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, 29 May 2021

Yellow Fever and a lifeboat to the rescue

The Yellow Latch Campaign (YLC) seems to be gathering pace: extract from Postcard from Timperley blog.   CLICK HERE for full post.

Note, below, the yellow latch on a kissing gate. Under the initiative of Michael Gove, supervised by Dominic Cummings, the Tory government would appear to have required each Local Authority to appoint a 'latchperson' to paint all gate and stile latches yellow so that their voters, now released into the UK countryside instead of being allowed to stumble around the crowded beaches of Spain, can find their way from yellow latch to yellow latch across the countryside of their homeland where they've never previously set foot ...

I wonder if yellow latches discriminate against people who are colour-blind? Oh! and perhaps against Chinese? I think there should be an official enquiry launched, but that wouldn't start for eighteen months. The appointed judge leading it would then resign after six months. A new judge ( a cleric) then being appointed, the enquiry would report three years later with twenty-five recommendations for the Government, none of which would be implemented. During that period another one hundred official enquiries would have been set in motion, but none for such an important purpose as this one. It may even be that by the time the enquiry has reported, perhaps after the second judge ended up on the Sex Offenders List the yellow paint will have faded into obscurity with reports of vacant fields and many bewildered country ramblers switching to holidays in Benidorme.




Early morning shout for 17-26 Mallaig Severn class.
 Note the lights upstairs and downstairs - a modeller's triumph.

Wednesday, 26 May 2021

Bampton Grange, Haweswater again

Tuesday 25th May 2021 -  Bampton Grange -Bampton Common - Haweswater

After my debacle (debuckle?) a couple of days ago I had a strong feeling of unfinished business. When I plotted the original route I was pretty certain it was going to be a classic quality walk. Although it was a fine walk in its own right my pride had been dented  by my unplanned wanderings and I wanted to do something to retain a better memory of what I had hoped this would be.

I saw that I could continue from Buckle Bridge down to Haweswater and return to Bampton Grange, and apart from a bit of cul-de-sac tarmac out of Bampton the rest of the walk would be on footpaths.

The chance of a late finish was obviated by an earlier walking start at 9:30 am.

Sparse rain started within a few yards and opposite Bampton Grange church I donned a waterproof.  I also needed gloves - crazy for mid-May. I have a  light pair of gloves with touch screen finger tips which work pretty well.

I was looking for some variation from my previous visit and noticed a little tarn marked Littlewater on the map but the track from the road displayed a Private, no public right of way, farm only notice. I pressed on. Ahead as I crossed the sheep pastures and climbed the almost welcoming soundly constructed stiles with their massive flat slate through stones for steps, an enticing little hill with a pointed rocky summit was constantly in view. As I left cultivation and entered the access land I diverted to take in the little summit (spot height 342m.) That proved to give me a bonus with a view to the aforementioned Littlewater - pity, it did look an attractive venue nestling in its surroundings.

My previous route took me down to my nemesis bridge, but here I turned south-east and descended to the shores of Haweswater. This path drops about 300ft. in a third of a mile providing exciting glimpses of waterfalls and rushing water deep in the wooded ravine below: see video which shows the terrain I have descended to the bridge and then the start of the rushing beck before it drops more steeply. - see video :

The return along the shore of Haweswater to Burnbanks was on a good track and provided nostalgia from my Coast to Coast trek in the other direction back in 1990. I seem to remember the path being more basic and closer to the shoreline, but perhaps that was further up the water in the other direction?

Burnbanks provided a welcome bench cut from a tree trunk for my snacks and flask of coffee. Burnbank is now a pretty kind of model village with architect designed bungalows arising from the housing that was provided for the workers, now demolished, during the 1930s when the massive six year Haweswater construction programme was underway. The water flows for about seventy-five miles by gravity alone to supply Manchester with its drinking water.

A sneaky little path runs from there through bluebell woods to Naddle bridge. Classic country walking follows on paths taking me back to Bampton Grange after an enjoyable walk with a mix including  an iconic Lakeland village, sheep cropped turf, Lakeland fells, waterfalls, and attractive country walking. A classic little nine-miler in my opinion, and something thankfully resurrected from my previous mini-epic.


Bampton Grange church - here , only fifty yards from the car I donned my waterproof - no removed until after "The Bridge."

Littlewater. the track to it from the Bampton road was private, but from spot height 342m I got this view

Haweswater and the standing stones (again)

Turning left at the bridge - the beck on its way to Haweswater

Looking up towards Mardale Head...

