Home from Kirkby

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Woods near High Biggins.

Mid-May and the rugby season has apparently come to an end. Or at least, there was an end-of-season award ceremony organised at Underley Park (midweek training is set to continue, seemingly indefinitely*). The ground was extremely busy, with extra-parking laid on, large marquees and a number of enormous trailers on site, not because of the junior rugby awards, but because Hollywood was in town, filming a scene (or scenes?) for a new Dr Doolittle movie. We kept our eyes-peeled, but Robert Downey Junior and Antonio Banderas weren’t in evidence. Due to all the excitement, the awards were slightly delayed, but the assembled families picnicked, played a little rounders and enjoyed the fabulous weather.

The whole event was over by around two, and having anticipated this, I had decided to fulfil an ambition I’d been nurturing throughout the season: to walk home from Kirkby. In truth, this had not been my original plan, but when TBH made a last minute decision to join the boys and I, I hastily threw my rucksack, maps and a change of shoes into the boot. So that when I set off, I didn’t have a route planned, or know quite how far I would be walking. For that reason I chose not to start from Underley Park, but asked instead to be dropped off in Low Biggins, just across the busy A65 from Kirkby.

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Cottages in High Biggins.

A short walk brought me to High Biggins, which seemed a very sleepy place and which I don’t think I’ve ever been through before.

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A coat of arms in a wall. Linked to High Biggins Old Hall? (Which I missed somehow, I shall have to come back.)

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Heading towards Hutton Roof.

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Looking back. Gragareth and Ingleborough on the horizon.

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Longfield pano.

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The hill on the right here is Scout Hill.

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Looking back again.

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Hutton Roof Crags and Farleton Fell.

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Hutton Roof.

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I liked the look of this house, on the outskirts of the hamlet, nestled into the hillside and dated 1874 over the porch door.

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On Hutton Roof Crags.

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Looking back towards the Middleton Fells.

It was hot. Just before she left me TBH asked if I had enough water and I said that I did. I was wrong. This little puddle…

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…,rather a surprise on a limestone hill, was no use to me, sadly.

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Farleton Fell. Lake District Fells and Howgills beyond.

I’d climbed on to a path slightly higher than the right-of-way shown on the map, but the views were more than sufficient compensation.

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Panorama.

Once I met the Clawthorpe Fell Road I followed that for a while, before picking up Snape Lane and dropping down to Burton-in-Kendal. I’ve walked this way more than once before, so was surprised to come across an entrance into the Lancelot Clarke Storth Nature Reserve which I haven’t used before. I shall have to come back.

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Field just outside Burton. These shiny, plastic covered fields seem to be a growing phenomena. Is the plastic acting as a sort of cloche?

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Burton-in-Kendal.

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Sadly, I didn’t read this sign the first time I walked past it. If I had, I could have saved myself a rather pointless out-and-back.

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M6 and Farleton Fell. Some people like these things apparently. Sorry there’s no junction, Andy.

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Ash tree, finally coming into leaf.

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Beetham Fell in the middle distance, Lakeland Fells beyond.

West of the motorway, there’s a tiny lump called Hanging Hill. I suspect the name probably signifies a grim past. The path doesn’t even cross the highest point, but this modest height has really expansive views.

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Hanging Hill pano.

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Lancaster Canal.

The map doesn’t show a towpath here, but clearly there is one.

I’d followed this DofE party…

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…over Hanging Hill. I found out later that they are friends of A and had been lost, which I was wondering about, because it was quite late on a Sunday afternoon now for them not to have finished. The bright rucksack liners are colour-coded so that different groups from the same school can be easily identified from a distance, which seems like a good idea.

I passed through the tiny hamlet of Hilderstone and then through a section of the walk with very flat farmland and numerous ditches, sharply contrasting  with what had come before.

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I must have been tired when I reached the A6, that’s my excuse anyway, because I temporarily turned the wrong way. I was worried that the path leaving the A6 might not be very well-used, but I found the stile okay and it wasn’t completely overgrown. The first field though, turned out to be thoroughly water-logged, which didn’t seem to deter the Lapwings which I think were nesting there.

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White Moss is relatively close to home and has some permission paths as well as the one shown on the map, and yet it’s many, many years since I last walked here.

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I must make more of an effort!

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White Moss.

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Yealand Hall.

