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


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


  1. Well done Sir.

    I think I would have sat down and sobbed upon realising my navigational cock up.

    The rucksack strap and the bridge: I've had exactly the same thing happen to me! It was a few years back now on a little local stroll when I moved back down to Bracknell, but it was infuriating as I'd just spent what seemed like a small fortune on my beautiful little daypack!

    Chapeau, Sir!

  2. That looks a lovely area - pre rain and buckle debacle.
    Were you able to retrieve the buckle piece from under the bench to replace at some later time?
    I seem to remember it happening to one of my pole tips which involved heavy engineering to extract.

  3. Alan Sloman - I also had a similar experience on the Cumbria Coastal Path with a cast iron bench. I spent ages and succeeded in the end but the loss of time caused me to miss the train I wanted to get back home. As for sitting down and "blubbing" I suppose it could come to that but the thing with walking is that there is no alternative but to keep on going until you get there unless you are sufficiently debilitated to have to call the boys out.

    BC - Yes, this would have been a really first class walk without the mishaps. I may even go and do it again. The second half is not as good as the first, especially with the two kilometre road finish. As for the buckle - it was where the bridge planks were resting on solid ground after spanning the water and inaccessible from underneath and in any case the weather conditions were not conducive to faffing any more. Today I plan to devise some way of mending the rucksack. I have a bag full of straps and buckles and something will be concoted. I may even use a rivet device that I have had for ages and never used - yipee!

  4. I'd put that down to a success then.

  5. BC - Yes. The Lake District is still tops if you go for the less frequented edges. It really was excellent walking, even the silly bit.

  6. As you and others said, that sounds a good walk:
    driving down the road to the lake head, that side looks forbiddingly rough - almost repellent - but the broad ridges above, running up from the north-east, look very inviting - there must be fine views east over to the Pennines as well as to the Mardale riggs and dales: the day previously, those hills were wreathed in mist and cloud, which, for a time, highlighted the deep bold clefts of the High Street 'massif', which one tends to forget when faced with the familiar profile of the long whaleback of the main ridge.
    Nice one.
    Sounds worth another mass.

  7. gimmer - I have looked at the map again and favour the idea of returning from the footbridge via the lake shore - I camped there during my Coast to Coast in April 1990, but heading west. That will still entail road walking at the end but having a bit of new territory to explore will motivate me to have a go.

    As for another mass, assuming the omission of a capital letter was just a typo, I don't know any priests who may accompany me to carry that out even if I desired it, which is certainly not the case.

  8. I got as far as your adventure on the bridge and decided that I needed to read this post to Mick, having no idea at the time that wasn't the last of your adventures. Both Mick and I have experienced the 'buckle between slats' thing, but fortunately in our case only on benches where we were able to get underneath to free it.

    On the plus side for the rest of your adventure, you had a memorable walk, and proved that your fitness, endurance and recovery are all still good, even after lockdown, so lots of positives if you look at it in a 'glass half full' sort of way.

    Incidentally, the bit of route between High Kop and Low Kop, and the intended bit of route between Low Kop and *the* bridge featured on my trot between Pooley Bridge and Troutbeck last month - something I hope to be repeating next week (note: I'll avoid putting anything down on that, or any other, slatted bridge!).


    And we all know that you love to Create An Epic, so this trip can be chalked up as a resounding success!

  10. I am heartened to hear that I'm not the only one to suffer Buckle Drama, but sympathise with fellow afflictees. In response to your query on my Hoddleston trigs post regarding my conviction, because you asked, here is my lengthy answer.

    Circa 1959/60 I was a representative for North Central Ltd, a subsidiary finance company of National Westminster Bank. We arranged car finance for the clients of motor dealers and my job was mainly to develop relationships with the motor dealers to encourage them to recommend their customers to us rather than our many competitors (most of the banks in those days had a similar subsidiary finance company.) Another part of my job was to knock on doors to collect arrears of repayments and in some cases repossess the vehicle. On one such occasion I repossessed and under the instructions of my manager returned the car to the original motor dealer who had signed a "repurchase" agreement committing him to taking back the vehicle and paying us out. The dealer's forecourt was crammed and he was not helpful so I left the car marginally up on the kerb outside his premises and sometime later I was informed of my conviction for "obstructing a public footpath" by the police. My manager would have nothing to do with it and I had to pay the fine and suffer myself- something that has rankled with me now for more than 60 years. I have many other anecdotes from that colourful period of my life.

  11. Phreerunner - I'll keep trying.

  12. I'm sure you will, and I'll enjoy following your epic adventures.

  13. What you need is an updated version of a punkah wallah. Instead of waving a fan to cool your fevered brow he would follow you on your walks - a respectful 10 m behind - furled umbrella discreetly down his trouser leg. On those occasions when the rain interfered with your wishes he would unfurl his umbrella and keep you dry while you sought ways and means to maintain dryness as a permanent state. No need to depend on waterproofs, you would have time to put on a full-scale wet suit. Or solve half a dozen chess problems, the PW having carried the board and the carved ivory chessmen. Or plan a letter to the local newspaper in support of your campaign to discourage farmers from using lengths of hairy rope to secure gates.

    Pay him by BACS transfer and you wouldn't even have to bear the weight of carrying a cheque book.

    Your life would be enriched.

  14. RR - Not a bad idea, but I guess he would have some irritating idiosyncrasy: perhaps constantly humming the tune of Seventy Six Trombones, or even worse, whistling it.