#RudeOutdoors: Fanny Bridge

The tweet below was shared by @cumbrianrambler a couple of month’s ago. One of the first things I noticed was the conveniently located #rudeoutdoors eligible location of Fanny Bridge in one of the maps in the thread. It’s included below for your sniggering pleasure. But, for once, I really did have an ulterior motive for sharing this particular #rudeoutdoors moment…

The question posed, and the replies to the thread, are a pretty textbook example of the range of views relating to Rights of Way questions. So I wanted to have a look at some of the proposed solutions.

No access to Fanny Hill, except by the back way…

The issue raised is simple: there is a Public Footpath running across a field (on the map below the green dotted line running through the middle of the large field below Bond’s End). But the farmer has not maintained it, and now there are crops growing on it to the point it’s indistinguishable. What do you do?fbridge

Plough on through? Not the most popular answer in the thread, with many commenting that this would be disrespectful to the farmer, who is, after all, only trying to earn a living. If you did chose to do this however, so long as you could show you have stuck to the route*, you are, legally, absolutely in the right. You do, however, risk an angry farmer challenging you – just because you are in the right, doesn’t mean you will always be treated as such!

Walk round the edge? This was possibly the most popular answer, with people feeling this respected the crop, while still finding a way through. But, this is also why I wanted to blog about this. Because I think it’s also the most problematic (at least at this location). Once you divert from the legal definitive route you are technically trespassing. None of the information presented suggests the farmer wants you to go round the field edge, no polite sign etc. So not only do you still risk an angry farmer, you have also left your legal Right of Way.

Use the other Public Footpath just to the south? It’s close by. It’s a legal route. Leads to the same place. Isn’t much longer. Perfect right? It’s possible this is even the intention, as this path actually runs more round the field edge. But, if the overgrown path is owned by a different farmer, increasing the footfall on Path B may well antagonise that landowner (the eagle-eyed will spot the risk of a grumpy farmer is a theme for this blog post!). The second path seems to run through a farm yard, or very close to buildings.

What would Theresa May do? Well, it’s a matter of public record what Theresa May would do. But we can’t all approach life with the kind of cavalier disrespect for landowners and farmers our Prime Minister, on her most naughty of days, shows can we? maxresdefault

What would I do? In truth, none of the options are perfect. The safest bet is probably taking the second path. But depending on what mood I’m in, what the conditions on the day are, I could see myself doing any of the three options. I do sympathise with the desire to keep the farmer on side – and it’s good to see so many walkers taking the farmer’s needs seriously. But, they do have a legal obligation to maintain the route – and it’s in their interests to avoid people randomly marching around/across their field when faced with an overgrown path. A politely-worded sign indicating their request (you are not obliged!) would be enough for most of us to happily, and confidently, divert. Of course, if all farmers do it you’ll soon be zig-zagging cross-country on every hike, but they won’t!

Report it! The one thing I definitely would do is report it. Again, despite respect and understanding for the farmer, this is a legal Right of Way. This option isn’t quick – but for the individual it is the safest. Take a photo, and send it to your local Council’s Rights of Way team. It’s also recommended to send it to your local Ramblers or Open Spaces Society reps. They will almost always, between them, have volunteers who pick up these issues with the council, and can often recommend suggested approaches to the route if they know the area. If you do, consider joining them too – they can’t help protect our network of Rights of Way with we don’t support them to do so! Most farmers will also be in receipt of a public subsidy that requires them not to be breaking any laws, such as not maintaining a Right of Way, so you could also report it to the Rural Payment’s Agency, though your chances of success this route are, erm, slim.

*Assuming in this blog the green lines marked on the OS map are consistent with the local council’s Definitive Map and so are legal Rights of Way


Cockhill Beck #rudeoutdoors

A quick post to lower the tone slightly, after a few more serious posts.

Last week while out cycling to bag a couple of local trig points I noticed this stream on the map just off my route.

It’s very low level cartographic filth of course. But worthy of a tiny titter at least.

I’ve no info on how this stream got this name. Almost all streams around here are called Becks. It does makes this sounds like the kind of unfortunate nickname a Rebecca would get stuck with in secondary school, through no fault of her own (no slander on the imaginary Becky’s good nature is intended).

