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

Breakfasted at 8 (the usual hour being 9) + left at 9.30. Turned off at Longthwaite Green (3) to Loweswater, Mockerkin to Cockermouth1, I sought in vain for a baker’s shop + heard “the clang of the wooden shoon”2. Eventually got some cakes + went on via Dovenby3, Dearham Bridge (River Ellen) + Crossley4 to the shore road, a magnificent level tar Macadamed surface. Got good views of the Scotch coast + Criffel + Shinns Hills5 + I thought I could see Queensberry6. Went north through Allonby to near Old Mowbray7, where I stopped among some sand dunes + took my lunch. I once thought to going inland to Wigtown but I hadn’t time so I turned back to Maryport + home by Eaglesfield + Mosser8 + joined my morning route on Loweswater9. It was lovely looking down on Loweswater from the high road10. Got back just as the dinner gong sounded + enjoyed my tankard of ale. Rode about 55 miles + over the most hilly country, especially coming back by Mosser. Nancy + Tim11 had been to the top of High Snockrigg12.

1 Lanthwaite Green (grid reference NGR NY158,208) via Mockerkin (NY090,232) to Cockermouth is a diversion westwards from the direct route

2 ‘The Clang of the Wooden Shoon’, a song by James L Molloy (1837-1909), published by Metzler, 1875; referring of course to clog wearing, at one time the standard footwear in Cumberland and much of the rest of the north of England [Sources: Derek B Scott, ‘The Singing Bourgeois: Songs of the Victorian Drawing Room and Parlour’, Open University Press, 1989 and Daniel Scott, ‘Bygone Cumberland and Westmorland’, Andrews & Co., London 1899]

3 Dr Muir has gone north west from Cockermouth via Dovenby (grid reference NGR NY095,334) and Dearham Bridge (NY068,371) to the coast road

4 Crossley is presumably Crosby (NY071,383) though there is a Crossley near Maryport noted in John Brand and Sir Henry Ellis ‘Observations on Popular Antiquities: Chiefly Illustrating the Origin of our Vulgar Customs, Ceremonies and Superstitions’, Volume 2, London, 1841, page 93

5 Criffel (570m), Kirkcudbrightshire and the Rhinns of Kells, Dumfries and Galloway, the highest of which is Corserine (814m)

6 Queensberry (697m) in the Lowther Hills and ESE of Moffat

7 Allonby (NY081,429) and Mawbray, sometimes called Old Mawbray (NY087,466), the northern limit of Dr Muir’s cycle

8 Eaglesfield (NY094,281) and Mosser (NY115,250)

9 Dr Muir probably met the Loweswater road and his outward route at NY127,217 just before Crabtreebeck (NY130,215)

10 Dr Muir must have first seen Loweswater from about 230m height near Askill (NY121,228) before dropping across the steep contours of Darling Fell to meet the Loweswater road

11 Agnes Amelia ‘Nancy’ Roberts née Muir (1878-1948) and George Edward ‘Tim’ Roberts (1911-2005), Dr Muir’s daughter and youngest grandson

12 High Snockrigg (NY186,168), which Dr Muir may have ascended on 21 June

[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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