For newcomers

At the bottom of each post there is the word "comments". If you click on it you will see comments made by followers, and if you follow the instructions you may also comment and I always welcome that. I have found many people overlook this part of the blog which is often more interesting than the original post!

My blog nick-name is SIR HUGH. I'm not from the aristocracy - my middle name is Hugh which relates to the list of 282 hills in Scotland compiled by Sir Hugh Munro in 1891. I climbed my last one (Sgurr Mor) on 28th June 2009


Thursday, 28 September 2023

Simon and Delius

Thursday 28th September 2023

Bowland Climber, friend and commenter here recently lent me three books by poet Simon Armitage.

Walking Home (published 2012) is an account of his commitment to walk the Pennine Way from north to south and sing (give poetry readings) for his supper at each night’s stopover.

He put out the word that he would need nightly accommodation combined with a suitable venue to carry out his readings. The response was successful as well as motivating an eclectic scattering of interested folk who tagged along with Simon on many parts of the walk.

Books for his reference along with other belongings were carried from venue to venue by his hosts and volunteers. The case was so heavy and awkward that Simon christened it The Galapagos Tortoise.

Anecdotes and descriptions flow in a constant unputdownable stream. One of my best reads for some time.

Walking Away (published 2015)  is a repeat performance but on the South West Coast Path starting from Minehead and finishing on the Isles of Scilly. Just when I had so much enjoyment from Walking Home I found this one perhaps even more lively and absorbing,

At each reading there were audiences of around thirty folk who were invited to make donations. The receipts were put into an old Christmas stocking supplied by Simon and counted up each night. At the end of the book Simon gives a list of items other than money that were left in the stocking which makes for an amusing tailpiece.

I have just picked up All Points North which was written back in 1998 and have delved no further than the publishers notes and Simon’s quotes at the beginning so I cannot enlighten you any more, but, the first quote brought me up with a jolt:

“I was demoralised when I left Bradford for Florida…”. Delius (1862 - 1934)

I attended Bradford Grammar School. Delius was a previous attendee before I was born. The music room is now called the Delius Room. Music lessons were as uninspiring as Quorn. We were press-ganged into singing English folk songs - The Ash Grove, and For the Love of Barbara Allen repeatedly at every lesson. The latter had the most depressing lyric for a hormone rampant fourteen year old and I detested the boring repetition and the inability of the music master to inspire in any way - so although it is not logical, Delius got off to bad start with me, and subsequent impressions I have gained have not improved that perception

.A couple of years later, after laving BGS my interest in classical music was established when I was coming downstairs in our home and heard from the front room my brother and his pal playing one of Beethoven's quartets, an abstruse introduction to the world of classical music, but enough for me to enquire, but the interest was overtaken by a profound association with jazz until much later in life when I took much more interest in classical music.

I now realise that Barbara Allen is a luscious classic despite the efforts of that music master to destroy any aspiration to its appreciation.

Thursday, 21 September 2023

Conservation Chemicals Consultants Ltd.

 20th September 2023. - Beetham Church, Cumbria

My friend right back from schooldays who comments here as Gimmer is the owner of Conservation Chemicals Consultants Ltd based in Ulverston, Cumbria.

The company formulates and manufactures a wide variety of sealants for all kinds of stone or timber surfaces and has supplied worldwide to many prestigious companies as well as catering for trades of any size in the UK.

Through recommendation alone the company carries out many sealing jobs for clients. These can be standard jobs or solutions to problems where surfaces may need deep cleaning or have been abused by previous application of incorrect materials or a whole host of new problems that crop up all the time. Gimmer has a  chemistry degree that enables him to solve these problems where other companies just don't have the knowledge.  Most of the products are designed to penetrate giving much more protection than conventional surface treatments.

Over the years I have been coopted onto many such jobs to help. Today we are sealing about ten areas of newly laid sandstone flags in Beetham church only a few miles from my home.

We start at 8:00 am and in between heavy showers get equipment into the church. The flags have not been grouted but the joints are full of sand so firstly we vacuum the joints then brush vacuum the overall surfaces,  There are different ways of applying the sealant and in this case we can do so with an extended roller. 

After that procedure and a refreshment break the first areas are cured enough for us to apply a second coat of a repellent.

If you want to know more about the products see CCC's website HERE

This is an unashamed puff for Gimmer's business but I assure you it is here based on my knowledge of the quality of product and service I have witnessed over many years.


