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


Saturday, 31 October 2020

Do it now.

I have just replied to my friend BC on his blog where he despairs at the recent ignoring of advice by the public and the obstinate refusal by the government to follow scientific advice, which I can understand to a certain extent with the need to keep at least some of the economy going. But the behaviour of much of our public, and especially the young who will inherit the aftermath of this mess is shameful. During the first lockdown the behaviour was commendable but why has that now been reversed ? There is a need for much stronger leadership and if required more rigorous enforcement.

My reply to BC:

"It’s not looking good. I feel ashamed to be British among this wholesale transgression by huge chunks of our population and the stupidity of not following scientific advice."

We seem incapable of taking decisive action about anything in this country. The following summary is not directly related to Covid but for me it outlines how things grind along hampered by the fear of MPs on all sides loosing their seats and the incumbent party loosing their majority. I am not writing this aimed at any particular party - they are all the same. 

Some issue arises, I am not writing specifically, but for instance it may be cladding on tower blocks. There is public outcry. The media fire up all sorts of erroneous information. A petition is mustered forcing a debate in parliament. Usually nothing comes of this but if it does it comes as an announcement that an enquiry will be set up. It likely takes several months to find somebody as the chairperson. After a year the enquiry gets underway. There is then some scandal or dispute or clash of opinions and the chair resigns and we start all over again. After perhaps three years (I don't think I exaggerate) the enquiry reports to the government with many recommendations. Most of those are ignored by the government, some probably for party political reasons and so we rumble on. The cost involved of all this must be monstrous bearing in mind we have goodness knows how many enquiries running or in formation at any one time. Meanwhile in other counties it seems possible to get things done quickly for the general good.

We built over 100 airfields in no time leading up to WW2  - that was probably achieved by the government having been granted unlimited powers but in sheer physical terms it shows that things can be done expeditiously, but how dire do things have to get before we take decisive action?

Thursday, 29 October 2020

Around Nicky Nook with BC

 Wednesday 28th October 2020 - around Nicky Nook (SD 519 485)

After yesterday's exertions in the rain I was just fresh out of my hot bath when the phone rang. Bowland Climber was suggesting a walk around Nicky Nook tomorrow. He said afterwards I hesitated before accepting. That is probably correct - I was still in recovery mode, and also I have walked around Nicky Nook on several occasions over the last few years. Before that it was a favourite outing to drag my unwilling family up to the summit when we lived in Preston.

Back in 2004 a local brewery were naming a new ale as Nicky Nook and tried to find the origin of the name. From the Lancashire Telegraph:

"...but despite talking to villagers in Scorton and scouring the internet Bowland Brewery is still none the wiser. Julie Collinson, proprietor of The Priory Hotel, in Scorton, is so keen to solve the mystery she has offered dinner for two and samples of the new beer.
"We'd love to hear from anyone who knows how Nicky Nook was named and the prize will go to the most interesting and amusing story, not necessarily the most credible..."

BC had warned me about crowds in Scorton; he had identified parking in a lane just to the south beneath the M6. Rain showers were forecast but we avoided them all except for a brief five minute spattering as we sat on some large culvert pipes for our mid walk munchies.

We were away at 9:30. Practically all of the walk was, much to my surprise and enjoyment, new to me allaying my thoughts that we may just be covering old ground. By now I had thankfully found my boots in the garage from yesterday, and after some attractive autumn lane walking we were squelching through muddy fields complete with more serious quagmires at the gate entrances. We were then back onto other lanes and we seemed to have been climbing forever until we came out onto the road skirting the base of the Bowland hills giving us views and reminiscences of various treks through that terrain.

We had seen only the odd person, but now looking down to the road there were many cars at the popular parking spot which gives access to climb Nicky Nook. From hereon there were continuously more people. about.

Despite the waterlogged fields this was an attractive and enjoyable walk, the first since 16th of September with BC. 

For Paul - a front on view of BC.

We obeyed and walked through the "straigts"

Out to the edge of the Bowland hills

Cars parked for the ascent of Nicky Nook

Nicky Nook trig

Zoom to Lancaster University (I think)

BC told me this was a sculpture - mmm!

28th October! We were not tempted

You will have seen this many times if you drive  north up the M6 - it coincides with a slanting upwards bridge over the motorway

Trig points OS 103 - Blackburn/Burnley (2)

Tuesday 27th October 2020

Newton Moor SD 858 587 - 291m. 

