slips and hears a crack from his left ankle, Sarah tries to help, but Paul can’t put weight on his ankle which is at a funny angle anyway. Paul is 15 stone and 6ft 2 tall. Sarah is fit but no way could she help Paul back down.
3. Sarah dials 999, remembers to ask for Police and then Mountain Rescue, the operator takes the details and asks a lot of questions to assess the Covid-19 risk posed by both Paul & Sarah to the MRT, and subsequently to Ambulance and medical staff that will need to treat Paul.
4. In the meantime, four groups of people come by, they all say they’d love to help but haven’t got any Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and must socially distance themselves by at least 2 metres.
5. The Police alert Coniston MRT to the incident via SARCALL, and the Duty Team Leader (TL) calls Sarah, having sent her a link by text for her to click on to confirm their exact position, and asks more questions, to work out the resources needed.
6. The TL then calls other members of the Leader Group to discuss the requirements and decides a 10 member group is required on the hill and alerts the Team to that requirement.
7. The Team numbers are depleted anyway, we have a number of people who contribute massively to the Team generally but are over 70 years old, i.e. higher risk group, we have people who may be shielding a family member, or at risk themselves due to underlying medical conditions that normally wouldn’t be an issue. So a team of 10 assemble at the MRT base, plus someone to run the base – this person is important as it helps with coordination of other services letting the hill party get on with the job.
8. All members are briefed regarding the incident, and check all are happy with the unknown invisible risk posed by the incident; the risk of walking up the fell is taken as read and a baseline anyway. All PPE is checked.
9. Team members climb aboard two of the Team’s three vehicles. Why only two when social distancing could be better in 3 vehicles? The need to decontaminate the vehicles on return probably outweighs the advantage of social distancing, and it leaves another vehicle able to respond to any other incidents.
10. Normally the Team would mobilise within 10-15 minutes of this type of call, due to all the pre-checks, personnel checks etc., the time elapsed thus far is 45 minutes.
11. The vehicles arrive at the road head, one last check on PPE and kit for the incident, including radios, and the Team sets off for the casualty site. Walking time to site is around 45-60 minutes.
12. The Team can’t call on the Air Ambulance for support as they’re off-line for this type of incident due to staff being redeployed elsewhere in the NHS or due to other priorities and risk factors so cannot support. Similar with Coastguard Helicopters…
13. On site, one casualty carer and one assistant will approach the casualty with as much PPE on as possible, and may well apply PPE to the patient before carrying out a full primary survey, in this case that’s simple, Paul’s ankle is (probably) broken, and there are no other underlying medical factors like a head injury, multiple other injuries or catastrophic bleeding.
14. The casualty carer and helper would normally give Paul some Entonox (pain killing gas) while they straighten his ankle to ensure a pulse at the foot and also maybe a pain killing injection. The injection takes 15 mins or so to work, but Entonox is not given because of the potential risk of contamination. However, the foot needs straightening ASAP to restore the pulse in Paul’s foot. Paul screams as the casualty carer re-aligns the foot (it’s called reducing the injury) to restore circulation and allow for splinting.
15. Paul’s ankle is splinted and although he’s still in pain, it’s less than it was and the painkilling injection is starting to take effect. Time elapsed since Paul fell is now 2 hours 15 mins.
16. The Team moves in and helps Paul on to the stretcher, the stretcher is made of stainless steel and heavy, it is about 2.5 metres long and maybe 0.6 metres wide, usually it takes 8 people to carry a loaded stretcher, they cannot socially distance.
17. The Team carries Paul down to the Walna Scar road, where they’ve asked a North West Ambulance Service land ambulance to meet them to reduce potential contamination at base. The carry down has taken 2 hours, so now it’s 4 hrs 15 since Paul fell. Paul is transferred to the Ambulance and taken to Furness General Hospital. Sarah can’t drive, but can’t go in the Ambulance either. How can the Team get Sarah re-united with Paul and then how do they both get home to Preston when Paul is fixed? What happens to their car? In normal circumstances we can fix these issues, not so easy in the Covid-19 pandemic.
18. The Team returns to base and starts to decontaminate the stretcher, the vehicles, the non-disposable medical equipment, the splint and themselves. Jackets and other clothing are all bagged ready to go in their washing machines when they get home, which takes a further 1 hour 15 minutes. Total time elapsed 5hrs 30 minutes. Total man-hours 10 folk on the hill plus 1 running base = 60.5 man-hours.
19. Paul is admitted to Furness General Hospital after a wait of 1 hour at A&E. He is taken to cubicles and X Rayed to understand his ankle injury better. He is also routinely tested for Covid-19. Paul’s ankle needs an operation to pin it as the break is a bad one.
20. Paul’s Covid-19 test comes back positive. Oh dear! Paul is asymptomatic, he has the virus but is either naturally immune or has not yet developed symptoms. The message is passed back to Coniston MRT, who then have to check the records of those on the incident. Every one of them, the ten people on the incident and the base controller, must now self isolate and so must their families, so now we have maybe 35 people all having to self-isolate. Plus possibly the Ambulance crew and their families.
21. Three days later Eric from Essex decides he wants to come to Coniston to do the 7 Wainwrights in the Coniston Fells. He sets off, and completes Dow Crag, the Old Man, Brim Fell along to Swirl How and Great Carrs and across to Grey Friar, then on up to Wetherlam. Eric puts his foot down on a rock, the rock moves and Eric is in a heap on the floor, his foot is at a funny angle…he gets his phone out and dials for Mountain Rescue… but there are only three people available from the Coniston Team now, so the decision needs to be taken by the Coniston MRT duty leader which Team to call to support, Neighbouring Teams are Langdale-Ambleside and Duddon & Furness MRT’s. The issue is, they’re in the same situation as Coniston with people self-isolating due to potential contamination, or their members are keyworkers in the NHS and can’t deploy on MRT incidents.
So – we’re asking you to think twice, even three times before you embark upon travelling to the Lake District for your exercise. The risk, however small, is real, and I write this as an MRT member for over 30 years with probably around 1000 incidents under my belt, I know, accidents happen.

