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, 27 June 2022

Upper Borrowdale and White Howe

 Sunday 26th June 2022

Upper Borrowdale and White Howe - 7.7 miles - 1565 feet of ascent

I believe we all have to-do lists. For me, some get ticked off and others not. This one has been with me for about twenty years soon after I discovered the lower part of this Borrowdale. A few days ago I tackled an unfinished part of that one with the north-west ridge.

I have eyed the map for years for this upper part of Borrowdale to the west of the A6 but have dithered due to absence of footpaths on the map and wall boundaries that are shown potentially hindering the route. My original plot on Memory Map was therefore largely straight lined coming in at 6.95 miles. The route as walked shown below took advantage of paths found extending distance to 7.7 miles. 

Some possible rain was forecast but this was my only chance of a decent walk for the next few days. With the car parked conveniently on the verge at the entrance to the private road for High Barrow Farm I had a splendid view of the A6 going north to Shap. The descent coming south from the memorial to the haulage drivers of old at the summit is one of the finest downhill runs on a bike in the country.

The weather was overcast and broody so once again the photos from the new Olympus TG6 were pale, but hopefully because they were portraying the truth of this dreish day.

High Barrow Farm where the tarmac ends is truly isolated and primitive looking. A Land Rover track continues and I was followed by a herd of sheep - I guess they rarely see humans. From a more isolated cottage, unoccupied I was on only rudimentary paths more akin to sheep trods. The feeling of pure wilderness was palpable, and much as I have eulogised about Lower Borrowdale this made that gem seem almost metropolitan, what a discovery! Borrow Beck was not in full force but as we coincided every so often it made a major contribution to this landscape running over  its rocky bed with mini waterfalls and deep pools of clear but dark brown water. Further on, the way started to climb and the stream was tumbling steeply down under a rickety old bridge of timber beams which I crossed with some trepidation - rot had set in good and proper.

An area of about twenty metres square had been fenced off marking the point where I started the ascent of High House Fell, the north-eastern marker for the head of Upper Borrowdale. The small enclosure protected one from a gloopy sort of sinkhole with surrounding evil looking bog. If you had the misfortune to get in there I think the chances of getting out would be remote - thanks to whoever had the goodwill to enclose.

A stiff pathless climb took me to the summit and then a trek across the head of the valley where I lost more height than I intended. The rain now started. Waterproof was donned, rucksack cover deployed, compass bearing taken, and then I squelched through reeds and rough marshy terrain to get back on track.

From here on the wind rose to gale force on the tops accompanied by bouts of fairly heavy rain, conditions that hinder route finding and discourage photography. Fortunately stiles were found where I had previously worried about field boundaries. Without being too dramatic I was now in mild survival mode for the rest of the walk. I had bee-lined my route from the trig on the summit of White Howe back to my car, but I found a poor path which lead me round the houses: the main contributor to the route walked being longer than the one plotted. I did keep dry but by the time I got back to the car I was well tired, and not having looked at the time since my ascent to the ridge I was staggered to find I had taken 7.75 hours to walk 7.7 miles (with no stops.) My flask and sandwiches were still in my sack and the latter served as the main part of my evening meal back home.

The lack of decent paths, and the paths found being those only one foot wide troughs interspersed with rocks and tussocks had made for very slow going. The second half of the walk had been hard but that didn't detract from the pleasure of discovery during the walk to the head of Upper Borrowdale and I would recommend that to anybody, but perhaps just as a there-and-back.

Looking up to the summit of the A6. A fine cycle ride descent

Approaching High Barrow Farm - looking up into Upper Borrowdale

High Barrow Farm

Looking back to High Barrow

The sheep followed me in a huge herd until I went through the gate at the white cottage further on

After the white cottage just ill-defined footpaths but great scenery and ambiance

Note the bridge, and below. 

Looking back down Upper Borrowdale, and below

From the ascent of High House Fell summit. My route crossed terrain to ascend the ridge on the left. The fenced enclosure is centre picture but not easy to see - click to enlarge. 

White Howe trig. From here self preservation was the priority. not photography

My plotted route (not shown) took a straight line from White Howe trig back to the car but a rough footpath lead me on a wandering route as shown but better than a long stretch through rough tussocks, peat, heather, bracken and the rest.

In context including Borrowdale proper and my recent route on the north west ridge

Monday, 20 June 2022

Borrowdale (Tebay) - North-west ridge

 Sunday 19th June 2022

Western half of northern ridge of Borrowdale - 6.3 miles - ascent 1400ft.