Dunhazles SD 808 551 - 216m

Tosside SD768 564 - 276m

I have been deprived of outdoor activity recently to the extent of promising myself I would go out this week even in bad weather. It was bad.

It was only while breakfasting, looking out at the rain I decided.

Knowing I would need my best protection I went to where my Rohan Barricade (waterproof) trousers resided in my bedroom, not used since last winter. They were not there. It was late to be setting off with a longish drive so I grabbed Paramo trousers instead. I knew my boots were in the garage. They weren't there. No more time to mess about searching. I put on the Mountain Warehouse trainers, chucked a flask of coffee in my rucksack and off I went, only stopping at our local bakery for a lunchtime pasty.

I drove through heavy rain and spray down the A65 to Long Preston and set off walking still in the rain. It was bad enough to restrict me to only five photos all day.

A lane out of the village became a footpath across a series of squelchy fields. Some navigation errors followed. At one point I needed to cross a drystone wall which was already down to less than half height over a length of about four feet with a pallet propped up to close the gap, but the pallet was ajar enough for me to squeeze through onto the remains of the wall which instantly collapsed even more. I can't ever remember damaging a drystone wall, an unforgivable crime in the dales. I managed to retrieve the pallet and prop it back up giving perhaps better defence than its original positioning. I have to say I was not happy with myself but at least I did my best to sort it.

After descent into a ravine and a footbridge with a steep ascent out the other side I was out onto access moorland. Contours on the map and my visuals indicated a direct compass bearing on the summit. I ploughed and climbed through thick reeds and tussock grass. Not far from the final rise to the trig I found a mown quad bike track which I was able to use on the descent cutting twenty minutes off the ascent time. The continuing rain didn't encourage me to linger long.

It was past eating time but my pasty and coffee were saved until I was back at the car.

More driving took me to the other two trigs, both were less than two hundred yards off the road in fields with no public access. My Paramo jacket and trousers had kept me dry underneath but the trainers succumbed as I neared the first summit and I had the enjoyable freedom after that off just sloshing through everything regardless. With good clothing I was well protected and whatever one may assume this had been a welcome and pleasurable change from the routine of domesticity I seem to have been under lately.

DONT bother to enlarge!

On the way to Newton Moor. Note reservoir up the hillside top left, and below

Newton Moor trig followed below by the other two - exciting eh?

At least this one had a pretty little stone circle surrounding it

The red line shows my wanderings

Friday, 23 October 2020

Land Rover insurance claim?

 Friday 23rd. October - 11:20 pm

I watched a video on You Tube: "How to Apply Humbrol Clear " a product designed to give a gloss finish to a model.

Off I went to the garage with the body colour pieces of my Land Rover.  "A second coat can be applied after fifteen to thirty minutes." That first coast didn't look good. I waited as instructed. My garage is a bit cool so I put on a fan heater. I sprayed away thinking to myself "I'm getting the hang of this."

An hour later several parts had assumed banana shape. In insurance terms I had a write-off on my hands. Well thart's how you learn.

I am now awaiting replacement parts from Revell which I understand from their website will be coning from Germany, and in the words of Oates "...may be some time."

Whatever anybody wants to say about plastic modelling I must add that it is not for the faint hearted.

Land Rover and Katie update

 Friday 23rd October 2020

Recently a series of situations, appointments and bad weather have conspired to keep me from my enjoyment of walking and exploration. Partial Lockdown and the above mentioned sends one down paths of exploration digital. Somehow I found myself looking at You Tube videos of model making, something I did quite seriously as a young teenager but not since. A kit for a Land Rover took my eye; it happened, coincidentally to be in the same colour as the short-wheel-base I used to own and also it was the same Series 3 from circa 1973.

"Buy now with one click."

I was launched.

There are 184 pieces. Progress is slow but absorbing but not very demanding intellectually, although there are odd moments interpreting the pictogram instructions.

When I made the move my son sent daughter a message just saying "Dad's bought a Land Rover." The reply, with its hidden inference: "Is he keeping the Kia?"

I had an airbrush for a number of years and sold it on Ebay about three months ago. I have now bought another. The all too frequent rule of life had struck again:

The shorter will be the period of time that you find the need for an item you had kept in case it may "come-in" after you have disposed of it is inversely proportional to the length of time you had kept it.