High excitement at the corner of Thrang Brow Lane and Storrs Lane…

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I think I counted eight or nine emergency vehicles, some of which were unmarked. I don’t know what had happened, but I hope that everyone was okay.

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Copper Beeches on The Row.

Incidentally, there were a few butterflies about, and plenty of birds to enjoy, but I didn’t take any photos, because I only had my phone with me, and anyway was trying not to hang about. The walk was a little over 14 miles, which took me a little over 5 hours, which is a good deal faster than I usually walk, but I wanted to get home in time for my tea. Which I did.

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Given that I improvised the route as I went, I think I made some good choices. Next time I walk it, I think I will go over Hutton Roof Crags and down through Lancelot Clark Storth, but otherwise I would probably stick with this route. A pie and a pint in Burton wouldn’t go amiss either!

*Which is a Good Thing. No really, it is a Good Thing. What else would you do with a Wednesday evening in the summer, when the sun is shining and the evenings are long?

 

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Home from Kirkby

Hutton Roof Crags from Holme

Not ‘Hutton Roof Crags from Home’ which is a post which I shall one day get around to, just as soon as I’ve found time to fit in a walk of that description, but rather an ascent of Hutton Roof from the village of Holme. I’ve added not one, but two maps at the bottom of the post to show my route, but it was, in brief: an overly long wander through Holme (thanks to a daft choice of parking spot); through Curwen Woods and past a house with, I’ve since discovered, gardens designed by Thomas Mawson; through the tiny hamlet of Clawthorpe; up through Lancelot Clark Storth to the top: down across Uberash Plain to pick up the path which skirts the north side of Holme Park Quarry; and finally a road walk in the dark back to the car.

Since this was an afternoon walk, after a Rugby match in the morning, I didn’t set-off until around two-thirty and initially was in no mood to stop to take photos. Until three signs on the one gate had me chuckling…

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…there was no Bull in the field (there rarely seems to be when there’s a sign), nor…

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…any sheep, nor…

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…any horses. Plenty of signs though.

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Slape Lane.

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Every time I climb Hutton Roof via Lancelot Clark Storth I seem to follow a different route. This time was no exception.

When I first spotted this…

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…from below, I thought that it was quite tall, perhaps some sort of tower, but it seemed to shrink as I approached. I assume that it’s a charcoal burners’ kiln.

It’s quite easy to get lost on Hutton Roof and I was glad to spot a series of small signs marking the route of an Audio Trail which I shall have to try some time.

The signs led me to this bench…

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…which, despite many visits, I’ve never encountered before.

What with the sunshine, and the flask of hot water and makings of a brew in my rucksack, I could hardly resist such an invitation to stop. Especially since the views had opened out behind me…

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The distant, snowy hills of the Lake District.

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Humphrey Head, Arnside Knott, Eaves Wood.

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From a little higher up – the Lakeland Fells again, but also Farleton Fell on the right.

Just short of the top, there’s a small enclosure of solar panels.

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Does the fence stop them escaping?

Given that this is a nature reserve I can’t imagine that any kind of large scale commercial operation is envisaged, so I wonder what is going on here?

The summit of Hutton Roof Crags has expansive views, despite it’s modest height. On this occasion, the Bowland hills were smothered by very black looking clouds, which looked a bit ominous. Ingleborough was also hidden by clouds. I thought maybe it was raining in that direction…

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The Middleton Fells.

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Howgills.

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Lakeland Hills and Whitbarrow Scar.

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Warton Crag and Morecambe Bay.

The path down towards the Clawthorpe Road dipped into hollows and between stands of shrubs and dense thickets of Gorse. I kept losing my view of the Bay and the sinking sun and rushed between each vantage point, taking photos at every opportunity.

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More impressive than the sunset itself was the way the underside of the clouds over the Lake District took on a warm orange glow…

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There’s room for quite a few cars to park around the top of the Clawthorpe Road and many of those spaces were still occupied. I was quite surprised, but then realised that there were a few other people out photographing the sunset. Some had come better prepared than me, with tripods.

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Heading down the hill, I was thinking that there’s still a lot of this ridge – Hutton Roof and Farleton Fell – that I haven’t explored. So plenty of excuse to come back.

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The paths had generally been wet and muddy, but the last section of track, with a barbed wire fence on either side, had vast puddles stretching right across it. I had little choice but to splash through them and my feet got a little damp, but it was a small price to pay.