The light coloured rectangle is one of about ten areas around the church we are treating. Here it is bare unsealed stone

Compare this bare stone with the final picture which shows how the process brings out the natural features of the stone.

Starting the sealing. It darkens the stone at first but then cures to a lighter colour and enhances the  attributes of the stone

The finished job except it needs just a little longer to fully cure

Thursday, 31 August 2023

Once in a blue moon

 Thursday 31st August 2023

I have been busy.

For a number of reasons I am putting my house on the market with a view to relocation, hopefully still in Arnside.

Since my last post I have made many trips to the recycling depot at Carnforth, many trips to  Bay Search asnd Rescue charity shop in Milnthorpe, and placed various items for sale on Facebook's Arnside Sell and Seek. I hate Facebook but if one needs to dispose of stuff it has to be embraced - the present generation use that tool almost exclusively to buy and sell and without using it you would have no chance. Despite me asking folk to phone me if interested they still use Messenger and other text type messages which I find difficult to monitor when they are buried in the infrastructure of Facebook.

I have shifted the main large items of Victorian furniture that had to go and this morning I've been hiding clutter in cupboards and drawers so that a deceptively clinically  stripped house interior can be photographed.

It seemed opportune that we should have a Blue Moon. Although this will be my ninth move since I was married in 1970 the last move was over twenty years ago. The photo below was taken last night.

Model making has had to be packed away fro the moment and walking has also been on hold. I am still awaiting further medical appointments as my breathlessness complaint still persists although no worse than it has been.

Sunday, 20 August 2023

Yorkshire Sculpture Park

17th/18th August 2023 - Yorkshire Sculpture Park 

There have been a series of stressful happenings in my life recently so a bit of therapy was overdue.

But first some chores. I usually fill up with fuel the day before for a long journey next day but this time it was not done. Stopping to do that on the way is tiresome when one is eager to be off. I had picked up daughter Jill and granddaughter Katie at 10:30 ish.

Next I had my car loaded with stuff for the charity shop just up the road from the Spa filling station, so again we stopped only to find I had not actually put that stuff in the boot.

Yet another stop at Carnforth recycling to offload rubbish. That is not quite so tiresome. I always have a huge sigh of satisfaction at offloading rubbish which some would say was disproportionate to such a mundane task. and that relief of burden was so today, but now enhanced with a feeling of even more liberation as we were able at last to find ourselves purposely on our way. Daughter's busy life as an assistant head teacher doesn't give us much time together so a long journey was good for catching up on all the gossip.

The M65 and then the scenic Grain Road avoided the M61 and its convoluted meeting with the M62 which we joined further on near Birch Services. I can't remember the last time I succumbed to Burger King but a modest sized burger weighed heavy on us all putting us off eating again for over seven hours.

Parts of the M62 are now designated as Smart Motorway with no hard shoulder. Who thought that one up? If you break down your chances of annihilation are frighteningly real

From our Travelodge not far from the Yorkshire Sculpture Park we explored prior to our visit next day to the sculptures.

The strangely named Pugney's Country Park provided entertainment for energetic Katie flying her kite, and clambering with ease all over the play area equipment which now, at her age is pretty elementary and will soon be passed by.

From Wiki:

Pugneys Country Park is a 250-acre (1.0 km2) park located on the A636 between WakefieldWest YorkshireEngland and Junction 39 of the M1 motorway. It is a Local Nature Reserve.[1][2]

The area was developed from a former opencast mine and a sand and gravel quarry and was opened to the public in 1985. It is overlooked by Sandal Castle.

Watching Katie having fun and conversing with her was a  pleasure and an individual therapy contained within the whole for this trip. K is  pleasingly articulate having an English teacher Mum, and full of ideas  and spontaneous problem solving, and always eager to help. Later, going round the sculptures Katie was able to make serious contributions to interpretations which is not easy for most adults who dismiss modern art that they make no effort to understand as "rubbish." That was particularly rewarding - I know it's a cliché but how fast they grow up.

A quick  car ride took us to Sandal Castle. Once you have seen one castle... but this one was above average on a much elevated mound with splendid views. It is difficult to imagine people ever being comfortable in those dwellings with cold stone walls and stinking rudimentary sanitation and the constant threat of sieges, cannon balls and trebuchets.

Gloom and drizzle prevailed next morning on our arrival at YSP so we had coffee in the superb architect designed main building before venturing out into the park in slightly improving weather. I had bought Katie some softer lead pencils and a graphite shading stick. These along with a sketch pad she carried around most of the time and frequently deployed.