Much of Nidderdale sits in a lovely compromise between ‘rolling countryside’ and ‘proper hill country’, giving great views stretching into the distance for not too much exertion (by foot anyway, it’s a bugger on a bike!). My cycle ride didn’t quite cross the beck, but it’s only a short diversion. Here’s a great little walking route though which takes in the beck and the lovely countryside around Hampsthwaite.

With the new location I’ve changed the tag for these posts from #rudepeak to #rudeoutdoors. Please do suggest places to add to the map!

Cock Knarr #RudePeak No 2

Extract from National Library of Scotland

We featured Wild Bank Hill in our recent ‘Peak’s Best Small Hills‘ article, and it’s a cracking place with a lot going for it for the serious walker: Open Access moorland; views of the metropolis of Manchester to the west, the wilds of the Dark Peak to the east; a trig point for the enthusiastic bagger. Indeed, for such a small hill we suspect it will probably make it into our #EssentialPeak bagging list, such are the joys it offers the serious walker.

However, some of us aren’t (always) serious walkers, are we? So, we are pleased to report Wild Bank Hill holds further delights, namely the shapely prominence of Cock Knarr, a north-eastern spur of the hill giving great views out over the reservoirs in the valley below.

Base of Cock Knarr Dam

Should you wish to bag Wild Bank Hill (and you should), we would therefore suggest a route taking in Cock Knarr Dam, (helping hold back the tide trying to rush forth), before strolling through Cock Wood, the thicket of foliage nestling around the foot of the Knarr, before striding up the short (but pleasing) flank of the hill to the head of Cock Knarr itself.

brushes res
View from the valley – Cock Knarr to the left, summit of Wild Bank Hill to the right.

But, having really scrapped the barrel with the coarse but rewarding similes and metaphors above, we feel a little bit of Public Service Education is probably in order, just to make ourselves feel a touch less, well, daft. So: Knarr, it appears, is a word to describe an old Viking sea-going ship, which seems to fit given these parts were well up in the Danelaw, where Viking names are prevalent. When viewed from the valley below you can certainly see how the hill resembles a ship – especially now the reservoirs have created some ‘sea’ for it to rest upon. Where the cock comes from is anyone’s guess – however, interestingly, a Cog or Cock was also a type of ship, developed after the knarr fell out of favour. So it’s possible that Cock Knarr could be a tautological name meaning Ship Ship Hill (akin to Torpenhow Hill in Cumbria, the elements of whose name translate from their various sources as  Hill-hill-hill Hill).

So there you go, after a rather silly attempt to turn local landmarks into a cheap gag about a chap’s privates we’ve all actually learned something today. Positively Reithian.

Dick Hill #RudePeak

It’s not big, and it’s not clever. There’s no hiding from it, this blog is puerile and probably shouldn’t be encouraged. Basically, we’ve been scanning our Ordnance Survey maps for the rudest-sounding places in the Peak District we can find. Like a child searching the dictionary for rude words – but with added walking routes…

The first one’s a cracker we think…

Dick Hill (SE 01509 05272) – 453m summit

From OS Leisure 1 – Dark Peak – or access via OS Online
Saddleworth War Memorial
Pots n Pans Memorial

Happily for the purposes of our filthy theme for this post, Dick Hill is not only of fair girth at 453m, but it also sports a fine erection, just below it’s summit. The obelisk (at SE 01019 05122) is actually a war memorial, remembering the fallen from Uppermill and other surrounding towns in the two world wars. The monument is commonly known as the Pots n Pans memorial, named after a nearby rock feature said to resemble stacked crockery!

Although it initially looks very impressive, especially when viewed from the right angle at the base, Dick Hill isn’t really a true summit. The hill is a  spur from the higher ground of Saddleworth Moor and Black Hill to the east, nestled between the outskirts of Oldham and the Greenfield valley, which cuts into Saddleworth itself. Still, size isn’t everything, and what it lacks in height it more than makes up for in spectacle, with steep flanks and amazing views over the valleys either side and across to Oldham and beyond.


Links to walks, photos and information about Dick Hill:

Dick Hill on Geograph

View from Shaw Rocks
View west from Dick Hill

Dick Hill and Saddleworth Moor walk

Dovestone Rocks (taking in Dick Hill) – 12.5m walk

Pots ‘n’ Pans walk – 5m walk

Dovestones High Level Circuit – 12m walk

UK Trigpointing Entry for the monument