I think I got that right but someone with a degree in logic may wish to challenge. Anyway, you get the idea.

If you click to enlarge, which I recommend  you will see areas where the painting has been missed but it looks like realistic distressing - the model is not necessarily supposed to be just out of the showroom.

Most of the engine assembled and painted. I primed all the parts with the airbrush in situ on the sprue (the framework with all the parts attached from where they are snipped off)

I airbrush painted all the body parts that are the colour of the finished vehicle - this is just the main body. The lighting has given the forward roof an apparently different shade. These parts will be finished with gloss.

This chassis was airbrushed


    Katie update - she will be 9 this weekend!
With one of her paintings a few days ago.

Katie and Mum are off to stay in a shepherd's cabin for the weekend. She has been equipped by me with a head torch, a Swiss Army knife (given after much thought and debate, but I think she is now old enough and sufficiently responsible) and an Ordnance Survey 1:25 map with the location of their stay centred, specially commissioned with Katie's photo on the front and acknowledgement of her 9th birthday - that was Mum's idea.

Thursday, 15 October 2020

Trig points on OS 1:50 Sheet 103 - Blackburn and Burnley (1)

Wednesday 14th October 2020

Yet another new walking project on top of several uncompleted. At one time that would have been an irritation but as years advance I believe it is more important to be honest and do the things you know you want to rather than feel guilty about the unfinished ones -  that is of course providing your actions do not infringe on others. 

Visiting all the trig points on a particular edition of the Ordnance Survey map is a particular pleasure for me. I think that arises from the variety of locations; some are next to a road and others significant distances over pathless moorland. You can only glean so much by looking at the map so there are often surprises, and then some are on private land demanding either research and diplomacy or outright trespassing all of which appeal to me but may not to others. By their raison d'être trig points will nearly always provide a fine view (depending on the weather.)

I carefully plotted the unusually large number (seventy-five) on this map* and found I had already visited eight of them. With limited time today an hours drive had me mopping up three trigs on the south-western corner of the map.

I originally plotted on OS 1:50 then found that some had different names on the 1:25 and in any case I have had to invent names based on nearby features where no exact name is shown on the map.

Pike Lowe - 222m. SD 625 221

This was a half mile each way on a farm track which followed the Lancashire Way for a short distance before peeling off to climb north through an elaborate metal gate. Doubling back off the track to the north further on I climbed a locked gate onto land with a covered reservoir atop a field of long wet grass. The reservoir was protected by two sets of very high and well constructed fencing more akin to something at Porton Down. The two fences were then bounded by a substantial drystone wall. OS told me my trig nestled close to that wall. I stood on the spot with my GPS covering the trig symbol on the map but there was no trig. I found a piece of concrete embedded and nearly invisible in the grass which I guess is all that is left. I am not sure why, or on whose decision, some trigs are being removed. It seems a shame; they are part of our heritage and a tribute to what I think are amongst the finest map makers ever.

Walking back I was rewarded with extensive views into the valley across to Blackburn and Darwen with its famous tower above resembling a toy-town spaceship: my next but one objective. I spotted a lone figure a distance away combing a field with his metal detector and took a zoom shot. I bet those guys tire of people asking them if they have found anything. I sensed a touch of envy. I have a metal detector unused never having gone to the faff of getting permission to go on somebody's land but it is something I wouldn't mind having a go at.

Earcroft - 218m. SD 672 247 (1:50) - Spout house Farm (1:25)

A ten minute drive and a convenient lay-by had me parked within two hundred yards of this one. A stile from the road onto a public footpath and half a field of gloopy cow trodden mud and another stile and I was getting the best view ever of Blackburn Rovers stadium - perhaps it is named after a sponsor, I don't know? I presume when that is the case and sponsors change there has to be as lot of messing about changing the name again? The mysteries of football... 

Darwen Hill - 372n. - SD 678 216

hazardous drive down to, and through Darwen followed - a right turn to cross a crazy-busy main road, multi-lanes when I was not sure which to be in, and then through quiet suburbia to a free car park for the ascent of the popular Darwen JubileeTower. There was just one space left.  

