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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


Saturday, 29 August 2020

The First Night of the Proms.

Yesterday morning I posted my application for a TV licence with the usual feelings of reluctance when parting with money, and at £157 that is a meaningful amount for me. But, there are from time to time programmes on BBC that make that worthwhile, so the disinclination to savage my bank balance was slightly softened.

Last night we had the first of the new "live" performances of the Proms with the BBC Symphony Orchestra.

A first time performance for a British composer left me unmoved - it was short and seemed to go nowhere except that it was pleasantly haunting in places. Novelty was introduced by a few notes on a mouth-organ, and very strangely somebody holding aloft in wavering hands a sort of musical box about the size of  a bag of sugar and twiddling a handle to allow music on a punch tape to scroll through and play some tinkling notes which didn't seem to have any connection with the rest of the piece.

Aaron Copland's Quiet City followed. A wonderfully evocative piece featuring immaculate trumpet playing. The performance was enhanced by cleverly edited camera work depicting empty city street scenes which was a brave thing to do snd would have been a disaster if not well handled.

The main event was Beethoven's Eroica symphony. The Finnish conductor, Sakari Oramo was at the helm. He was a delight to watch with facial expressions expressing his enjoyment, delight, and deep feelings. The orchestra was socially distanced so he seemed to be able to pinpoint individuals with a different kind of precision.

But, the most striking feature for me was the demeanour, without exception of all the members of the orchestra. They were all, again I say without exception, glum, tight lipped and otherwise expressionless. I thought they must have just arrived from a meeting where they had miserably failed to negotiate a pay rise.

For me any Beethoven is delight. I have no technical musical knowledge to make a meaningful assessment of this particular performance except to say that I did enjoy the music

This was all a bit strange held in the eerily empty Royal Albert Hall with brief commentary from Stephen Fry and Katie Derham which only served to give factual background to the selections on top of fairly meaningless adulatory observations. 

Wednesday, 26 August 2020

Lowgill and River Hindburn

Monday 24th August 2020. Lowgill and River Hindburn. 6.5 miles. 

This was my first walk with BC since the original lockdown.

BC has walked more long distance paths in the UK and abroad than anybody else I know of. I was surprised, amused, and a bit proud when I suggested this walk to BC when he told me had not walked here before.

This is quiet countryside. The River Hindburn runs through in a mostly wooded cleft with tributaries forming deepish wooded side valleys displaying a wide landscape of seriously undulating countryside. Our walk, according to BC's altimeter thingy involved over 1000 feet of ascent.

From the road at Lowgill convoluted footpaths took us to Tatham Church of the Good Shepherd. Although there has been a church here since 1577 the present one only dates from 1888 but its architecture is somewhat out of the ordinary; the door was locked so no inside visit.  Unfortunately the church is not dedicated to some obscure saint with an interesting history, but Wiki reveals The Good Shepherd as a film about the CIA directed by Robert de Niro and also a novel by C.S. Forester.

A variety of paths followed switchback fields, steep descents into woods, several wooden bridges, entrancing river and streams and an ever changing scenery of the best of English countryside on a perfect summer's day.

We met a deaf and dumb elderly gent with a dog coming towards us. He was a jolly sort and asked us to direct him  - he was using a dreadful little black and white sketch map that looked as though it had been torn from the pages of Country Walking. Following the complicated footpaths had been a challenge to us armed with Ordnance Survey and GPS. Our signing and the like seemed to achieve some success and he was very happily on his way. Further on a mother and young boy with a collie sheep dog were incoming, The dog appeared aggressive but as we chatted I had him tamed and enjoying a tickle behind the ears and then the throwing of a stick.

At Bottom Head Farm, our furthest south, we chatted at length with the friendly farmer on a variety of subjects including his summing up of his ability or otherwise to understand the various auctioneers at livestock markets that he has visited - "you can't tell which ten they are in, thirty or forty..."

We sat on the edge of a fast flowing stream for a late bite and coffee. The water in the streams is a rich brown ale colour but still crystal clear running and tumbling and foaming providing a tonic to the soul.

We eventually came back to tarmac and at Ivah Farm a lady and dog appeared  over the wall of the farm and they turned out to be the same we had met earlier. As we chatted again who should come down the road from the other direction but the cheery deaf and dumb guy. We were not sure who was lapping who but it was all a pleasant and happy second encounter for all.

