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, 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.


  1. The cave might be the old adit at Bell Rake on Whitbarrow

  2. Buryman - Welcome to my blog. New commenters are much appreciated. Thanks for the link. Along with many articles placed on the Internet no date is attached which can make it difficult to place things in context. The photos are in black and white which may suggest it is from some time ago - despite the b and w he refers to someone in a yellow jacket. I have walked past the stream emergence at Beck Head many times and wondered at the possibility of a system behind there and some light is thrown on that, but if the article is old it may be that more modern activity has taken place since?.

    The person I spoke to seemed to indicate the cave she meant was closer to the climbing area I passed near Buckhouse Wood marked on the map. Fairies Cave near Bell Rake that you mention is much further away.

  3. Excellent outing. You need to get away from the model glue sniffing.
    I think the crag you reached is Millhead Scar. All climbers above 6a are taciturn.
    I've just spotted another crag Slape Scar under Lord's Seat.
    Bonne exploration !

  4. BC - Thanks for the link. I have now noticed other paths at the north end of Whitbarrow that I may explore. I didn't notice a grid reference for the crag and the instructions were not very precise but I may try and incorporate an inspection. It sounds like a good crag with a varied selection of grades so no need to be a double jointed Olympic gymnast.

  5. What a delightful walk. Always invigorating to find new paths to explore. As for the model making, I totally understand your feeling that the ‘doing’ is the most satisfying part of the process. Years ago I was a member of a long-running art class. Every new term brought new students to the class and the teacher would ask them what they hoped to achieve. Those that had a specific aim (such as’ I want to paint a picture to hang in the living room) rarely lasted more than a few weeks. Those that said they simply wanted to learn to paint were the ones more likely to continue. I always enjoyed the process of painting more than the finished result, and usually with good reason!

  6. Ruth - I wonder if there is a difference between a project like my model that is I suppose a diversion from the angst of present day life and something like my Land's End Jon o' Groats walk and your Round Britain. I certainly had a goal to aim for "come what may" and would have been disappointed if I had not achieved it, but looking back the content is what I value rather than the achievement.

  7. Hi Conrad. My model-building isn’t a diversion from anything. I enjoy the process, but I’m also building models of space vehicles which did something quite exceptional. Of course the models themselves are an important aspect of my interest in space exploration and the Apollo programme in particular and I often find myself online checking out schematics or photographs if I suspect some detail of the model is wrong, which is nearly always the case. On the hillwalking front, I’m less bothered about objectives than interesting diversions along the way, but I definitely don’t like ending a wslk at some arbitrary point then turning back.

  8. I’m tempted to get those half made racing car models out of the wardrobe, but I think the glue may be a bit solid!
    We used to go up Whitbarrow regularly on a mid-summer evening walk from Manchester. One of our favourites.

  9. afoot - When I said "diversion" I meant a pleasurable diversion of course. With anything like this including my Photoshop painting the subject has to grab me and have some personal resonance. I would, for instance, have no enthusiasm for making a model of a Ford Corvette, that is just a car that has no particular appeal for me, but my Land Rover is very personal - I owned one of the same year and colour and have all kinds of memories and an affection for the whole Land Rover concept.

    Phreerunner - As I said before somewhere I think you are far too young and sprightly to be settling down to sedentary pursuits. Just keep the outdoor posts coming. Not that I am moving towards some kind of withdrawal from outdoor activity but circumstances have hampered me a little of late.

  10. Sir Hugh - yes, I assumed you meant 'pleasurable' and sort of guessed that your model had some kind of special meaning since you said on a previous post that you'd owned one. My Lunar Module model is proving frustrating because I decided to paint the ascent stage before glueing - something I usually only do with small parts. Anyway, I wasn't happy with the joins so had to fill and sand and repaint which didn't really given the finish I was looking for. I can't even claim that it's 'weathering'! Mind you, I find it hard to get a good finish with a paintbrush when using metallic silver acrylic.I considered using Revell paint remover and starting again but rejected the idea. We've been out on the hills a fair bit recently in all weathers, so I must get a post or two up and some photos on Flickr which Ive neglected.

  11. On the subject of objectives and motivation, I was listening to an endurance sports podcast yesterday on which a sports psychologist was saying that he's witnessing two reactions to the current lack of races. There's one set of people, generally those who are newer to their sport, who only took up the activity because they wanted to do a specific race and they thrive on receiving medals and posting their achievements on social media. Those are the people, he said, who have generally struggled to find any motivation to continue in the absence races. The other type of person has being doing their sport for much longer and got into it for the fun/satisfaction of the activity itself, with races being an optional extra. Those people have generally not had a problem with the lack of races but will happily go out and exercise just for the fun of it. I've already exceeded my previous highest annual running mileage, so I think I can safely say I fall into the latter category!

    Now for a bit of a tangent: the funny things that I remember in relation to particular hills. As I read 'Whitbarrow' and 'Lord's Seat', my first thought was 'ate a can of mackerel on the summit, but without any crackers'.

  12. Gayle - Are crackers mandatory with mackerel? Count me in to the "latter category."