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, 28 February 2021

Leighton Beck

Saturday 27th February 2021 - Leighton Beck

A few days ago I had a six and a half mile walk from home including the unsurfaced lane between Hazelslack and the Slackhead road. Halfway along a footpath leads off south-east crossing Leighton Beck and emerging at Leighton Beck Bridge where the Slackhead Road meets the road back to Arnside. This is another footpath that has missed my attention over the last twenty years, and that provided a target for today.

It seems peevish to complain but Lockdown is imposing just local walking on me and even though we live in a fabulously attractive AONB it is now so familiar that, dare I say, it is becoming tedious. Part of the problem is having to set off and return by only three different routes every time. I am longing for the chance to tread new ground again and look round some previously unvisited corners.

Today I made a conscious effort to scrutinise and see if I could spot things I had not noticed over all these years.

The first thing I realised was that my target,  Leighton Beck,  actually flows under the road only a few hundred yards from my home on its way to discharging into our offshoot of Morecambe Bay. This beck is not easy to follow even on the 1:25 map. 

My target footpath took me across pleasant sheep grazed pasture to cross the beck by a rickety foot bridge. The water was flowing merrily and crystal clear contrasting with its more sluggish progress at that point near my home.

I pressed on and found other new paths eventually leading to Gait Barrow Nature Reserve with its splendid limestone pavement. The whole of this walk was through iconic limestone country and despite my moaning above it really is my favourite geographical scenery.

Not all that spectacular but a gnarly old tree across the field from the road that I had not previously noted. Whatever I try I can't remove this underlining (including "clear formatting")

A small static caravan site near Hazelslack which had  blossomed since I last came by

I think this small tarn is just a flooded bit of field which has now become more or less permanent

The start of the lane from where my target path branches.

Crossing Leighton Beck and...

...looking up stream

Leighton Beck Bridge. I must have driven past here thousands of time over the last twenty years, but I crossed the road onto pleasant paths toward Gait Barrow.

This and below. Archetypal limestone scenery

Limestone pavement at Gait Barrow

County Boundary sign that some wit has added the little sticker saying "Pride of Lancashire." The boundary is at Creep-'I-th'-Call Bridge. I did once Google that name but I don't think anybody is absolutely sure of its derivation

Looking from the above mentioned bridge, and yes it is Leighton Beck again

Clockwise. If you want to know more about the rivetingly interesting Leighton Beck look at the 1:25 map. Even there it is difficult to trace


Just a snippet (headline only) from The Guardian the other day in case you missed this important bit of news. I do enjoy as bit of quirky American language. 

‘Something bit my butt’: Alaska woman using outhouse attacked by bear

Tuesday, 16 February 2021

Whiling away Lockdown

 16th February 2021

Big brother RR has from time to time suggested that there will come a time when my passion for walking may be more restricted and then even not possible. RR then ponders on what I may fall back on.

I am slightly concerned about my title and would hate to think that I was wasting my time, but I really don't think so. 

Fortunately I have no problem with keeping my own company. I do have friends and we communicate in various ways and I have this blog, but sadly, it seems with a diminishing number of comments.  I read, but not as much as I would wish partly because I am a slow reader and it takes a long time to get through an average three hundred-plus page book. I rarely find myself with nothing to do and feel  confident I can keep myself occupied. Perish the thought of sitting in a circle happy clapping and singing It's a Long Way to Tipperary.

During our various restrictions I have taken again to modelling. In my youth it mainly involved building and flying model aeroplanes with a smattering of scale model building.

I have now discovered plastic kits. With modern day high quality injection moulding the parts have become unbelievably detailed and adhesives have improved. The aim is to create something as realistic as possible put together in a clinical fashion without smearing glue and paint in in the wrong places.

There are masses of instructional videos on You Tube going into great detail concentrating often on small specialised areas. If I paint on Photoshop or make these models the subject has to be something I have a feeling for or affinity with. I do not wish to glorify war, but what was achieved in a short space of time in engineering, mass production, innovation, combined with a country more unified towards the general good, more so than ever before or since is something of value to be appreciated and stacked against the apalling cost. As one who lived through the back end of all that I find it something to wonder at. My modelling so far has majored on that era. Looking at some of the aircraft in so much detail the imagination and emotions are stirred.

In one of the videos I watched, the presenter guy said that the first five models you make will be rubbish so don't waste money on expensive kits - he was right. I have now progressed to some extent and feel I have arrived at a stage where I can produce something acceptable, but there is always more to learn and my strive for perfection continues.

If any of this is of any interest  follow the link below to see what can be achieved in detailed kit production and meticulous modelling. You may then understand a little more what I am aspiring to.

Mustang P-51B - 1/12 scale

Sea Harrier - 1/48 scale

When I first saw this in context I was impressed by the tiny pilot with the huge bulk of the engine in comparison behind him. The whole aircraft for a single seater seems massive. It must be an awe inspiring feeling to be piloting this and difficult for me, at least, to comprehend that humans have aspired to such a creation and then to the skill of flying the thing.

