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


Monday, 23 November 2020

Walking in a bad mood

 Sunday 22nd November 2020 - Whitbarrow and Fairie's Cave

There were aspects of this walk that I did not enjoy. I wanted to visit Fairie's Cave which has recently come to my attention, and also a climbing crag at Slape Scar further south. I had walked on part of the route only a few days ago with not much enthusiasm passing close to the cave, and then plotting a satisfactory circular route to incorporate the crag was problematical. I decided to go for it anyway and improvise after the crag depending on visual assessment of the terrain. Having given the subject of objectives in a recent post an airing I now found that I was restricted by them to the extent of being forced to plot a route that did not appeal as an overall walk.

The path through the woods was unpleasantly squelchy and I found myself irascible right from the start. I was following a poor description for the location of the cave from an Internet post and spent longer than I should have not having a mental picture of the cave's situation and appearance. When I did find it there was no mistaking the huge deep cleft which I circled on steep pathless terrain with almost vertical forty foot drops into the depths. I tried to get a decent photo but the cleft was filled with trees. I could not see a reasonable way into the foot of the ravine without descending steep wooded hillside. If I was intending to explore this cave I would suggest abseiling in from the top. There seems to have been limited exploration which is a pity. with some persistence there may be a larger interesting system here The most  I could find on the Internet was this report from 2011.

Fairies' Cave (Pool Bank Cave)
The entrance is the dark slot above the choke of mossy boulders. The sound of running water can be heard inside although none was visible emerging. In 1979 the cave was extended by the Cave Diving Group to a length of 37m but became too tight for further progress. This is a shame since there is a lot of limestone above and good potential for a significant cave system.

Approaching the edge of the very steep forty foot drop into the cleft

After circumventing the rim at some peril I was able to look into the location of the cave from on high,
it is further away and deeper down than it looks here. It was not possible to get a good representative photo, but perhaps that was down to my slightly bad mood.
Zoom to cave

After visiting the cave I carried on reversing part of my route from a few days ago including the steep rocky ascent of Bell Rake. I vowed not to include its rough descent on my return. The next level section on the open Whitbarrow land was the best part of the walk and my spirit was briefly lifted.

As I approached furthest south where Slape Crag was supposed to be according to another poor website description, I reckoned  I would have to climb steeply through dense boulder strewn trees which completely obscured a view otherwise. Then it started to rain. I gave the crag a miss. I carried on finding more swampy paths until eventually coming out onto the more pleasant Whitbarrow open terrain, but with no alternative but to connect with the main ridge path up to Lord's Seat where dozens of folk were passing in both directions imposing some Covid anxiety. I used to run here then descend to the path that goes back though the woods and today I couldn't find it and pressed on trying to find a way down  but that was blocked by a substantial wall and bit by bit I traversed on until, much to my annoyance, I  found myself again at the top of Bell Rake which I had vowed not to include on my return. The only relief was that the rain had stopped and I picked my way down that steep rocky descent and then splashed my way back to the car.

Oh for those warm summer days and ridge walking high up on dry close-cropped turf.

Ascending Bell Rake, much steeper than it looks here

The best part of the walk

I stopped for coffee and a sandwich looking at this pretty view of blue sky, limestone, and silver birch before the path became unpleasant

At last out of the swamps

The pins show location of Fairie's Cave and supposedly Slape Crag which I never saw. The horrid path was the second half of the north/south bit. Bell Rake is marked close to the cave if you enlarge. The blue line is part of my route from a few days ago. Ignore the other blue route at bottom left

Saturday, 21 November 2020

Off-roading in my garden

Saturday 21st. November 2020 

The Land Rover kit was finished a few days ago.  "Weathering" is intentional. That was a good excuse to cover my inadequacies. After all, this is a 1973ish model and however well looked after it may have been it would be showing its age now.

It's a shame the current situation prevents me from taking her for a spin.

I am now embarked on a WW2 De Haviland Mosquito. A macro photo of the cockpit detail I thought I had just finished is about five times as large as the actual model and the imperfections of my paintwork which looked immaculate on the actual model are revealed as woefully slapdash, so I'm not showing that before some touching up is done and a new photo taken. I did make a better job of the undercarriage. 

If you are enthralled with this subject click the first photo to see enlargement.

The wings and engine pods are in primer. The undercarriage is painted. The camera has produced a sort of pink cast here and there that is just some sort of shadow or reflection.