I have walked up and down this Borrowdale often and have also walked all the south ridge, and my last but one post here covers the eastern half of the north ridge, so today's plan was to finish off the western half of the north ridge.

Borrowdale is a steep sided valley with a Land Rover track running through from the Lune gorge in the east, south of Tebay to the A6 Shap road in the west. At roughly halfway there is a the working farm of Low Borrowdale which thankfully still thrives. In 2009 planning permission for holiday chalets at the farm was declined and the farm was sold to continue as a working farm with two herds of hefted sheep. That would have been a disaster ruining this remote and peaceful location.This Borrowdale provides the perfect link between the Yorkshire Dales and the Lake District for long distance walking enthusiasts.

After having my Panasonic TZ80 returned with a new lens unit under guarantee I realised that these long zoom compact cameras are prone to failure caused by foreign bodies being ingested by the frequent popping in and out of the lens, and in inclement weather rain and moisture can also contribute. That was confirmed as a known inherent weakness by the chap at Wilkinson's cameras in Kendal. I have always been on edge worrying about keeping the camera safe under the varying conditions of my walking. So, whilst awaiting return of the repair I browsed and found the Olympus TG6. This is a waterproof camera (yes, you can film underwater if you want.)  The TG 6 is also supposedly shockproof carrying the designation "Tough." The only downside is a limited 4x zoom. That is contained inside the camera. Today was its first outing and from the photos here I am quite pleased and importantly relieved from the anxiety of protecting my camera from the elements.

There has been a lot of forestry clearance on the slopes of the northern ridge at the A6 end where I started and some hopefully, temporary mess and disruption, but I was away from that and soon ensconced in the peace and quiet of this valley.

As I was climbing back up to the ridge from Low Borrowdale farm a couple pushing their mountain bikes came past. the only folk I saw on this trip. The ridge walking was perfect on undulating dry ground with views which switched from time to time back down into Borrowdale to the south and then the extent of land up to the Solway to the north, all that good ridge walking should be.

The furthest north peak (485m) unnamed on the Os map is the logical end of this ridge looking down onto the A6 and right into Upper Borrowdale on the other side (another one on my list of to-dos.) This peak seems to be rarely visited,  I suppose because one encounters the track named Breasthigh Road first, and it being an obvious route of descent back into Borrowdale. That final peak is protected by two stone walls. At the first I found a rusty gate, not operative, and was able to climb over. Judiciously I put a marker on my GPS OS mapping so I could find this again on my return. I was well pleased with that. Due to the undulating terrain I didn't see that gate until I was within about twenty yards of it on my return. Higher up towards the summit I had spied what I thought was a gate in the second wall. That proved to be fencing with barbed wire atop plugging the gap of some fallen wall. I managed to bend the wire back at one end and squeeze between post and wall and vice versa on my return when I put the wire back in place.  That last summit was only about a hundred yards beyond the wall but it had been worth the effort with views back down to the A6 and of much interest to me: the upper part of Borrowdale on the other side of the A6. 

I returned to Breasthigh Road and descended. A lot of engineering work is being dome making this into a wide navigable track for Land Rovers with a surface of loose semi-compacted stone and combined with the steepness made for a pretty uncomfortable descent, but all in all this had been a satisfying outing.

Worth clicking photos to enlarge

Not far from the A6

Looking back towards the A6

Approaching High Borrowdale. farm There were two farms but this one was abandoned a long time ago. See below

Low Borrowdale. My climb up to the ridge starts behind the farm

Halfway up

There seemed to be some kind of encampment down there but I couldn't tell what. Either some drainage works or perhaps a Scout camp? All a bit odd in this lonely location.
P.s. I have just enlarged in Photoshop and see this as an informal kind of camp with campervans and tents - I hope the rot is not setting in! The valley road up to here is private from the Tebay end and not generally accessible by vehicles, so some permission mist have been granted?

Looking back along the ridge. The photo looks a bit boring but in situ this is quintessential ridge walking - what the photo can't show are the views to either side

From the final peak. Looking into upper Borrowdale on the other side of the A6Note the apparent steep drop over from tis summit, not an advisable route for descent
Here I bent back the wire and squeezed through twixt post and wall. All was repaired on my return


E-Type update.

Rear wheel assembly. Note inboard disc brakes

Thursday, 16 June 2022

Teenage dream realised

Thursday 16th June 2022

In 1961 the new E-Type Jaguar was announced. My job entailed maintaining relationships with the motor trade in my area persuading them to use our finance services for customers needing instalment payments.

