22 June 1920 diary of Dr John Stewart Muir (1845-1938) of Selkirk

Feeling better today than I have done since I came but not as fit as I should like. Had breakfast at 9.15. Fewer people in the Hotel. We have made friends with a Mrs Copland (wife of a former clergyman here + now in Carlisle) + her sister Miss Foster1. With them we walked to the Honister Hause + saw 13 coaches come down, of which 4 or 5 were 4 in hand2. We stopped + ate our lunch before the steep part + then I went on alone to the top + over3. Got a grand view down to Borrowdale + saw all the wonderful slate quarries on the face of Honister Crag. Got back to tea at 4. Found that Hassness4 has been bought by Mr O’Hanlon5 whose niece is Dorothy Armitage6, Frank Muir’s wife.

1 See diary entry for 20 June 1920

2 Pape’s Garages, Coaches and Motors, Ltd., Keswick was running coach and horse tours into the 1920s, traditionally running down Borrowdale, over the steep Honister Pass (1,167 feet and gradient 25%) and normally stopping at the Fish Inn, Buttermere before returning via Newlands Hause (1,093 feet); descending Honister was a fairly heroic undertaking – there are many postcards showing it and there is a description of a 20th Century tour in Christine Jennings’ ‘Robbie: The Life of Sir Robert Jennings’, Troubador Publishing, 2019, pp. 13-14

3 It appears Dr Muir climbed Fleetwith Pike from Honister Hause (if he had ascended Dale Head on the opposite side of the Hause he would have been looking down towards Newlands – and in any case it is the slate quarries on Honister Crags, part of Fleetwith Pike, that he climbed past) and at some point he took in the view towards Seatoller and Rosthwaite at the south end of Borrowdale

4 Hassness, a private home originally, later a walking centre run by the Ramblers’ Association (where the Editor was introduced to salted porridge and, aged 13, yomped the mountain circuit of Buttermere coloquially known as the Buttermere Buggerer); now owned by the R.A. and called Hassness Country House

5 In fact it was William Sydney O’Hanlon (1869-1940), son of William Patrick O’Hanlon (1838-1912) and Martha Hannah O’Hanlon née Ryder, who purchased Hassness about 1920; their neighbours at Bowden, Altrincham, William Armitage senior (c.1839-) and Margaret Petrie Armitage née Mills had a son John Basil Armitage (1876-1917) and a daughter Dorothy Armitage (1873-1943) who married respectively Alice Kathleen O’Hanlon (1880-1957), daughter of William O’Hanlon senior (above), and Dr Muir’s nephew Francis ‘Frank’ Muir (1877-1972), electrical engineer

6 Dorothy Armitage married Francis ‘Frank’ Muir, September Quarter 1909, at Bucklow Registration District [Lancashire / Cheshire] 8a 427

[Source: Scottish Borders Archives & Local History Service SBA/657/23, Dr J S Muir of Selkirk, medical practitioner, journal for 1920]

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Archivist, interests include Dr John Stewart Muir 1845-1938) of Selkirk, general practitioner, and Seton Paul Gordon (1886–1977), naturalist, author and photographer

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