Saturday, 14 November 2020

Moral dilemma

 Saturday 14th November 2020

There has been much debate recently about badger culling. I am not sufficiently qualified to interpret all the conflicting information, but this practice has now come close to home and I am not sure what to do about it.

From time to time my daughter asks me to baby sit two recently acquired kittens. I have to say they are adorable and much fun in small doses, but they walk all over my keyboard as I try to type, I am constantly tripping up over them, and they run riot all over the house, up and down, and sideways, and upside down, investigating everything. I have just come back from my dining room where I have discovered that the kittens are no fence-sitters as far as badger culling is concerned. They have taken decisive action.

Katie update - Nov. '20

Saturday 14th November 2020

Have you ever opened your mouth and put your foot in it?

I haven't been able to see much of granddaughter Katie recently with repeated lockdowns and the like, but I get reports and although I avoid Facebook for my own use I do intercept some info. from family members.

Katie has just gone nine. Katie and Mum have a first floor flat in Arnside. A couple of days ago the landlord had to summon a plumber to trace water leaking down below. The fault was traced to Mum's kitchen tap. Whilst the plumber was fixing this Katie was outside playing but came back in and went to supervise the plumber. Having weighed up was was afoot Katie chatted to the plumber, "Oh! So it's that tap that Mummy put in, did she make a bad job of it?"

The plumber was fortunately sympathetic with Mum and promised to keep mum. 

Katie with Arnside railway viaduct in the background

Thursday, 12 November 2020

Whitbarrow north

Thursday 12th November 2020

Just photos for a quick six miler on the spur of the moment. I have explored much of the southern end of Whitbarrow but neglected this northern end. It is quieter and not so rewarding but this was a pleasant outing taking advantage of the only day of half acceptable weather in the long range forecast. Most of the photos just illustrate the kind of terrain and dwellings.

This huge millstone had the accompanying inscription seen to the right and in the photo below, I placed my walking poles on the stone to show the scale

"Township Plantation

The first part of the walk was through old birch and mixed woods. Now I came out onto the northern back end of Whitbarrow

Looking back northwards

Old mine working I think

Bell Rake. Steeper than it looks and rough going. And below a bit further down

And then I was onto quiet tarmac until the track contouring round the absolute end of Whitbarrow to arrive at Row and back down the main road to Dawson fold. It looks like the fruit and veg. stall there has packed up.

Lime Kiln

The shape of things to come. Electric charging point. This is in a quiet village location with virtually no passing traffic but it still looks a bit vulnerable

Sunday, 8 November 2020


 Saturday 7th November 2020 - Whitbarrow

There has been discussion recently amongst fellow bloggers about having an objective for a walk. I am all in favour of that but at the same time, for me, it must not override.  At the moment I am dodging back and forth making a very detailed plastic model of a Land Rover. Years ago I was a Land Rover enthusiast and every small detail on the model brings back pleasurable jolts of familiarity, or in the case of the rear cross- chassis member, the drama of it folding in half as I was pulled backwards out of a deep quagmire by another member of the club. Fortunately the club chairman had a garage/workshop devoted to Land Rover dismemberment and reconstruction - he was a wizard with the welding gear.  So the value for me is in the making; the final result is of much less consequence. I looked at Internet quotations on the subject and almost exclusively they major on having a goal and sticking to it come what may. I wonder where that leaves me?

My objective today was to visit the less frequented subsidiary 187m spot height on Whitbarrow. The recognised summit at Lord's Seat is one and a half miles away but the view from 187 is far superior.

Whitbarrow is the massive limestone escarpment one sees from the A590 on the way to Grange. The steep dramatic white limestone cliffs front a huge undulating plateau that stretches back north for a couple of miles with many footpaths, climbing crags and archetypal limestone scenery - this has been an all time favourite location for me for well over twenty years.

The steep zig-zag path through the trees from Milll Side is of course familiar to me but today I turned off by mistake on an earlier zig or zag before the one that leads more directly to the elevated start of the plateau. I had not been on this path before, and as it became narrower and less frequented I was intrigued. Large limestone cliffs on the right were impressive, then round the corner a climber was belaying his girl partner who was just topping out on a bolted route fifty feet up. I tried for some conversation but he was somewhat taciturn and all I gained was that this was a French grade 6b. 

