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


Sunday, 28 June 2020

Lockdown walking and blur-moments

A few days ago I bought a nearly new E-bike - 'twas what our family call a blur-moment. For example visiting the Paramo shop in Braemar a few years ago with no specific intention and coming out twenty minutes later with a new Paramo zip front jacket to replace the smock version that I had never liked and that previous twenty minutes being a blur-moment. Blur-moments are usually associated with severe damage to one's bank balance.

I thought I had packed up with bikes a couple of years ago but retained a brilliant cycle carrier that clips onto a car tow-bar with a scissor like action so I now needed a tow-bar for my car which may also be of other use later.

Last Thursday I drove to my  garage man Ernie on the way to Milnthorpe and left the car and walked the two and a half miles back home - that brings me to the point of this story.

That was my last continuous day's walking since Lockdown a total of 91 days. That beats my previous continuous record with no rest days when I walked from Land's End to John 'o Groats in 2008 taking 77 days. I did miss a day within the above mentioned 91 but I am sure it was well within the first 18 days so I am confident to say I now have a new record. How pointless that is in the light of present day happenings but I'm afraid this sort of thing seems to be in my nature  - when you have just spent three hours bringing your computer back to life after a near fatal crash you've just got to shout with triumph and tell somebody, and on this occasion you are my captive audience (if you have got this far.)

It must be just coincidence that my interruption of continuous walking occurred at the same time that the long wave of good weather ended, and as I look out of the window now a gale is blowing trees in swirling and varying directions and rain is lashing around in and amongst. I won't be going for a walk today.

Monday, 22 June 2020

Around Wyndhammere

Sunday 21st June 2020 - (Day 87 of Lockdown) - paths around Wyndhammere - 6 to 7 miles.

A familiar comment on walking enthusiast's blogs notes the absence of meeting others as a plus; is that really true? I can only speak for myself.

I most enjoy walking on new territory. If that is over remote countryside so much the better. I can kid myself about how wild it is and how few people have been there recently. If I was continually meeting others, either single walkers and more so groups, either coming towards me or more likely these days overtaking me, that self delusion would be spoiled. If I only met one or two fellow walkers that is fine especially if some interesting conversation ensues. Friendly inhabitants are also welcome. Unfriendly locals when one may be perhaps off the public right of way are an enjoyable challenge (usually) - a bit of humble apology then flattering their dog/environment/tractor can most times soon have them talking about their grandchildren and where they holiday.

Today I walked for just under seven miles and apart from one or two cars passing me on a couple of short road sections I genuinely never saw another person, not even in the distance. I never even heard any voices. Whatever people say about not meeting anybody, to walk for seven miles in England with no sight nor sound of other humans is pretty rare. That was no problem for me and I had a thoroughly enjoyable walk.

I was able to park on the grass verge of the B 6254 at the midpoint when I would have preferred to walk the whole of that less attractive section at the beginning, but one is thankful to find any parking near to the start of a route. One thing I try to avoid is driving along part of the route I will subsequently be walking on especially if this is new terrain for me.

Part of this walk was covered years ago but most of it was new. Short sections of tracks, fields, rough country, woods, ascents and descents, and surprise views made for variety and interest. This was everything a country walk should be.

At one point I spotted a curious circular tower in the middle of a field. It was of dry-stone construction and about twenty five feet tall with four, what looked like, ventilation panels high up (see photo below.) There was an unusual prefabricated stile into the field and I diverted the hundred yards to investigate but could come to no conclusion about the tower's purpose - the mystery remains. 

Further on I found a concrete sphere about seven feet in diameter rolled into the undergrowth resting against a tree. Again I diverted to have look. It looked like something from Portmeirion. I thrashed the few yards through nettles and on the other side there were indications that it was some kind of abandoned septic tank. What a let down. But the how and why of its ending up in that location provided today's mystery number two.

My path went over the distant dip in the skyline giving a rewarding view to the strangely named lake Wyndhammere. Internet browsing revealed nothing of interest about the lake but even though it is man made it does enhance views of this countryside.

Distant Barbon hills. The lake can just be seen nestling beyond the trees in the centre

Having walked round the head of the lake this is taken from the other other side.

The tower (below) was a hundred yards off  into the field halfway along the wall.

This unique (to me) cast concrete stile leads into the field for the tower. I guess it  is part of the infrastructure connected with the two boxes (see next photo) on the other side of the wall. All this may or may not be connected with the tower - all remains a mystery.

