Tan Hill is only about four miles due north. It is a stiff two hour climb across marshy moorland made boggier by the path being on the Pennine Way but luckily it was what passes for a perfect Summer day up here.
At the top is the Tan Hill Inn, the highest in England at 1,732 feet. There is accommodation and no danger of guests over-sleeping with this automatic wake-up system.
There is no electricity. The cooking is done on gas and a generator powers dim lights. There was a log fire as there is every day – well stands to reason if it’s lit in August. It was all most agreeable and something of a local attraction. A man from BBC Radio Cumbria was interviewing people and I overheard the barman saying that ITV was coming in the evening. A sign – one of many – boasted that Top Gear had filmed here and Arctic Monkeys had visited.
In the mid-sixties my grandfather came back from a day trip to Dublin saying that it had been very crowded but the porter at the Kildare Street Club explained it was because of the bertles. “What are the bertles?” my grandfather asked querulously when he got home. His question was to be paraphrased by an English judge. I knew the answer; “The Beatles are in Dublin tonight”. I only mention this to explain that Arctic Monkeys are a popular music group.
Not everybody walks up to the inn.
Walking back there were lots of grouse. Do they know to cluster along the Pennine Way to avoid being shot? Is it some form of natural selection? Now, getting back to my grandfather, and this strictly speaking is not a digression, he entered the grey Massey Ferguson tractor at Barmeath in a competition for the oldest working MF. He didn’t win. I saw this Massey Ferguson 35 on Low Brown Hill. That model went out of production in 1964, so it must be about sixty years old.