One of my dealers was Francis E Cox, Jaguar agents located in Keighley, Yorkshire. Peter (can't remember surname) was the sales manger and he proudly showed me the newly arrived model. I showed so much enthusiasm he took me for a drive. That car was ahead of its time in body design and combined with the luxurious leather and walnut dashboard with classic black and white circular instruments it was an unattainable dream for an impecunious young man but... I have one! Albeit in plastic bits and first steps of building the engine are complete.

Box art

All the parts are on sprues. They are cut off, primed,  painted and assembled

The basic parts of the engine. There are already four parts put together in that main engine block. The cylinder head is not seen here. The timing cover, exhaust manifold, coil, distributor and sump are shown, there are other bits to go on as well. These parts have been primed and painted.

The ignition leads from plugs to distributor and coil were not included in the kit and I have made my own. Here the leads made from very thin insulated wire are glued to the tiny distributor stuck on some BlueTack on top of a bottle lid. Assembled as such they will then be put in place in the engine block and the leads trimmed and fitted into the plug locations on the cylinder head. This has been an exploration of the possible for me and I was not sure if I could achieve it, but see the results below

Lighting for macro photography is not as strong a skill for me as fiddling about with tiny bits of plastic and glue but I am well pleased with the results. Bear in mind these photos enlarge imperfections, but the real life unit looks pretty well pristine. Note the black lead going to the coil. 

There has been some nerdish debate about getting the leads on the distributor in the correct firing order but for me that would have been a step too far. The wire I used is a bit large for scale, but I just couldn't find anything thinner.


Number Ten Update

I am trying to avoid politics here but the news that Blondie has HAD an Ethics Advisor is unbelievable. My instant reaction was that it must be April 1st, and then I imagined a Monty Python sketch with John Cleese playing the role of a mythical Ethics Advisor.


Thursday, 9 June 2022

Marton and Bank House Moor (west of Ulverston)

Wednesday 8th June 2022

Circular 6 miles, 870ft. ascent. From Marton via Bank House Moor (311m - SD 245 804) 

I had planned to walk up Easgill from Cowan Bridge, a route in the aforementioned Cicerone's Lune Valley and Howgills guide. I then realised I had done most of that before as well as everything else in that guide that is of personal interest. Time to put it on Ebay?

Late last night I combed the map for previously unwalked territory and hit on  the area surrounding Ulverston.  Bank House Moor trig  provided an objective, not that such is essential but something I like to have.

Forecast said on and off rain throughout but improving. Rain for an hour was mild, not that stuff that penetrates like WD40, nor lashing and driving into one's being, so I was content knowing I had good gear and everything comfortable.

After a long road climb out of the village a path branched  descending through fields to Harlock Reservoir. Here a short enclosed path of knee high soaking wet grass, nettles and thistles was negotiated, but seepage from socks downwards into my boots caused some foot dampness. The wetness lead out to a farm track and back to the road. I had already had good views of Poaka Beck Reservoir as I climbed, and now,  on the other side of the road the prettiest of the three, Pennington Reservoir,.This area has its own reservoir defined character. The mizzle had now lifted from the tops and the rain never returned.

More quiet road walking was accompanied by hordes of corvids  chattering and squawking over who knows what in the roadside fields as swallows zoomed  above and the odd lapwing panicking for fear of nest raiding.

There was no path on the OS map to the trig but the unfenced road gave access to a boundary fence that had a path more or less to the trig and a convenient gate to get back into the area of public rights of way for my return.

With the rain and cloud as history there was a splendid view to the east and the Duddon estuary. There is a curious motorway sign approaching Jct. 36 on the M6 going south indicating "Lake District peninsulas" as if they are a tourist attraction in their own right. which has had me puzzled since its initial appearance. I have never thought of the LD as having pronounced peninsulas, but if one stretches the imagination  I suppose my view was apparent from one pf them across to another.

Descent through fields and then by quiet roads had me back to Marton. A good walk snatched from a poor forecast  not adverse enough to mar the enjoyment.

Looking back to Poaka Beck reservoir. I can find mo information regarding its strange name - any offers? The rain had stopped and the low cloud cleared for my visit to the trig

Harlock Reservoir

Windmills were scattered sparsely all around this area: something we used to object to but now seem to be accepted as an unfortunate necessity

The much prettier Pennington Reservoir

An old packhorse bridge showing the evolution and contrast to the new road - makes one think. I love the stone construction. It seems as though nature will soon totally obscure this little gem

Across the Duddon estuary from Bank House Moor trig