We soon found ourselves in a small outbuilding with a student artist handing out balls of modelling clay and encouraging us all to have a go at modelling. Katie was in her element so much so that the artist asked if she could video Katie at work. Jill managed a half decent owl, Katie's elephant was good, but although I do have some leaning to creative art I struggled - you will see the photos.

The park is located on a huge sloping valley side landscaped from the 18th century Bretton Hall. Even without the art this would be an impressive visit just to see the eclectic collection of magnificent mature trees spaced around this parkland providing a heightened sense of the magnitude of nature and open space. We were absorbed for hours wandering from one to another.of the exhibits spaced with hundreds of yards in between being sort of incidental but still complimentary to the landscape. Judging from the carpark there were many visitors but because of the scale it was never crowded and  snatches of conversation from passers-by seemed to indicate a more informed audience.

The best two days I have had for some time. I do genuinely believe that walking and being amongst nature is beneficial for many people and my normal activities of walking provides those benefits, but this had the additional contrast of man's manipulation of countryside at its best, if you are prepared to accept that as an art form, combined with thought provoking sculpture. Just several hours in a completely different environment.


I took too many photos to post on the blog. If you click on the Dropbox link below it will open with a list of thumbnails. Click on the first one which will open all as a slideshow, and even better if you scroll right down and select "full screen" you will see an even better slideshow. I have kept captions to a minimum so just look at the photos to get an overall taste of the venue.

Please let me know if you have any problem viewing the photos. or comment below.

Click to see Dropbox slideshow

Wednesday, 9 August 2023

Askham North and Pooley Bridge.

 Tuesday 8th august 2023

Couldn't find my Seal Skin lightweight hat before setting off - defaulted to the cumbersome Tilley and away for 7:45 (am!)

Up the M6 and off to Shap then off again to Lowther and on to Askham. These two villages are part of the Lowther estate where the Kendal Calling festival was held a few days ago. In Lowther and its surroundings placards and road instructions for visitors and officials still lingered. This festival is part owned and run by the father (Jamie) of granddaughter Katie's best friend Lilly (the girl who went to America for brain cancer treatment years ago when we were all keeping our fingers crossed.) Lilly has grown up with Katie and they are now both 11/12 years old. They both attended Kendal calling and as the daughter of one of the owners and organiser they were chaperoned and had VIP treatment throughout, and as my son W would say, they were "peaking." I suppose it won't be long before these two want to go to similar events down the country without the benefit for mother Jill of any chaperoning - the shape and worry of things to come?

It was good to see Askham Stores still thriving which I remember from my last visit here in 2016:

Click if you want to see

A steady climb out of the village on tarmac with a cloudless blue sky, but a sneaky cheeky little wind had me reluctant to doff one of my all time favourite garments, a very thin Pertex shell, featherweight and light enough to scrunch up into a ball almost to fit within the palm of a hand, but perfect for keeping off those sneaky, chilly winds. I bought this from a long-gone manufacturer in an old mill in the depths of  Victorian industrial Preston perhaps twenty five years ago and have never been able to find a replacement since and it is sadly now becoming somewhat bedraggled, aren't we all after all those years?

The tarmac yielded to a track out onto the open fell, then perfect cropped turf after topping out and then descending on a stony track to Pooley Bridge. I had met only one mountain biker coming the other way earlier, but the track down into Pooley Bridge was populated with an eclectic mix of walkers with rucksacks, family groups, and excited children, and dog walkers with dogs straining on leashes anxious for freedom, and wafts of female perfume as the more respectably clad passed by. One family group on bikes was  approaching, Mother leading and a very small child on mini bike behind and Father fifty yards back. I was impressed at the very small child pedalling away up this steep rocky track but as they passed I saw he was being towed by Mother.

My aforementioned visit to Pooley Bridge (2016) was on the day when the opening of a temporary bridge had been installed after the original from centuries back had been washed away.  I was one of the first to cross. I was curious to see the semi-military functional modern item had been replaced so I diverted right down through the village and found that a new bridge has been constructed which is reasonably harmonious with its Lake District surroundings. Pooley Bridge was thronging with tourists. I had coffee and cake in a pretentious bookshop come café which was not really successful in either of those guises

Another "climb" out of Pooley Bridge followed. I use that word with inverted commas because in older times that part of this walk wouldn't have been remotely recognised as a climb. A short distance on tarmac had me back onto a track and then ascending, this time unequivocally steeply up sheep pastures for over a kilometre. With my breathlessness affliction I was taking tiny little steps and stopping to regroup every thirty steps or so up to a rickety stile and then on to phase two. A solid stone stile was negotiated with some difficulty and then passing out onto the top and skirting Winder Hall Farm it was downhill all the way on tracks and then tarmac back to Askham. although Winder Hall Farm is depicted by OS in their sort of Medieval script Internet searching by me found nothing of interest.