Another half kilometre and we were looking at a proud polished granite war memorial in Lowgill village. Considering its size and impressiveness, this was a proportionally large tribute to just the few names of the fallen in that area from both wars.

Some of the paths on this walk were well defined and obviously walked and many others just the opposite but it is a most attractive and unspoilt area - quite a discovery at less thanan hour's drive from home.

Worth clicking photos to enlarge

Parked outside the closed school at Lowgill, ready for the off

This and below
I don't think this old Austin car engine will be running again any time soon

The start of one of several steep descents to magic streams and footbridges

A new breed of substantial cast footpath signs I have not seen before - we only saw one more much further on

Tatham Church of the Good Shepherd. No sign of Robert de Niro

Yet another view of Ingleborough but I couldn't resist this one

Bottom Head Farm nestling below the moorland. That was our furthest south. Pity the heather is not yet blooming on those wild moors. Views from around here were extensive and impressive in all directions on this glorious day

Lowgill war memorial

Thursday, 20 August 2020

Lune Valley Ramble (2)

Wednesday 19th Aug. 2020. Kirkby Lonsdale to Lune via Whittington, return via Lune - 6 miles 

If I walk a recognised long distance path my preference is to walk it in the same direction starting at one end and finishing at the other end. This tiddler is only 17 miles altogether and I had already walked the first part and then the second only a few days ago - see previous post. Today using a circular route I was able to continue but filling in the final section out of order. The middle section will at least be completed in the ssme direction. I previously found a location to leave my E-bike for that middle section next time and the same for a car park at the northern end.

I was lucky to get a vacant parking slot at Devil's Bridge in Kirkby Lonsdale and was soon off onto footpaths from the Whittington road. A steep grassy climb gave me good views back down to Kirkby Lonsdale. At Low Biggins an ancient narrow mule track was initially overgrown and rocky underfoot making for potential ankle twisting progress. The path then developed entirely into a fast flowing stream across its full width for over a hundred a yards needing  care and skill to keep the feet dry. which alas I didn't. A couple in front of me were making heavy weather of this and at first I thought they were going to turn back.

This walk had a little bonus: a short diversion to  Sellet Bank trig (117m.) I was able to see right back up the Lune valley beyond Kirkby Lonsdale, the scene of a number of recent walks exploring this area. It is always pleasing to let your gaze wander over large amounts of terrain that you know you have had the pleasure of previously exploring.

A narrow, grass-in-the-middle tarmac road took me down to Whittington. The church stands superbly on a mound overlooking this pretty village, and the site dates back to the 1200s. The oldest part now is the tower dating to the 16th Century, but the rest is as recent as 1875; its stance in the landscape made me think it deserved more interesting history than that.

There were two lane options just after Whittington to get me to the Lune and the return to Kirkby Lonsdale which was the main aim for this walk. I chose the most southerly. It started as rough tarmac then became unsurfaced. There were perhaps a dozen unavoidable mini lakes across its full width over a half mile distance. I had no alternative but to teeter through on tip-toe but inevitably I had wet feet again. My thinking was to shorten the distance of the final section when I complete it, but I will for sure walk that bit further and return by the more northerly lane which in any case comes out at a convenient spot to park the car.

The walk back up the Lune was pleasant enough. It is now a wide river with varied sections of fast flowing water and slower parts - an angler's dream. I saw a chap wading in the middle casting and had a touch of envy thinking how he would be enjoying his pursuit. I took a long zoom shot. When I was back home looking at the photos he had the most miserable expression on his face.

As Devil's Bridge came back into view I was reminded of publicity last year of youths dying and being injured "tombstoneing" from the bridge. I crossed the road and walked back through the little park to my car. Memorial benches are dotted here and some seem to commemorate deceased motorcyclists - the bacon butty wagon here is a Mecca for these guys and on a Sunday all the surrounding roads with their sweeping bends are resonant with the sound of high revving machines - police proliferate, but there are still many accidents.

I hope the next, and final part of this adventure will include deployment of my recently acquired e-bike. 


Leaving the Whittington road just out of Kirkby Lonsdale - a steep grass climb ahead

Approaching Low Biggins

The overgrown rocky lane that developed into a stream
On the waay

There was no option but to paddle

Sellet Bank - 117m. Trig out of sight

Looking north back up the Lune valley - site of a number of recent walks

Tarmac down to Whittington

Whittington church. A commanding position

Tidy and pretty Whittington

I did a search. He seems to have been a dedicated scientist with nothing else of note attached to his name, nevertheless it's good to see him commemorated

There were a dozen or so of these spread over half a mile or so. The second time on this expectedly benign little walk I had to get my feet wet

Back up the Lune to Kirkby Lonsdale

Pied wagtail. Full zoom. Difficult to hold still

Leck Beck joining the Lune. That flows down from Easegill and Leck Fell, scenes again of fairly recent more exciting walks than this gentle affair which if nothing else has sparked off pleasant memories. 

