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, 26 July 2021

Bond, a Javelin, an Enquiry, and a Tree

 Monday 26th July 2021

I recently decided to re-read some James Bond. I read them all as they were published from 1955 onwards. I decided to start at the beginning with Casino Royale

My memory, probably now coloured by the more extravagant films, was of a swashbuckling hard man with many technical and physical attributes enabling him to fight and escape and generally to be the consummate action man and successful lover.

The first shock came when I read “Bond lit his seventieth cigarette of the day…” Many characters smoke which is used to portray an image of macho-sophistication.

In this book Bond is a loser.

Bond looses to Le Chiffre at Baccarat and is only rescued from  disaster when the American secret service bung him a huge amount of money to continue.

Bond's beloved vintage Bentley is wrecked in a car chase where Bond is the loser and is captured.and   tortured. He is only rescued by outside agencies rather than using his own skills. He has to spend several weeks in hospital recuperating from serious injury.

Bond's attitude to women was unacceptable for me, and especially in the context of more enlightened attitudes today. In the first part Bond talks of women lasciviously and carnally as items to be used and discarded as and when needed, and elaborates on their propensity, in his opinion, to get in the way of men’s doings, and thus demanding time to be safeguarded and/or rescued. That becomes tempered later in the second half of the book when he falls for Vesper and his thoughts are turning to marriage, but again he loses when that relationship is doomed.

There is a fair bit of introspection and character building and philosophising in the second half of the book which majors on his relationship with Vesper after all the action has taken place in the first half.

“Today we are fighting Communism. Okay. If I'd been alive fifty years ago, the brand of Conservatism we have today would have been damn near called Communism and we should have been told to go and fight that. History is moving pretty quickly these days and the heroes and villains keep on changing parts.”

Perhaps Fleming could have continued portraying his character as the incompetent secret service agent, but from memory I reckon the later books did the opposite.


Government enquiries.

I have lampooned the absurdity of Government enquiries (instituted by all political parties) a few times recently. I haven't researched the detailed  progress of the enquiry into the Croydon Tram Crash. But just the fact that it happened in November 2016 and the enquiry only reported a few days ago after four and a half years at a cost of goodness how much to the taxpayer is cause for concern and some explanation of why it takes so long. After all, I guess it was known at the outset what happened in broad terms and the enquiry should only need to confirm detail and assess for blame and make recommendations for the future. Surely that shouldn't take over four years?


Media jargon

A new one is creeping in. When an athlete or team  has just made some specific move commentators are saying they have "pulled the trigger." Such things I find quite witty the first time I hear them but become  irritating thereafter. Copycats.


Gloster Javelin - finished

Photo below. I was puzzled about the spelling of the manufacturer's name but Wikipedia came to the rescue:

"Founded as the Gloucestershire Aircraft Company Limited during the First World War, with the aircraft construction activities of H H Martyn & Co Ltd of Cheltenham, England it produced fighters during the war. It was renamed later as foreigners found 'Gloucestershire' difficult to pronounce. It later became part of the Hawker Siddeley group and the Gloster name disappeared in 1963."


Katie granddaughter update ( now 9yrs.)

This little painting looks naive but the composition and colouring are I think complex and satisfying. I can sense the movement of those falling leaves.

Wednesday, 21 July 2021

Trigs OS 103 - Airton

Tuesday 20th July 2021 from Aurton

Calton          SD  917 598       274m.

Haw Crag    SD 913 564        206m.

It's 9:15 am. I step out of the car at Airton. My feet stick to the melted tar on the road.

Airton derives its name from the River Aire which was the closest large river during my early childhood in West Yorkshire.  Memory recalls a semi-industrialised  scene as it wandered trough the Bradford area.

Today I walk steeply down the road to a stone bridge spanning my river running fresh from its source less than five miles upstream. The river Aire was mysterious in those teenage days when I spent much of my time  walking, climbing and caving in the Yorkshire Dales. The river stems from Malham Tarn where at its southern end Ordnance Survey have put a unique label telling us "Water sinks."  Having thus been left in suspense my immediate reaction  was "where the heck does it go to?"

Expectant speleologists in the early days were hopeful that it emerged at the foot of Malham Cove with the possibility of a meaningful caving system behind that massive cliff of overhanging limestone. Not so. Dyeing the water at the source proved the river emerged at Aire Head just south of Malham village. As far as I know there has been no substantial caving discovery behind Malham Cove.

With the present intense spell of heat and no rain the water was low. I had noticed "waterfall" marked on the OS map in Foss Gill which I hoped to visit on my way to the first trig. I branched off the track to cross the gill and find the waterfall, but the bed of the gill was totally dry. I scrambled very steeply up the far bank using tree roots as handholds to emerge at a barbed wire fence bordering access land leading to my trig. At some risk of laceration I strode over a lower section and toiled up close cropped sheep pasture steeply to my trig, the key being two gates in close proximity enabling the crossing of another barbed wire boundary. Views were rewarding.