Saturday, 13 February 2021

Grubbins Wood 2

Friday 12th February 2021 - Grubbins Wood 

After twenty years living in Arnside and thinking I had walked every footpath, a few days ago I discovered a new extensive network of paths within ten minutes from home.

The start leads off just opposite my local convenience store in Silverdale Road where Redhills Road emerges. It runs downhill parallel with Silverdale Road behind the houses then splits with several options, all of which eventually take one down to the shoreline of our bay. On the first day of discovery I continued on the shore nearly to New Barns but then noticed a gateway into woods on the left. An information board informed me of Grubbins Wood nature reserve. The exploration here was then reserved for today.

As I had walked along the shoreline the nature reserve is on high up steep wooded shoreline which I had never explored. The reason was apparent from the information board. The wood extends back towards Arnside but there is no way out at the end. I had rebelliously thought I may be able to find a way but the furthest point ended up backing onto private house gardens so I returned along the higher path which gave  views across the bay through the trees and a therefore a more interesting way than the outward lower path. This is old mixed woodland and in spring and summer it would be more attractive than its skeletal appearance today. I did hear an industrious woodpecker tapping away but despite  trying I couldn't track it down.

I carried on and returned by other familiar routes having done about four miles of Lockdown walking. It was good to have something new to see so close to home, but I have to say that the embargo on exploring new ground further afield is getting to me quite seriously. I am keeping some sanity by rekindling my latent enjoyment of model making. 

Part of the newly discovered path network.

A bit further on I am looking down to Ashmeadow, and old substantial Victorian house that served as a private school until sometime in the 60s I think. Our railway viaduct can be seen across the bay, top right.

Memorial to the fallen ex-pupils of the school in both World Wars

Grubbins Wood nature reserve is high above on the left. New Barns, where one enters, is in the inlet before the spit of land in the centre. I think the photo conveys how sharply cold it was despite the bright blue skies

On the lower outward path in Grubbins Wood

The network of paths between the start at the end of Redhills Road and down to the shoreline is not shown in proper detail even on the 1:25 map, nor are the paths accurately shown in the wood. Ignore the orange route - it is just another of many plotted possibilities on my Memory Map.



Two more irritating phrases:

cocktail of drugs

that works for me


The most riveting piece of news in The Guardian for a long time:

Conch shell/ shell in French museum found to be 17,000 year old musical wind instrument 

Monday, 8 February 2021

Lockdown blues 2

Lockdown blues 2.

Back to my Sea Harrier.

Seating the pilot in his seat.

That seems a long time ago.

Two explorers waiting for take off.

He has watched with patience through all the engagements

And seen pleasure and frustration as well.

At last departure seemed nearer,

But fifty or so decals loom.

Many carry warnings: Ejector Seat, Danger, Keep clear.

Take-off  delayed, perhaps even cancelled.

Then RAF roundels speak of British grit.

But one gets damaged. A replacement arrives,

And yet another arrives to balance the formation.

Prolonging the progress to open skies.

The runway looks longer as we enter decal phase,

Would that the fifty were miles instead.

Derring-do for my pilot and new terrain for me,

Sights to discover, chance meetings, adventure,

And what’s round the next bend, and dare I hope,

A Hen Harrier in nature showing my Harrier cleverer tricks?

Ready for off.
 July 2014 when I walked from home for The Viking Way.

Thursday, 4 February 2021

Lockdown blues

Painting the outrigger of my RN Sea Harrier

(Five different colours in half an inch.)

The sea. Memories sparked. Sublime Welsh Coast,

But Lockdown Surge Testing intercepts

With that suggestion of the surging sea.

Stop the rot!

Tiny unwanted crevice between minute parts,

Decision: I’ll leave it hoping for fill with paint.

Later, delay has failed. Crevice expanded.

Difficult Surge Filler now applies.

Face the truth! Aeroplane modelling:

A delusional therapy.

The Harrier, proud and bellicose

Combats only my longing for escape.

My dreams: Earth's cracks and crevices,

The Pembrokeshire coast, the colours in Cornwall

That painters praise, and that roar of the sea, Not the C,

Outclassing the unwanted Harrier roar above.

Work in progress

Just a bit of Welsh coast

Wednesday, 3 February 2021

Place names

I am not sure I can explain why I have concocted the list of place names below. They are taken from the four separate stages of my walk from Berwick upon Tweed to Castle Cary, The Angles Way, and The Severn Way. Some of the names are just quirky. Some seem to please the tongue and perhaps, at the same time, associating  with something deep in the mind.  Others are there because I derived more than average pleasure when I passed through. There is no particular order -  odd ones became misplaced during my haphazard research. There are obscure villages in amongst  of which I have no picture in my mind, but still I just like the sound. Our English tongue is derived from many other languages and these names are evidence, but in no way has the list been compiled to demonstrate that. I know I have a number of readers from overseas and maybe they will be entertained?

If you scan our Ordnance Survey maps you will find many names much more  peculiar and in some cases, I suppose unintentionally, amusingly vulgar; this list has not attempted to encompass them.  These are my  names which one way or another have an attraction for me. I may now trawl others of my long walks.

My two favourites for which I give no explanation are Shepherd's Patch and Framilode.