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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


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



  1. Love the thought of visiting all the trigs on a map. Sad to see one has disappeared, and wonder what happened to it? Great views from the top of that tower.

  2. Good to see you quickly out and about.
    The trig point challenge sounds a good Covid safe way to exercise.
    There is a website that details what you can expect to find on the ground.

  3. Ruth - I find it more satisfying to have some objective for a walk. Do you walk when you are not getting to the north with your project? You could have something similar and write current posts.

    BC - The question of exercise is debatable - I walk further to the local shop for some but then the climb up to Darwen Tower could certainly be defined as exercise. This project is a sort of melange of exercise, entertainment and satisfaction of curiosity. Once again outside factors are putting things in my diary scuppering my enthusiasm to get out and tick more off the list.

  4. That's a great project, Conrad. I'm sure you'll find some interesting new paths and views.

  5. Phreerunner - chance would be a fine thing. People keep putting things in my diary that seems to scupper every decent forecast day for va walk.y

  6. The things that traditionally get mopped up are "pockets of resistance" although even the most cliché-prone war correspondents tend to use this phrase only sparingly these days. Since trig points are the crassest of artefacts, totally out of place in the locations where they are planted, perhaps they will eventually become paranoid and group together as pockets of resistance, falling out over what number constitutes a pocket.

    Sudden brilliant thought: might a pocket be synonymous with a handful. You can see the logic.

    1. I like trig points. A welcoming sight to many walkers, climbers and mountaineers. When I stand at the trig on Ben Cleuch and see the Burnfoot Windfarm close up, I’m in no doubt which is ‘crass’. Ski junk also fits the description.

  7. RR - Did you find any clichés in Ulysses? I'm sure James J would have been grateful for you vigilance.

  8. Plenty, all of them intentional. And Joyce made use of them in ways their progenitors could never have imagined.

  9. It's a shame, I didn't set out to flog you for cliché-mongering. Rather the incredible persistence of memory. During the war Father used our rickety Philco radio for one thing only - listening to the news. Since he had the radio on loud it was impossible for me to ignore it. As you are by now well aware there were draconian restrictions on what could be said as news, thus Allied progress was made to seem irresistible after El Alamein. It also occurs to me that these restrictions may have extended to certain phrases. For me Allied troops were always "mopping up pockets of resistance" and - I may be wrong on this - this phrase was still being used in reports about the Korean War. Even later, but less often. It would be interesting to know just exactly where you picked up this metaphorical meaning of "mopping up". For me it jumped out of your post trailing shreds of history, as if the trig points were enemies that needed subduing. No doubt I should have made this clear. In commenting on blogs we tend to shoot from the hip. As with using Joyce in order to damp me down. With a little thought you could have substituted Alastair Maclean, a great unintentional cliché-mongerer who, I discreetly dropped some time ago.

  10. I suspect that "who" should be "whom". An open goal.

  11. RR - didn't you mean "own" goal?

    As for mopping up I don't see why it should only apply to undesirable items. In my mind I have set myself what I think is a pleasurable task in visiting all the trig points. As I tick them off (or mop them up) there is a pleasure in proceeding towards my goal. I've no idea how the phrase entered my vocabulary - probably spending time reading and/or listening to more likely cliché ridden material than is good for me.

  12. afoot - worry not about RR's desultory imagination - once he gets going he can't stop. He once told me he could go on for hours churning this stuff out.

    The most valuable attribute of trig points, in my opinion, especially in Scotland is confirming that one has reached the correct summit. Don't laugh, I could tell a story...

  13. Sir Hugh - I miss RR when he is absent from your comments box so be assured l ‘worry not’. And where has ‘gimmer’ gone, if you don’t mind me asking?

    I have untold stories also Conrad, though not involving trig points...

  14. afoot - Maybe you could start the Big Brother Fan Club?

    As for Gimmer: he is busy with a several year project renovating a country house in the northern Pennines. On top of that he has a manufacturing business producing specialised floor sealants and his factory manager has retired after fifteen years exemplary service leaving Gimmer with the need to be much more hands on while he introduces and educates the new replacement. I have known Gimmer since the late Fifties when we we're in the Scouts together, and we also attended the same school albeit in different streams - he went to Oxford to do a chemistry degree and I went off to work for my uncle in the finance business. I have had many outdoor adventures with G. over the years and have also helped from time to time with contract flooring jobs.

  15. afootinthehills. With the other, presumably prosthetic, left warming by the fire irons.

    Most trig points I've seen have been ugly lumps of concrete, created without a shred of imagination. My imagination, by the way, is far from desultory; I'm presently plotting a short story in which a walker, inevitably northern and well stricken in years, goes doo-lally through an excess of cakes and tea and starts rendering homage to these unbeguiling stumps, believing them to be the souls of dead protesters who participated in The Great Moors Walk back when bread was still rationed.

    I hope this comment - the usual non-sequitur I go in for these days - makes up for my absences from Conrad Walks of late. And for an increasing number of absences yet to come, especially if Trump gets in again. I tried to ingratiate myself with Conrad Walks commenters on several occasions, since Tone Deaf now attracts pandemic-style audiences, but I was almost always misunderstood and eventually ridden out of town on a rail (A very strange experience).

  16. The spin I would put on this is that it's not a new walking project, but a continuation of a general trig-bagging endeavour; it's just focussing on a new map square.

    It's not something I can do close to home; I recall once poring over the map sheet covering our area and finding a distinct lack of blue triangles. A side effect of living in such a flat area, I suppose.

  17. Gayle - I might have a sneaky look at your local map.