This and below, walking out of Askham

Tarmac gives way to track

Looking back to Askham in the dip behind the farm

Mountain biker heading down to Askham - we had a brief chat about the many different latches on farm gates

Walking perfection

Hills to the west of Ullswater

Are these Longhorns? They were quite benign despite those threatening looking horns

Boundary stone, and for me a bit of heather in bloom

First view of Ullswater

The new bridge in Pooley Bridge

Pretentious coffee and cake - £6.75

We always say "steeper than the photo shows" but 'twas the case. The climb continued  beyond that horizon - see next photo

Zoom to Blencathra. I think the prominent Ridge with sunlight is Hall's Fell ridge This may get used for the next periodic showing of favourite photos on my Mac's "Wallpaper"

My surmounting of this one was hardly gainly.

This and below,  Winder Hall Farm

Clockwise from Askham

Route location - blue. 
Red =The Ullswater Way route that I downloaded out of interest after it being mentioned by Bowland Climber

A recent photo of me and granddaughter Katie. I can't get my hands on any from Kendal Calling

Monday, 7 August 2023

Porsche 911 Turbo (2)

 Monday 7th August 2023 - the tub

With the chassis and wheels now complete I am working on the interior tub and I have also sprayed the main body unit. With the latter patience is required to let paints throughly dry and cure between each step. That is something I struggle with being keen to enthusiastically proceed too soon.

The tub has received a coat of grey primer and the rear seats, which are integral in the tub extrusion have been spray painted. I had to mix two colours and they were gloss paints, but all will be matted down. An extremely faint application of light brown wash was also applied. I don't think the seat colour is precise to a Porsche issue but I wanted to create that light coloured, only suitable for the fastidious, real leather creamy tan colour often used by Rolls Royce and Bentley. When entering somebody's house it is polite etiquette to remove one's shoes - I'm not sure what the equivalent would be here to avoid marking this connoisseur's upholstery. The separate front seats have also been fettled.

The colour is named Italian Red. I suspect the use of Ferrari Red is copyright. The roof and bonnet are pretty good but I think I will polish them to bring in line with the marginally slightly better finish on the rest of the body. The whole will then receive a coat of gloss varnish. It seems a tad naughty to paint a German icon with an Italian colour but I am not a slave to exact historical representation, rather I enjoy using some imagination and making tweaks here and there. Would it be less naughty to paint an Italian icon with a German colour?

The rear seats were masked off (no photo.) That was a fiddly job, but satisfying when finally revealed as successful after removing after spraying black to the rest - see below.

To be continued.

Sunday, 6 August 2023

Porsche 911 Turbo (1)

6th August 2023

I always intended to illustrate the making of one of my kits in detail from start to finish but kept forgetting to take photos as I progressed. Now I have made an effort and recorded this kit so far at least as this post will show. With all these models I do need to have some feeling for the subject and who, except perhaps Jeremy Clarkson, could resist the iconic 1988 Porsche 911 Turbo?

Box art with plastic model kits is usually of a very high standard and whilst this is ok it is not top notch.
This is a Tamiya kit; they are regarded as the best for  detail, quality of finish, and good fitting. There are not so many parts in this kit with suspension and the like moulded onto single units and so it lends itself to this project.
This and below shows what one gets in the box. The parts are attached to sprues and have to be removed with cutters and then have their attachment points cleaned off with knife or sanding.

This kit has three modules: chassis and wheels, interior tub, and the body, Here all the parts for the first module ready to be given a coat of grey primer.

Et voilà !

underside of chassis masked off for the parts to be painted black - most of the painting is done with my airbrush.

Black now painted. Masking removed. Underneath of engine hand painted in aluminium
Black now masked in preparation for other surfaces to be painted the Italian Red of the body colour

The red is also all over the masking - mo matter.

The chassis and wheels right way up. The wheels came in the kit ready chromed in garish fashion. That was removed using household bleach and the wheels painted with their alloy finish with a touch of gold to the spokes. Some of the red overspray can be seen but all the top side of the chassis is eventually unseen.

To be continued.