This zoom was taken from a couple of hundred yards away.
I was thinking how much this chap must be enjoying himself
wrapped up in his chosen pursuit.
Back home the photo seems to tell a different story

Water from Haweswater on the way to Manchester - see pipes below

Devil's Bridge, my start and finish. In recent years youths have died and been injured "tombstoneing" from here
Anti clockwise

Monday, 17 August 2020

Lune Valley Ramble 1

Sunday 16th August 2020 - Part of Lune Valley Ramble.

Crook of Lune to Aughton and back - 7 miles

I've never noticed this long-distance-path before. I happened upon it whilst browsing the OS map.  It is only 17 miles in total from Lancaster to Kirkby Lonsdale. I have previously walked from Lancaster to Caton (Crook of Lune) in bits and pieces many times so today I  took off from Crook of Lune.

From my parking I walked down the road to Crook of Lune failing to notice a walled path which would have been safer.

I was off at 9:00 am, The river bank provided perfect sheep cropped turf and nobody about, not even at the popular car park. The river bank path was blighted every so often by black rectangular burnt patches where folks who usually go to Costa del Spain to mindlessly misbehave had set up their barbecues. Litter was surprisingly absent - the litter pickers must have been before me?

The path entered steep sided woods and here I met two tough Lancashire guys coming the other way. One noticed, much to my surprise, my favourite item of outdoor kit. I bought this Pertex windproof jacket over twenty years ago from Mardale Clothing who manufacture and sell from a unit in an old Industrial Revolution red brick building off Strand road in Preston. The material is incredibly light and sports a hood and two pockets. When you set off in the morning and there is a nippy wind but not enough to justify anything heavy this garment is ideal - you can scrunch it up into a ball not much bigger than a fistful. Years later I went back to Mardale to try and get a  replacement but they no longer make it and looking at their current website they seem to have changed their whole profile. The chap who recognised this treasure obviously regarded it as highly as I do having had one himself but no longer, and suggested I should pass it on to him if and when I had finished with it. That was quite a jolt for me to have somebody recognise this gem from so many years ago. Outdoor gear manufacturers have a habit of making something classic, then messing about and spoiling it or discontinuing. 

Beyond the woods the 1906 Waterworks Bridge appeared which serves Manchester from Haweswater reservoir in the Lake District.  It is worth noting that this provides a rare footpath crossing of the River Lune.

Beyond the river takes a massive loop to the south which the Lune Valley Ramble follows. A tributary stream has to be crossed here and that would normally necessitate walking further up to find a crossing, but a rough descent from the path to its bank and a squelchy traverse leads to some stepping stones and a handy shortcut.

As I approached Aughton I had a spell of drizzly rain for about half an hour. Aughton was eerily silent apart from a lone white delivery van  - I see them everywhere nowadays and I suppose remote areas have had vehicle volumes increase with the advent of more on-line shopping.

The road out of Aughton is incredibly steep and inadvertently walking thirty yards beyond the footpath turn off seemed more irritating than it should have. The return journey at a higher altitude over undulating fields gave splendid views of the Lune valley below.

Worth clicking photos to enlarge

Down onto the Lune banking from the car park

The Waterorks Bridge. Supplying Manchester from the Lake District - n.b. footpath over the river if you want

View from the bridge ( with apologies to Arthur Miller)

River looping south. Tributary enters below bushes where shortcut over stepping stones is found - see below

Stepping stones. Route going right round the isthmus created by the river loop

Over Lune Barn as marked on OS map - out on its own in the middle of nowhere

Inside the barn. I suppose the roof and walls will fall soon

Aughton. Apparently deserted but the white vans are now everywhere

Bench mark, originates from the chiseled horizontal marksthat surveyors made in stone structures, into which an angle-iron could be placed to form a "bench" for a leveling rod, thus ensuring that a leveling rod could be accurately repositioned in the same place in the future.
Thanks to Wikipedia

Not rare I suppose but a bit old

Middle High Field

Across the Lune to Caton with Clougha Pike looming above

My route: red outllne north of Caton