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Slightly under 8 miles with 240m of ascent. Not bad after a late start on a short winter afternoon.

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Hutton Roof Crags from Holme

Hutton Roof, A Snake and Skaville

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Speckled Wood butterfly.

Whit Bank Holiday weekend. This first two photos are from another opportunistic quick fix: B had a party at Capenwray Hall, I thought I would have a couple of hours at least to get out for a walk from there. Sadly the driveway which I had assumed would be a right-of-way, because it links to a footpath, turned out to be private. I drove to the Plain Quarry car park on Hutton Roof instead, but was a while getting there because I got stuck behind a couple of cyclists on a very, very narrow country lane (they weren’t riding abreast, the lane was just too narrow for me to safely pass).

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As a consequence, my walk was a bit shorter than I had hoped, but at least I managed to get out for a wander in the end. It was hot and sticky and quite hazy. Once again on Hutton Roof I was tantalised by a cuckoo which called incessantly and seemed so close that I was sure that I must see it if I looked hard enough. I didn’t, but not for want of trying.

I didn’t linger too long looking for the cuckoo however, because I wanted to get back for a surprise visitor which I knew would be arriving toward the end of the party…

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It’s some kind of Python. B was very taken with it.

On the Sunday we all went to Cartmel to see Jools Holland and his Big Band. I didn’t take any photos, so I’ve added a youtube clip of Mister Holland featuring two members of The Selecter, who also appeared as guest singers at Cartmel – a real highlight for me.

It was a great afternoon, with three support acts, a fair, sunshine, a tasty picnic with some friends, and a few family games of Kubb.

On the Monday we took our canoes to (S) Fell (Ten) Foot Park at the southern end of Windermere. It being a beautiful, sunny Bank Holiday Sunday the park was extremely busy. I’ve certainly never seen it so packed. Not that it really detracted from our fun. We messed about in our boats and then had a swim in the Lake. Well, four of us did: TBH was engrossed in her book.

Hutton Roof, A Snake and Skaville

Hutton Roof Sunset

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So, obviously, I’m aeons behind. But here are some photos from back when the evenings were long and I could get out for a wander after work. You’ll never guess – I climbed Hutton Roof and watched the sunset.

I’d parked, as I often do, at Plain Quarry, but broke with the norm by taking a track I’d noticed before. On the map the track ended abruptly at a wall – I was hoping there would be a gate in the wall and I would be able to continue heading across the slopes to Lancelot Clark Storth Nature Reserve.

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The woods were of densely packed beech and, given how sunny it was, surprisingly dark – much gloomier than this photo suggests. The leaf litter was deep and crunchy and my footfalls made enough noise for three people – unnervingly so: I kept looking behind to see who was following me.

Sadly, there was no gate. so I turned and followed the wall uphill instead, which eventually brought me to some limestone pavement…

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And then fine views from the vicinity of the summit.

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Looking to the Forest of Bowland.

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Looking to Ingleborough.

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Middleton Fells.

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Howgills

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I’d quite a bit of time to wait for the sunset. I wandered about a bit, messed around with my camera and it’s settings, and finally found a comfortable spot to lie down and enjoy the show.

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Hutton Roof Sunset

Whitsun Treadings III: Hutton Roof

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Hutton Roof, my new favourite place. Honour dictated that I share it with our friends. We had a cracking picnic lunch (the luxurious sort with stoves and cool boxes and hot soup) in the Plain Quarry car park and then had a wander up to the top.

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Every time I’ve been on Hutton Roof this year I’ve heard cuckoos. We also heard them the day after on Warton Crag, and we usually hear them when we camp at Nether Wasdale, but I’ve very rarely seen cuckoos. In fact, the only definite sighting I can recall was many years ago in Eskdale when I watched a cuckoo flying low over the hillside with an entourage of really angry small birds in tow. So I was quite excited when I thought I saw a cuckoo perched on a tree well ahead of us….

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…is it a cuckoo? I know that it’s not a good photo, but there’s something about the way it’s clinging to that branch which I find compelling. Probably wishful thinking!

We would have had a more general look around, but the forecast was for the weather to deteriorate and it did, right on schedule, just after we reached the trig pillar; so we came straight back down again. The kids were all keen to sit mesmerised in front of electronic devices anyway.

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Andy’s post about this walk, and another short, local ramble on Warton Crag the following day, is here.