I was able to return by a less arduous route and then pick up the Pennine Way  running south. alongside the River Aire. I have intermingled every now and then over the last couple of years with the Pennine Way which I walked in 1987 and have been pleasantly surprised to discover how unspoilt it seems to be and what a super long distance path it is.

More pleasant walking on good surfaces took me to my second trig and then a long bridleway from Bell Busk had me back to Airton.  I noticed cyclists and wondered if they were having problems with the now even more sticky road surface, rather them than me, I much prefer to be on foot.The heat all day was intense and I was flagging towards the end. I had taken a flask of coffee and two 500cl. bottles of water which were life savers. Back home I consumed huge amounts of liquid over the evening and even now, next morning, as I type this I still have some lingering thirst even after my normal multi cups of breakfast tea.

I was impressed by this individual notice just a few yards from the car. I particularly like the cat logo at the top.

Looking north up the river Aire, the bridge is behind camera, see next two photos

Calton village

Typical Yorkshire Dales scenery

A brave attempt to naturalise the obviously man-made water pipe - note the dry gill obviating my need to use the footbridge which crossed here as a ford

Where I crossed the gill higher up - totally dry

Calton trig 

Back down to Airton

On the Pennine Way alongside River Aire, and below, on the way to Newfield Bridge

Newfield Bridge, still on the PW

Haw Crag trig Ingleborough on skyline

Pink at top = Grid line 60 which I am researching, and red line the potential route to follow it, so not relevant to this post. Pennine Way shown by OS green diamonds.

Monday, 12 July 2021

OS Grid 38 (northing) Day16. North Ellerby to THE COAST!

 Saturday 10th July 2020. North Ellerby to the coast - final day - 7.5 miles

There was a modest sea fret from the start today which restricted views but walking temperature was perfect. We drove to Aldbrough from where our Grid 38 line continued another two kilometres to a point on the coast named East Newton. We had researched to find there was a caravan site there and we hoped we would be able to park. On arrival there was nobody about. The site didn't look to be operating and everything was in a run down state. "No parking" and "private"  notices were numerous and we had a bad feeling about parking in any way that may be marginally disapproved of. We drove back up the road to Low Farm where we had a friendly reception and permission to park. I had always thought it would create an anticlimax if we were able to drive to a point where we could  see the finish before we had walked  there so I was  quite pleased about this - we had not been able to see the sea.

We drove back to North Ellerby and set off on quiet lanes. There was not much to report. At one point there was a mountain of chicken manure on the side of the road and BC was all for making the ascent but retreated after a few steps.

Further on a tree was growing in an old bath near a farm. I have been amused by farmers' use of baths as watering troughs in the fields.  I can imagine the farmer telling his wife it's time for a new bath when he finds he has need for yet another in his fields. Seeing the tree in the bath here I wondered if the field baths are eventually allowed to be retired as they often do with horses, and then treated to a planting up of something for them to enjoy?

A couple approached from the other direction with two crazy spaniels. They were locals on a regular walk and we chatted as the two dogs never stopped chasing up and down - spaniels do have an endless capacity for just having fun - great to see.

We walked through Aldbrough where there is an unlikely shop dealing exclusively in second hand lawn mowers. We found the church which has an original tower dating back to the 14th century constructed from rubble that has stood the test of time against the odds. We found a bench in a sheltered corner to have our lunch.

We walked past our farm parking spot to the end of he road but we could see a fisherman walking down on a path from the farm on the cliff top. We took our path from the road and after a few hundred yards we were at last looking out at the North Sea as we stood on the top of a forty foot cliff.

We tracked back to one of the private notices on a gate to try and find where the fisherman must have descended to the shore and we found an excavated trackway leading down to the beach. Using GPS we walked on a couple of hundred yards so we were exactly standing on OS Grid 38. We drew a line in the sand  and took photos then went off and dabbled in the sea.

Walking back up we chatted with the fisherman and got the lowdown on the dubious run down caravan site owner. He has a bad reputation for being unpleasant, uncooperative, and fanatical about trespassers, and we had just walked through his gate with all the notices. We found the clifftop path back to our farm and our car. We had a long friendly chat with the farmer and his father and his young son. Dad had set the four year old up with a lot of free range hens and the lad was said to be already earning over £20 a week -  not a bad start in life. We both bought eggs and then went off to retrieve the other car at North Ellerby and face the two and a half hour drive home. I arrived home about 7:45 with a good bottle of red, some artisan bread and some paté in time to chill out and reflect on a thoroughly enjoyable and satisfying completion of this project.