Surprise view with fleeting sunlight down into the Lune valley with the Barbon hills above

Rigmaden Farm

After walking over the tops and descending into the Lune valley it was time to start climbing back over. My route branched off into the pleasant woods on the left

Just before emerging from the woods, this is the Portmeirion object a few yards off the path.... 

...and round the other side.

All other paths on this walk were fine - this fifty yard section was the exception but  I had sadistic fun thrashing at brambles and nettles with my walking poles.

My route at centre. Ignore others on my cluttered Memory Map

Friday, 12 June 2020

Scout Hill summit (and statues)

Thursday 11th June 2020 (Day 78 of Lockdown) - Scout Hill (tarn and summit) - (SD 563 826) 

Blogger Dashboard is this blog's backroom where posts are composed, and statistics of page views are recorded on a Daily, Weekly, Monthly, Annual and All Time basis. The source of page views has always been a mystery to me but I'm pretty sure most of them arise from search engines and intrusive entities such as Google and others rather than individuals searching for information on a particular subject.

In the top two places at the moment by a fair margin are:

photos-furnish-blog.html.     from 2nd. Nov. 2013 - 1956 pageviews

day-4.html.                            from 27th April 2019.  1846 pageviews

Neither of these posts, as far as I can perceive, contain anything subversive or refer to organising oneself as a terrorist or anything else that would attract thousands to investigate.

Perhaps the words "owl's egg" from this post may qualify it for promotion to pole position?

My last post mentioned my non-visit to the summit of Scout Hill and my intention to return to see the little tarn marked just below.

I had a mental picture of a  bowl of water intriguingly unseen until breasting the rim, nestling in a hollow with enchanting ripples reflecting the sunlight and perhaps the odd bird on the water to enhance my photography: somewhere to spend some time pondering on the meaning of life and the nature of the Universe.

The approach was as attractive as my visit the other day.

I have now gone back to the Panasonic TZ80 after having its sensor cleaned and at last got to grips with the macro function. The first chance to capitalise was the broken bird's egg on the path. It is possibly from a barn owl and if so out of context in the middle of a field, so I conclude it was dropped there by a predator.

My next victim was a bee, or is it a wasp, getting its pollen fix on a dog rose. I understand there are hundreds of different species of bees in the UK and of course I would be chuffed if this turned out to be a rare one - identification please.

I had to leave my previous path to head for the summit. Some toing and froing followed through a band of gorse trying to follow sheep trods. The terrain was undulating and as expected the tarn only appeared, as I was hoping, only when I was close and topping out on the final undulation.

It appeared as a filthy looking overgrown marsh surrounded by a feeble, droopy, third-rate fence and could have been more at home as a millpond in the backyard of some derelict mill leftover in redundant industrial Lancashire.

Looking at the skyline I could se Scout hHill had three summit areas. Away to the left what looks like a prominent standing stone, and in the centre a building and telecoms mast installation, and away to the right the trig point sitting a little higher and commanding the best view. I visited all three and soaked up the full three hundred and sixty degree views - some compensation for the non-doing tarn.


Identification (of insect) please. PLEASE CLICK TO ENLARGE

Some may argue it is saved by the view?

The trig is on the hill to the right of the masts. Not as far away as it looks



My thoughts are uttered and substantiated by an exchange with Alan on his blog:

Sir Hugh said...
An important record I think and super photos. One wonders about all the statues especially where philanthropy and noble actions clash with more dubious activity. I think they should stay but with more informative well constructed cast plaques attached detailing the bad along with the good. It is wrong to airbrush history.

Good to hear from you both - best wishes.
AlanR said...
Hi Conrad. Sheila said it all yesterday. History is not one of her favourite subjects but she said its been a good day and I've learnt so much. History cannot be erased. It will always come back. For me i find the whole statue protest a pathetic waste of public money at a time that the economy is struggling. Statues were mainly paid for by public funding, so some people have short memories. What WE are led to believe is that it was the white people who were wrong and black people persecuted. Yes, but what about all the very rich black organisers on the west coast of Africa who did the majority of the kidnapping. As i said earlier, history cannot be erased. There may be a civil war if Baden Powell statue goes. Rant over. 

Monday, 8 June 2020

Scout Hill circuit

Sunday 7th June 2020 (Day 74 of Lockdown.) Circling Scout Hill (SD 664 825) 5+ miles

At the start of Lockdown I vowed to walk every day. I think I had a morbid fear of turning into a lump of jelly.