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The Dog Hole - SD 482 802

Tuesday 12th May 2020 (Day 49 of Lockdown)

Bowland Climber queried The Dog Hole marked on the OS map on my last post here. Rather than reply by comment here is my reply which allows for more detail than the confines of a comment.

I last visited The Dog Hole on 10th May 2017 after having previously found it on 10th January 2015.

Here is the story of that discovery:

10th January 2015

I set out to find this a couple of years ago and was having some difficulty when I came across the owner of a large field which contains an isolated oak tree in the centre, reputed to be the oldest and largest in the area. She kindly showed me the way to Dog Hole Cave, and then on our return invited me to go into the field to have a closer look at the tree. On the gate to the entrance she had fixed a small sign quoting the line from Yeats well known poem "Tread softly because you tread on my dreams."

"Tread softly because you tread on my dreams."

From Wikipedia:

Dog Hole Cave is an archaeologically significant cave near Storth, Cumbria, England.[4] Other names for the cave include Haverbrack Bank Pot,[5] Haverbrack Dog Hole,[2] Fairy Cave,[5] The Dog Hole[5] and Doghole Cave.[6] It consists of a largely excavated 12 metres (39 ft) shaft formed in Carboniferous limestone with 6 metres (20 ft) of steeply dipping phreatic tube at the bottom.[2][3]

It was originally excavated by J. W. ("Wilfred") Jackson in 1912; by local scouts in the 1950s; and by researchers from Liverpool John Moores University in 2003 and more recently. Jackson found domestic animal bones (dogs, pigs) some of which are in the Natural History Museum, and the scouts also found human bones.[4][6] The cave was gated in the 1980s to protect the archaeology, but inspection in 2003 showed that this had been destroyed.[6]

Radio carbon dating of the deposits have provided dates ranging from Romano-British to Early Medieval.[6]

Quarry paths fenced.

Tuesday 12th May 2020 - (Day 48 of Lockdown) - Sandside Quarry paths fenced.

My commenter and friend Gimmer questioned Sandside Quarry's potential empire building in my last post. To clarify see below. I am now satisfied that empire building is unlikely. 

My approach was from the west along the southern edge of the quarry on the black dotted line footpath.
Note: that is not a defined public footpath.
The area in red is the fenced off area, the black line around indicating the fencing.
On previous visits the path crossed into the red area and ran down its middle. - this time there was access through the fencing into the red area but then the path was blocked off by the southern boundary of the fencing.