Taken in the morning. BC talking with the farmer after we had obtained permission to park.

It was no go without crampons.

Farmer's bath in retirement enjoying its planting.

Two crazy spaniels and their owners go on their way.

Going into Aldbrough - not sure what this was lost in the sea fret. 

Perhaps the only lawn mower shop in Aldbrough?


Aldbrough church and below, the rubble construction.

Our  exclusive luncheon corner

The North Sea - first sight.

Down to the beach

OS Grid 38

Just saw this much more dimly in the distance - zoom combined with Photoshop reveals only mystery. The hulk was on the water's edge.

Bye bye.

OS Grid 38 (northing) - Day 15 - Beverley Golf club to Old Ellerby

 Friday 9th July 2021 - Beverley Golf Club to Old Ellerby -10.3 miles

We drove to Old Ellerby and left a car in the large car park of the Bluebell Hotel. There was nobody about to ask permission, so back to Beverley Golf Club for our walking start.

It seemed a long way from the golf club into Beverley and apart from the highly impressive minster we missed much of the more attractive part of the town. It was perhaps the hottest time we had on the trip and I was decidedly uncomfortable, freely perspiring and generally hot and bothered, but not seriously enough to fail to appreciate the sheer wonder of the minster.

When plotting the whole of this route it was fortuitous that we could keep within about a kilometre of our grid line, I haven't really tested it but I reckon in many other cross country lines one would be thwarted by long diversions to cross rivers , railway lines and motorways. On this trip the biggest hurdle was the crossing of the River Hull east of Beverley. Here there is a weight limited modest bridge which solves the problem. 

Juds before that bridge there was a welcome transport type café. No pots of tea but just a giant mug emblazoned with the Union Jack which probably held more than the average teapot. And the guy said we were welcome to have top-ups if wanted. We sat outside in the heat. Much refreshed and in a now contrasting buoyant mood (for me anyway) we set off across the bridge.

The reason for the modest size of bridge must be that once crossed you enter the Empty Quarter - there is nothing much in the land to the east until you reach the North Sea, and so we trogged on under the hot sun on the hot tarmac like Benedict Allen with his camels, I hasten to add we didn't have camels.

We were aiming for non-right-of-way footpaths marked on the map to avoid a long diversion from our line to the south. At Weel we talked with a guy pruning doing some communal gardening. It was apparent that, although given to walking the locale  he hadn't ventured down our intended route. 

We pressed on and found the path running on embankments above the dikes which had been recently mown and we made rapid progress for over two kilometres on what seemed to be rarely visited terrain with the dikes lined with trees and vegetation making a potentially valuable wild life corridor. When we arrived at a proper road the way was barred by a padlocked iron gate but we were able to crawl under an eighteen inch space at the bottom. I think BC may have delighted in getting a photo of me squirming about on my back, we will see when he puts up his post.

More tarmac and again we were struggling for a lunch sit down. We found a large log opposite two semi-detached houses in the middle of the flat countryside, all on their own. We had more or less finished eating when one resident emerged and then the other on a sit-on mower doing the verges. The first guy offered us orange drinks and came back with large iced tumblers of orange. The other guy was passing on his machine and shouted out "I've lived here for twenty years and you've never offered me a drink."  Mick and Gayle take note.We ended up having a long chat with these typical Yorkshire bnter merchants with all that leg pulling they love which is ok in limited doses - quite a fun interlude.

Skirlaugh had s magnificent church out of all proportion to the size of the village with many elaborate carvings and fancy stonework.

We came across a well restored "Little Grey Fergy" tractor and then spoke to the repair garage man owner. He was the antithesis of the orange drink providers, tight lipped and taciturn, another Yorkshire type. I hail from Yorkshire so I'm allowed to say these things. We did learn that there was to be a tractor run on Sunday with forty of them from far and wide parading round the village.

More quiet country lanes had us back to the church at Old Ellerby and eventual return to Premier Inn for a welcome hot bath.

Plodding through Beverley in the overpowering hot sun.

Beverley Minster, and below

Hull and district have their own telephone boxes. I think they were originally yellow but now look faded.

Welcome café before going across the bridge into the wilderness of East Yorkshire. Pots of tea big enough to swim in.

The bridge across the River Hull. The key to keeping us close to our line. Without thst there would need to be a huge diversion.

I do like a bit of rust.

Off into The Empty Quarter.


Off onto the trespass path leading to the dikes.

The gate we had to crawl under. Unfortunately I was investigating for an alternative whilst BC was crawling under and so missed a good photo opportunity. I think he was able to snap me rolling about under there.
Our lunchtime neighbour bringing out the iced orange drinks.
We think this was a linseed crop.

The church at Skirlaugh, much bigger and more elaborate than one would expect in such a small village