Somewhere around day fourteen for a reason I can't remember one day I omitted to walk specifically. It was only after I realised I could be on target for beating my previous "record" of 77 days continuous walking when I plodded from Land's End to John 'oGroats in 2008 - no rest days. So I was niggled at missing that one day, but no matter, says he defensively, it is only a detail, so as you see above I will hopefully go beyond the 77 days within the next few days.

Going back several years I walked more locally when I had my springer, Barney and then my daughter's springer Jake.  Since their departure I neglected those areas but since Lockdown I have combed them again finding many previously undiscovered paths and many newly formed, but now I seem to have more or less exhausted them . With the advent of relaxed mobility I have been driving a little bit further to do the same thing in areas slightly further away.

I visited Scout Hill during my OS sheet 97 trig point campaign on 5th November 2003. It was not a bright day and I retained a memory of something mundane.

Today the approach on medieval lanes leading up to open fellside was all delight. The views to Farleton Fell, Arnside Knott and the Kent estuary out to Morecambe Bay were stupendous. There were curlews wheeling about and a huge gathering of one of the corvid species making a raucous racket. I wouldn't have gained much by re-visiting the summit although I have now noticed a little tarn marked on the map just below that could be worth another trip.

The path below the summit had extensive skyline views of the Lake District hills to the north with particular clarity today and the Barbon Hills and Crag Hill ahead to the east.

A minor road followed.  When I needed to branch off onto a footpath the field was full of cowboy cows - those with long only slightly curved horns and they were already eyeing me up for what purpose I was not prepared to find out. I walked further up the road to gain access to the next field. and was then locked into a field system with no exits for my direction which was guarded by an unusually high barbed-wire fence. Eventually I found a scoop of earth below the bottom wire of the fence that had been blocked by planks of wood. I removed camera, wallet and iPhone from my pockets, moved the planks and did a sort of ground based limbo on my back underneath the wire and after replacing the planks more effectively than how they were found I felt pretty proud of my problem solving - there is always a way!

I gained my proper path to finish the walk with a different version of the splendid view across the bay. I am so fortunate to live in this area with almost endless variations of such rewarding walks. My son W. deduced that the fence incident was something that I had masochistically revelled in and perhaps there was some truth in that?


Old lanes leading up into the hills

Some kind of seagull, and below...

...considering the original was a zoom the enlargement here must be colossal.
Further down you will see my other attempt for an entry to the Wildlife Photographer of the Year Competition.
Beating the Bounds watch out - a rival is looming.

End of Farleton Fell left and Arnside Knott right - my house nestles beneath somewhere

Tarnhouse Tarn - private fishing

I'm not sure whether to submit the seagull above or this great tit for Photographer of the Year

Looking back at my escape from Stalag Luft Field after replacing the planks

Farleton Fell

Wednesday, 3 June 2020

Around Killington

Tuesday 2nd. June 2020 - Paths around Killington - 3 miles (Day 70 of Lockdown)

Another pleasant little walk a modest drive from home on a perfect hot day tempered by a cooling breeze. The undulating limestone country made for frequent new views and little hidden valleys with a splendid backdrop of the Barbon hills and further north the Howgills. Sheep cropped turf and established limestone paths applied throughout. I saw nobody on the walk compared with the many visitors back home at Arnside.

This was a pleasant break to take my mind off the disintegration of the world. How much longer can T continue to head up (I won't say run) the US? My son watches a lot of You Tube video and freelance American commentary and even if one allows for bias and doubtful sources there seems to be much more for alarm going on there than the BBC ever reports. From that bible toting rant and many previous wild accusations and actions T seems to be unhinged - why oh why don't his own party face up to reality and get him out. The problem with politicians universally is that they are scared stiff of loosing their next election party-wise or individually.

At home it has to be acknowledged that our government has at least tried to  pursue some kind of policy to overcome the pandemic but their competence has been widely questioned from many sources. But apart from that they are not now taking scientific advice (they have changed the wording to say they are considering rather than taking) and have been criticised by independent scientists for the doubtful content of statistics presented. And there has been little evidence of firm leadership. I know that it must be a massive task masterminding and implementing measures in such an unprecedented situation and such a task is not to be envied but the way the government is going about it  has damaged public trust and they seem to continually shoot themselves in the foot.

I hsve jollied slong with all this for ages now but I have to say that the whole world situation is beginning to get me down with things just going from bad to worse. A lot has been said recently about mental health and the benefits of walking and there is some scientific research that backs this up - whatever I do value my own version of outdoor activitiy which takes my mind off the dreary news for a while.


If you also want a bit more distraction click to enlarge.
No captions - just photos to support my enthusiasm for the unique countryside I am fortunate to have at home and close by.