My route coming in from west (blue dots) going through fence then south down the red... 
This is one of several notices stating the questionable purpose of all this to which my comment referred on the earlier post. This is a somewhat overblown investigation but my curiosity was roused by Gimmer and I re-visited yesterday to get the photo of the notice. I reckon Gimmer can rest easy about the possibility of a quarry extension.
Where the path entered though the fencing into the red area previously the fencing had been closed up within the last twenty four hours so the red area is now fully sealed off unless you want to do a bit of intrepid ten foot fence climbing just for the sake of it.

Sunday, 10 May 2020

Sandside Quarry

Saturday 9th May 2020 ( day 45 of Lockdown) - Sandside Quarry -  2+ miles

So 45 days in with Lockdown. I have walked and climbed my home stairs every day except for one. I have averaged about 3 miles, but I walk hard and nearly always include steep ascent on the limestone tracks around Arnside Knott and I am still finding previously unwalked paths. At the start I did ten reps up and down the stairs at home but about a week ago I increased to twelve.

Today the car needed an airing so I drove 1.5 miles to the track leading up the flanks of Sandside Quarry.

After taking photos of the quarry and limestone pavement I tried to follow a previously walked track south. After two hundred yards it was blocked by a new deer fence and I had to go back. I then noticed another track going north I had not previously set foot on and followed. That was also barred by a deer fence. I went back again and  found yet another new path going south again., then doubled back to go north over Haverbrak Hill.

There were notices saying the woods were  cleared and fenced to create and protect habitat for some butterflies, but surely this is self defeating? As one creates a habitat for a particular species how many habitats of others do you destroy? I sometimes wonder if these quasi conservation people know what they are doing - there were many trees that had been felled - I understand in my simple way that trees are essential for the continued health of the environment but felling seems to be rampant all over the place these days.

Further on I re-visited the ruins of a WW2 Observer Corps post that I thought I had posted about a few years ago - I found the photos but not the post. It was of personal interest to me because my father, being deaf was unable to be in the conventional services in WW2 but served throughout at an Observer Corps post on Otley Chevin in Yorkshire. The purpose was to spot and report enemy aircraft.

I emerged from the trees onto the summit of Haverbrak Hill. I have a shortlist of the three best viewpoints in my area and this is one of them. Before dropping down the hillside to minor roads to get back to the car I spent a while taking all this in. The fields drop away steeply leaving you perched on the edge looking down to, and up the Kent estuary coming towards you twisting and turning with the main channel frequently altering course and endless variations provided by our high tidal range, and all this with the Lake District hills on the horizon with huge rolling white clouds and blue skies above.

Click photo to enlarge

Setting off up the track flanking the sides of Sandside Quarry.

Looking down into the quarry. The scale is much more impressive than the photo indicates. All was quiet today with dormant machinery having a rest.

A splendid example of limestone pavement.
I remember being accompanied by Bowland Climber on a walk up here and his fascination with this feature.

One of the tracks blocked off by new deer fencing but all attractive and colourful with the dappled sunshine - it was a joy to be out and exploring again.

The abandoned Royal Observer Corps post.

The Kent estuary from Haverbrack Hill - one of my top three viewpoints in my home territory.

Click to enlarge. Note my wanderings due to blocked paths. The Kent estuary viewpoint is at the point where the path emerges from the woods north of the Observer Corps buildings.

Friday, 8 May 2020


I have just watched the BBC VE Day programme from 9:00 pm and the following programme. They included emotional music,  much previously unseen film, many very personal and touching stories, and two remarkably well put together programmes considering the present situation and the time available to put it all together. For most of the time I have been sat there with tears running down my face (literally) and I have never before had an experience to affect me over a whole two hour period in such away.

I was only five and a half years old on VE Day but I have intermittent memories of WW2 and more of its aftermath, and more vividly of VJ day a few months later. Tonight my tears were caused for a melange of reasons. I single out one only which  illustrates the sacrifice and scale of what happened. A guy of nineteen was married and went off to WW2 only two days later and didn't come back until six years later - SIX YEARS, AND HIS WIFE WAS STILL WAITING FOR HIM. That's how long all the population and armed  services suffered beyond belief - just take a moment and think about the time scale.  And today we are hearing of people whingeing about having to abide by some simple rules for a few weeks, in particular I mean those who are selfishly flouting the rules who should be thankful they were ever born. I do not include the many people who are facing undoubted genuine hardship.