Whitsun Treadings III: Hutton Roof

Hutton Roof Ramble

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A first post work bimble of the year. I came across this path, which climbs up from the car park at Plain Quarry, on one of our orienteering visits.

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Hoverfly.

A pair of jays flew ahead of me in quick bursts, perching tantalisingly almost in view each time.

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This thrush was much more obliging.

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I’m sure I’ve said this many times before on the blog, but Hutton Roof is always great value – there’s plenty of interest close to hand and the views are terrific.

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Warton Crag and Morecambe Bay.

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Looking towards the Forest of Bowland.

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Trig pillar and Ingleborough in the background.

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Looking toward the Lakeland Fells

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Howgills

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Middleton Fells

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Hills around Bullpot Farm

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Haven’t had a photo of a robin for a while. It was a great evening for birds, I could hear more than one cuckoo and the shrubs on the hillsides seemed to be thronging with busy birds. I tried to take photos of a meadow pipit, some warblers and several tits, without much success, but at least robins can be relied upon to pose.

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Since ant mounds seem to have become, like robins, another regular feature here’s one which has doubled as a picnic spot. I’ve noticed halved hazelnut shells clustered on mounds before. I suppose the diner has an elevated position from which to keep a look out whilst enjoying a substantial repast. The Collins Guide to Animal Tracks and Signs by Bang and Dahlstrom (not Bang and Olufsen, hi-fi geeks!) informs me that neatly split shells like this are the work of an adult squirrel.

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I was improvising a meandering loop around the common and back to the trig. There’s a great deal of open access land on and around Hutton Roof, much of which I’ve never explored. This stile was beckoning me into one such area, on the north side, heading down towards Cockshot Hill. On this occasion I resisted the temptation, reasoning that I would be heading away from the sun and in to shadow, but I shall have to go back soon and see where this leads me.

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Ingleborough in shadow.

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I think that this notable feature is Blasterfoot Gap, but if I were you, I wouldn’t take my word for it.

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Blasterfoot Gap again. Perhaps.

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Farleton Fell with the Lakeland Fells behind.

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Another limestone edge.

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Limestone Pavement.

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Eventually I wound my way back to the trig and then retraced my steps back to the car. Some time I shall have to bring a stove and some warmer clothes to watch the sunset from here.

Hutton Roof Ramble

Hutton Roof – The Case of the Missing Trig Pillar

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Rumours about the demise of this blog are, I understand, circulating like wildfire, causing consternation and distress amongst our legion of fan. I thought I’d better do something about it, to whit: getting my arse into gear.

So -  back in the summer, when daylight, and even sunshine, were in plentiful supply, I was joined by A and B and our friend Beaver B (no, I shan’t explain….oh well, go on then, suffice to say it’s more to do with Boy Scouting than Wild-West-Frontier animal skinning type activities) for an afternoon stroll on Hutton Roof.

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We pulled off the Clawthorpe road and headed up via Lancelot Clark Storth, a Wildlife Trust Nature Reserve. Every time I come this way, I seem to find a different path to follow. So eventually we reached high ground in an unfamiliar spot and with no sign of the top. We followed a promising looking path.

Which brought us to a large cairn….

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…which I recognised. I’d climbed up to it, I thought, from one of the principal paths across Hutton Roof on a previous visit. "The main path is just down there" I said. But scrambling down the small limestone edge through dense scrub to a path which I vaguely recalled might be nearby didn’t seem a very attractive option. There followed a good half-hour, or maybe more, of wandering aimlessly in convoluted spirals and curlicues looking for a significant path, a recognisable landmark or the elusive trig pillar. Beaver B has a dodgy ankle, but if he resented my useless navigation and our fruitless search across broken limestone pavements and tussocky grasslands, he hid it well.

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B found lots of these elegant little snails in a tree. We tried some hazelnuts, which seem to have been both large and abundant this year.

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The heather was flowering. It always impresses me that this ericaceous plant grows on the limestone hills roundabout. I’m sure I read somewhere that this is a result of pockets of acid soil which date back to ash from the Borrowdale volcanoes.

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We never did find the top. Eventually we returned to the prominent cairn, and almost immediately found an easy way down to the path, which, it transpired, was exactly where I’d thought it would be. Which was little comfort after all the navigational incompetence which had preceded this realisation.

Fabulous spot Hutton Roof, I really should get there more often.

Hutton Roof – The Case of the Missing Trig Pillar