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

A fine morning + fair up till about 3 when rain came on + fell heavily till nearly 8. I went for a cycle run across Newlands Pass returning by Whinlatter + Swinside = 21.55 miles1. Newlands is a fair road, very steep to the top but summit = 1.33. On the other side a short rough piece + then all the rest rideable except the Devil’s Elbow2. From top to a road that turns off to Swinside it is 5.27 + the whole distance to Braithwaite will be 7. Went round to Portinscale + Braithwaite + then up Whinlatter, a splendid road but steep for over a mile. Had fine views of Skiddaw3 + Bassenthwaite. It began to rain on my way up + I got very wet. Came back by the other Swinside, a rough + hilly road. Nancy + Tim4 walked to Loweswater. Got P.C. [postcard] from the Lady of the Magic Cave!5

1 Dr Muir went up the Newlands Pass, ascending straight out of Buttermere and dropping into Newlands Valley from whence he cycled to Portinscale and Braithwaite – without diverting to Swinside (grid reference NGR NY242,217) – before ascending the Whinlatter Pass from Braithwaite and returning to Buttermere via Swinside (NY169,246) and Hopebeck (NY163,239)

2 The Devil’s Elbow is the awkward hairpin where the Buttermere – Newlands road crosses Ill Gill adjacent to Keskadale Farm, grid reference NGR NY210,193 and is visible (though not named) on the Ordance Survey 6″ Cumberland Sheet LXIII.SE, published 1900; it would have been one of the last tricky features for the Keswick – Borrowdale – Buttermere – Keswick horse-drawn coach tours noted in Dr Muir’s diary entry of 22 June 1920

3 Dr Muir’s best viewpoint across the valley to Skiddaw was probably above Lanefoot Farm on the ascent of Whinlatter, at grid reference NY223,244

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

5 Agnes Mackintosh, née Watson, formerly Harper (1859-1946), of Elm Park, Selkirk, the house previously referred to by Dr Muir as ‘the Magic Cave’ on account of Mrs Mackintosh’s generosity with gifts of food and drink

[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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