... and the other way towards the dam

A look at one of the waterfalls - much is hidden by the trees

The first house on entering Burnbanks

My lunch spot. The path to Naddle Bridge goes off the road at right hand edge

This was a zoom from about thirty yards down into the river - this impressive bunch was on an isolated clump of grass with water flowing past on all sides - it was intense in colour and shouting out to be seen

Today's route in pink showing slight diversion from my previous routes and then the return by the lake

This photo included retrospectively for Gimmer - see comments below

Tuesday, 18 May 2021

An important forty minutes

 Monday 17th May 2021 - Bampton common (plus)

General Patton, The Six Ps: "Perfect Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance" - that wansn’t me today. On arising I had no intention of going for a walk then made an impulsive decision at 10:00am to go for this one I had plotted earlier. I knew it was realistically too late for more than an hour's drive and a longish walk to get back home in time for a bath, meal and a comfortable evening.

Showers were forecast but the sun was shining. I set off from Bampton Grange at 11:20 - too late. A footpath  had me at the old Wesleyan chapel, and an iconic Lake District bridge over Haweswater beck. More footpaths climbed steadily with newly erected signposts at sensible positions and excellent stone stiles with huge slate through stones for the steps, apparently also recently constructed. At the top of the pass a circular shelter marked as "Cairn" on the map,  and  an enchanting little tarn, a pair of standing stones, and a view of the bottom end of Haweswater far down below provided interest and character with the ambience of a typical spring day. A good track descended gently to the footbridge marked on the 1:25 map. All was going well.

I had a fixed concept in my head of a steep climb out and I could see that straight ahead. I crossed the bridge as it started to spit with rain. I stopped to don my waterproof. The rain came heavier as I raced to get the waterproof from my rucksack before getting soaked. Mission accomplished, but there was resistance to picking up my rucksack The plastic buckle had lodged between the wooden sleepers of the bridge and  because, now suspended, it opened out at one hundred and eighty degrees to the strap like one of those  fixings for plasterboard. The rain was coming heavier. I fiddled to no avail. I found a stick to poke but it broke - the rain was heavier. I would need to search again for a better tool. To work properly, because I can't kneel, I would need to lie flat on the wet planking. There was no easy way it was coming out. The top pocket of my rucksack - Swiss Army Knife - strap cut, and off I went up my steep ascent now relieved to be moving again. 

That was the hardest climb I've done for a long time and it went well but seemed to be taking too long. I had not consulted GPS/Memory Map on my phone since before the bridge and had been going for  forty minutes. As the path became easier I stopped - it was still raining. I consulted my GPS and found I was on the wrong path. I concluded that back-tracking was not an option, the solution being to yomp across pathless terrain crossing several steep valleys to get back on track. After ten minutes I stopped to re-navigate and found the rain was working like my finger on the screen activating the map continually increasing and decreasing the image making it difficult to navigate. Then the phone battery expired, I told myself to get a grip - things were getting serious. A further faff ensued getting the phone's waterproof cover from my sack along with my reserve battery pack desperately trying to protect everything from the rain. I carried on more methodically and although I knew it was going to be a tough haul to get back on track I seemed now to have more energy. The camera was stowed in the rucksack so no more photos taken.

Re-grouped I pressed on over much hard going of ups and downs. It seemed to take forever to get back to my original route to start the long descent on a wide track. Although I had made that mistake I had some satisfaction in knowing that I had been able to sort it and extricate myself from a tricky situation. Not far from the road the track forked. There was a wooden sign and I defy anybody to be certain about which fork its vital information was indicating: "Alternative path to avoid deep ford'" I tossed a coin and unknowingly chose the wrong path. Quarter of a mile further on I waded through, boots and all, water up to my knees and then another hundred yards and I was out onto tarmac. The last Liverpool game was won by the goalie scoring the winner, "The best goal I have ever scored" he said - Klopp said it was the best goal he had ever seen by a goalie. Well, the last two kilometres back to Bampton Grange were my longest two kilometres. 

The church clock struck seven as I walked into Bampton Grange - I had taken just short of eight hours to walk about ten miles.

When I tried to get out of the car back home at turned eight pm I could hardly move through stiffness in legs and knees.

This morning as I write, I am pleased to say I am more or less back to normal.

Crossing the River Lowther out of Bampton Grange

Old Wesleyean chapel - red sandstone evident

Scenic bridge crossing  Haweswater Beck

Looking back to Bampton Grange

Well marked path on good going and below, excellent stiles


Zoom to large rock seen on skyline - there is even a little bird sat on top

Stone circle ("Cairn" on the map) and nearby...

...this little tarn, and thirty yards away...