I pressed on realising I was now traversing the foot of the most impressive part of the crag seen from the road and heading in the opposite direction from my 187 objective. The path became more exposed with steep limestone scree dropping away to my left and stunning views down into the Witherslack valley and the Lake District Hills beyond. There is something magic about the colour combination of clear blue sky and white limestone. The path climbed heading towards, but still below the edge of the plateau and I branched off and scrambled steeply upwards. An enchanting march followed, rising  across a vast area of pathless limestone wilderness dotted with spiky hawthorn, miniature yew trees, brambles, heather, bracken and gorse and struggling birch, pointers to the direction of the prevailing winds, and much more, interspersed with lush green turf and gleaming white stone. I was up onto the plateau proper where many walkers plodded the trodden trail running south north. I crossed their route and circled round, heading across pathless country stopping on a group of convenient limestone boulders to munch my pasty from  our local bakery along with coffee from my flask. And so after soaking up the pleasures of an unplanned diversion from my objective I arrived at 187 and recharged with one of my all time favourite views. This little round of less than four miles was a gem of unexpected exploration and I now have a new objective: to continue with that airy path from where I ascended to the plateau and find put where it leads. On the descent I met another walker and chatted and she mentioned something about a cave in the region of the crags on that newly discovered path, so yet another objective - I wonder where all this may lead?

Out of Mill side. The village notice board with faded messages of now unlikely social gatherings

The zig-zag path to the plateau branches off just round the corner

The first zig to the left I took on the diminishing path instead of carrying onto the next one leading directly to the plateau

Getting narrower and more exposed


From 187. The Leven estuary flowing into Morecambe Bay. Arnside Knott above and my home nestling somewhere below. Photo into the sun and haze belies the sunny day

Approximate wanderings. The rock climbers were around the "u" of the word Buckhouse. The path continued roughly along the line of the access land but I climbed back onto the plateau


The cross rear chassis member is the silver bit at the bottom. This is still work-in-progress and any imperfections are down to a new euphemism "weathering"

Message for Martha in Pennsylvania, USA:

Delighted beyond words to know that your vote was not cast in vain. Let's all breath a little more easily now.

Wednesday, 4 November 2020

Three trigs I have not visited, or there's always a way.

 Wednesday 4th November 2020.

Why am I typing this at home at 2:15 pm when I had arranged with BC to  tick off three more of my trigs on OS sheet 103, and to meet him at Hoddleston at 9:00 am?

I arose in good time and breakfasted and went out to find there had been heavy frost so I started up the car and left it to defrost. After a suitable interval, and now running late, and in a bit of a flurry off I rushed. I arrived at Hoddleston with ten minutes to spare parking on the pub car park, so I decided on a swig of coffee. I went to start up to manoeuvre the car into a more sensible parking position and saw a warning message not previously seen "No key recognised."

My key was back at home. Because my engine was running from the defrosting operation I was a able to drive straight off without the key which I had left in the house.

BC arrived to hear the news. I phoned Greenflag. I landed what sounded like a young girl who incidentally was coughing all the time. As requested I gave my post code but she couldn't trace me from that despite checking it again. She then asked me for my membership number. I had to give that three times before she had it correct and found my records. I had to explain three times what had happened, and even after the third time she said "so your key doesn't work?" "No!" I said "I haven't got my key" All that took twenty minutes. She had eventually understood there was no point in sending a van.  A vehicle transporter would be needed to get me back home. After half an hour McAdams arrived with a van. The guy scratched his head and rang base and then told me it would be over three hours before they could get a transporter to me which he promised to organise, and off he went. I phoned Greenflag back and got a chap who was obviously more experienced and happily, was not coughing. He promised to sort things, rang off and then rang me back and eventually at about 11:15 McAdams arrived with a car transporter. The job was difficult because the front wheels were on lock with the steering lock. Large wedges were hammered in under the front tyres and the car winched forward onto the ramp sliding on the wedges acting like shoes, but the surface was cobbled and the wedges came out, the whole process having to be repeated three times.

I sat in the back compartment of the cab with a large polythene sheet cutting off communication with the driver and so I arrived back home with the car on a transporter much to the bemusement of my neighbours. So here I sit eating my sandwiches and looking out at the best weather we have had for ages. 


NB - BC rang me last night to suggest this walk and I was not sure about travelling etc. vis a vis the Covid rules. I came off the phone and checked very carefully and concluded I would not be breaking any of the rules, and only then phoned BC back to say ok. 

Goodness knows now when I will be able to visit any more of those trigs.


Thanks BC for staying around and keeping me company and apologies for trashing what should have been a welcome final day before the next lockdown is official.