I think what has upset me most is that the World seems to have learnt nothing with persistent global famines, no global willpower to combat climate change and environmental destruction and much more that I dare not say about the responsibility of many so called religions for fuelling irrational animosity.

Tuesday, 5 May 2020

Fairy Steps 2 and Answer to Rum Quiz.

Tuesday 5th May 2020 (Day 41 of Lockdown)

Resulting from my woeful lack of memory on my last post, exchanges have been made between me and Big Brother. The post was titled Fairy Steps. There is also a rock climb of the same name in the Quarry at the Cow and Calf, Ilkley where some of my first climbing took place with Big Brother. 

At a guess it was about 1957.  I was on a climb to the right of Fairy Steps when I heard a thunderous crashing. Big Brother had been halfway up Fairy Steps and a huge chunk of rock had detached and fallen into the chimney on the right taking BB with it and half burying him. I know some injury was sustained but not serious - this must have been one of the luckiest escapes ever.

The photo below was taken before the rockfall. I'm not sure which of the two lumps I have circled was the one that fell. I am pretty certain they have both gone now. I don't know who took the photo or how I came by it. I am fairly sure that is me handling the rope at the top.


Answer to Gimmer's Rum question

I have received the answer below from Gimmer. I have highlighted the short answer to the question. If you read on there is more related information and explanation of the additional clues that were given. I think I would have been hard pressed to find the answer, but for anybody who had read the book - easy peasy.

The account below came from a MAC doc. file that had been converted into a PDF so that I could open it not having the up to date version of Apple's Pages. I have tried to format the text alignment
which is usually easy enough by applying the "remove formatting" tool and then starting again but I couldn't do any better than you see with this one.

Answer - the view of Rum from Gortenfern beach , near Arisaig - which has well-known 'Singing Sands' . . . but these 'Singing Sands' are not, however, the singing sands referred to in a scribbled note in the Stop Press panel of the London paper which was in the hand of a man found murdered on the night train from London when it arrived in Inverness - in the novel of that name by Josephine Tay, who died in 1952 - on the same day as HM King George VI - which was published posthumously. Inspector Grant, who picked up the paper and found the verse, on his way to a recuperation sojourn in the Highlands, began to try to unravel the mystery - going to the Outer Isles to see if he could get clues from an area with singing sands - or its inhabitants - but little was gained - eventually, in London , he traced a convoluted path to a long lost 'paradise' oasis in the Arabian desert - with this verse being the leitmotif of the 'journey' - marked by treachery, greed and murder.

The story was found in her papers - it probably needed a bit of tidying up , particularly towards the end, but it is a good tale and a good example of this very satisfying author's work.

For many, this view of Rum form the eastern end of the Ardnamurchan peninsular is 'spectacular' (as are most, of course, but this one is special - not a overt as many , but coyly revealing the island and its peaks) - from low down on the shallow, gently sloping beach, the island appears to be rising up out of the waves that sweep across the bay, the long ridge of Eigg not intruding so much as from higher views (earth's curvature - or just lost in the waves) - in fact it seems to make the peaks of Rum seem to float higher, more distantly and more enticingly, particularly against the setting sun: the view looks directly up Glen Dibidil , with Askival and Allival on the right, and the rounded masses of Anshivall and Sgurr nan Gillian, very different from its Syke namesake, on the left - all making the perfect picture - of a magical island and perfect peaks.

In the mind's eye, the old song comes to life - astride the thwarts of the boat, ' with 'Eigg on the bow, and Rum on the port', carrying the boy "born to be King" ' , sailing from this very quarter ! But back to the question. The connection is , as you would expect, both tortuous and contrived : the verse goes the singing sands the streams that walk the beasts that talk that bar the way to paradise as as for the additional clues source dividing the birthplace of a bitter-sweet confection - River Tay runs through Dundee - where the first marmalade was made desert trading post - recently rediscovered lost fort and fertile oasis near the Saudi/Omani borderlands, apparently once famous for gold and frankincense, said to have been deep in the vast dunes of that desert, which still cause weird and frightening music-like sounds in the high winds of desert storms, that blow both sand and water into wild gyrating shapes , drive animals into hysterical howls and growling - easy to see the springs of the verse

the connections are obvious when you know the answer !