...these standing stones (and Haweswater)

The bridge and my, much steeper than It looks, erroneous ascent

Rucksack strap stuck. Swiss Army to the rescue

Red is intended route. Blue the addition

Thursday, 13 May 2021

Trigs OS 103 from Hoddlesden

Tuesday 11th May 2021  

Rushton Heights  324m   715 209

Hog Low Pike     383m.  747 214

Rushy Hill            377m    735 236

The last (planned) walk before Lockdown with BC targeted three trig points starting from Hoddlesden. I had left my car keys in the house after earlier going out to start up leaving the engine running to de-frost. Arriving at Hoddlsden the car could not be re-started without those keys and I ended up returning home on the back of a Green Flag low-loader.

Today normal service was resumed.

My plan for arriving twenty minutes early and having a swift coffee from my mini-flask before BC arrived was slightly thwarted finding him already there and well into his own coffee.

In my last post I commented on my impressions of this area. Hoddlesden itself is an iconic Lancashire mill town with old buildings well cared for and renovated and a delight to wander round. The surrounding moorland is wild and attractive but farming has neglected much of the upkeep. with broken walls, unsightly rubbish tips, paths laid with  broken bricks, masonry and waste hardcore.Access can be a problem and it is not unusual to find footpaths fenced off with barbed wire or locked gates.  For the first hour after leaving the pleasant atmosphere of Hoddlesden we experienced much of what I describe above. But two or three kilometres after the first trig at Rushton's Height the scenery became more attractive. 

We climbed to the second trig where a party of three were just leaving. We descended through a strange area of woodland with twisted well spaced trees promoting a kind of magical feeling - I half expected to meet a Jabberwocky. We found a good wall to sit on at a mysteriously ruined building in the midst of those trees and we lunched in comfort and warm sunshine. Descending to Calf Hey Reservoir we picked up the Rossendale Way, then we had a prolonged period of cold heavy rain but thankful that we had taken our break before the onset. A good climb out and the crossing of the busy B632 Grain Road followed. A short climb and more challenging barbed wire took us to our third trig, then descent and final footpaths to enter Hoddlseden again by the backdoor.

That was a good day in good company and such a pleasure to be out and exploring new territory again. 

Rushton's Heights - a photographer's face off

Zoom to Darwen Tower 7km. away

Typical of much of the day's walking

Probably not rare but looks to have some age

Looking back at our route which had traversed that moorland

BC approaching Hog Low Pike

Hog Low Pike and BC

"The Jabberwock, with eyes of flame,
Came whiffling through the tulgey wood,
And burbled as it came!"

We sat on the foreground wall for our sandwich break in warm sunshine. Twenty minutes later we had rain

One of the two dogs was like a large pit-bull. -I was wary, but there was no problem - the dogs were too busy having a good time in the stream

Rushy Hill. Windmill protest now seems a thing of the past but they proliferate still. At least when we double-split the atom or whatever source of infinite energy is found we could taske them all down which is not the case for nuclear power stations.

Wednesday, 12 May 2021

Trigs OS 103 from Cowbridge Reservoir and near Accrington

Monday 10th May 2021

From  Cowbridge Reservoir 

Hameldon Hill     SD 810 287 -  399m

Great Hameldon  SD 794 289 -  409m

From Accrington Cemetry

Peel Park              SD 772 293 -  297m

Resumption after Lockdown of this campaign to visit all trig points on OS sheet 103 - Blackburn/Burnley - 1:50

The car park at Cowbridge Reservoir was closed but I managed to squeeze in near the locked barrier.

Hameldon Hill trig was enclosed by barbed wire fencing requiring a circuitous route to climb a gate then wandering back and forth to find an alternative exit, only resulting in a return to the outward route (see map below.)

I found a Geocache under the trig - last visit was back in 2019.

I have visited this region on previous occasions and always find it a bit second rate: access problems, broken down walls, more than average litter, fly tipped rubbish and tracks and paths made from broken up hardcore. Having said that it is till a pleasant moorland environment with sweeping views and a wild and remote atmosphere.

Straightforward tracks lead on to Great Hambeldon with intermittent hail and thunderstorms.

After descent to Love Clough I tried to follow footpaths back, but characteristic of this area after blocked paths and some mis-navigation I bailed out onto the main road to get back to the car.

A drive to  Accrington Cemetry and a quick climb on established track had me at Peel Park trig. A monument nearby celebrates the gift of the land to the community by William Peel in 1909.

Squeezed in at Cowbridge Reservoir

On the way to Hameldon Hill

Typical of the sort of sad broken down atmosphere of this region

Looking back to Cowbridge Reservoir

This passed me at a point where the banking behind my shoulder was even steeper and I stood with my back pressed back with the monster passing by within just a few inches, 'twas a bit scary

Hameldon Hill trig

Zoom to Pendle Hill

Looking back to the masts on Hameldon Hill from Great Hameldon

My wanderings on Hameldon Hill to get in and out of barbed wire fencing


Peel Park trig, and below, monument


KATIE (Granddaughter) update

Katie at 8 years continues with her artistic leanings.