A pleasant lane climbed steeply through trees then opened onto hillside with the track badly eroded by running water which had defeated cobbled engineered drainage crossing the track. I saw perhaps twenty people coming and going. 

The spread of man’s impact on the land was starkly seen from on high with the vast industrial and residential spread of conjoined Blackburn, Darwen, Oswaldtwistle and Accrington. All that in a vast shallow bowl then surrounded by faint distant hills in all directions. The sun was shining and the atmosphere clear, the latter I suspect enhanced by minimal air traffic pollution.

I climbed the spiral staircase of the Jubilee (Victoria) Tower and had an even better view. The dome at the top had been replaced in 2010 after its predecessor had been blown adrift in high wind. The new stainless steel construction had been made by apprentices from a local engineering firm. Despite the hard nature of stainless hundreds of Kilroy and the “I was here” brigade had managed to scribe initials and the like over every square inch. Later comers had no option but to resort to the hand rail of the staircase. I think the Country Code says something about leaving no trace of your visit.

* If anybody wants a pdf link for the spreadsheet just email me at The headings on the spreadsheet are:
Date of visit
OS grid ref.
Height in meters 


My track goes straight on - the Lancashire Way peels off to the right - see gate below

The reservoir infrastructure can be seen beyond the wall. GPS places the trig next to the wall at this point

This bit of concrete a few feet from the wall looks like the only remains of the trig

This is only a covered reservoir, or is it...? Anybody got a conspiracy theory?

"Have you found anything?"
Blackburn Rovers stadium from Earcroft, and below

Start of track up to Darwen Jubilee Tower

The trig has been adopted by the Lancashire branch of the Long Distance Walking Association, hence, I suppose its gleaming white coat

Looking straight down from the top - note people approaching

View from the top, Blackburn, Darwen etc.

Ignore other than 1,2, and 3. This is just the relevant section of 103

The pink broad is the border of 103


Saturday, 10 October 2020

Covid test and dodgy football

Saturday 10th October 2020

Circumstances and weather have stopped me walking recently; none of that affects my ability to walk given the chance. I have been self isolating for seven days until I have a  minor op appointment next Tuesday (nothing serious I hope.) Consequently I had to have a Covid test. Despite adverse criticism of the testing system I can't complain. I had a call on my mobile yesterday which the hospital had told me to expect. I was given an appointment this morning at Lancaster for 9:15 am, only half an hour's drive. I arrived early and was seen straightaway. The test was quite painful in a minor sort of way: they do have to push the device a long way up each nostril.

I hope to get back to some walking again after next Tuesday


Another little football rant. I watched the England/Wales game the other night. There was an incident where a player was close to the goal where he put in an unsuccessful shot. At the same instant a half hearted tackle came from behind. The commentator said "He should have gone to ground there" implying that the player should have cheated by engineering a penalty. If that is how the commentators think the game should be played there is little hope for football being any kind of role model for sportsmanship and morality.

Monday, 5 October 2020

Civic app and Safarinot supporting Blogger Dashboard

Monday 5th October 2020 - 9:00 am

My iPad Mini no longer works with Safari to open Blogger Dashboard. Notices suggest updating the browser but my late 2012 iPad mini is not supported for Safari, Firefox or Microsoft Edge. I have opened The Blogger app to type this just to see if I can send it.

9:45 am

I am now in Blogger Dashboard from my iMac desktop computer editing the above dreadful attempt from Blogger app.. The above is the best I could do in the difficult to use Blogger app on the iPad. The title should have read "Covid app and Safari not..."

Blogger app is just about useless for managing and posting as I have done in the past from my iPad mini using Blogger Dashboard when on multi-day walks.

If that is the only possibility  I see no point in taking the iPad with me in future. I can still blog from my iPhone which I have now realised it is the 6s Plus which is the earliest model which can supposedly use the new Covid app but that is not the case and despite trying again the message still says the app is not supported by my 6s Plus.

Yesterday I spent the whole day from 9:00 am to 6::00pm with Apple Support on the phone, and screen sharing, resolving issues regarding "permissions" and a redundant "user" on my iMac - ok, have a laugh you who smugly eschew Apple, but I have said many times I am not starry eyed about A but I have to say their support is now first class even though it took all day to sort those problems they stuck with me with dogged patience and eventually had it sorted.

After all this I feel like giving up on tech completely and going to live in a cave somewhere.