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


Saturday, 27 November 2010

Photoshop painting

Just a quick update on the picture.

I have been away for a week so have not had a chance to do much more, but you will see that I have now put the walking figure in place and the path he is on.

For any newcomers the picture is part of the refuge complex at Thines in the Cevennes from my walk of the French gorges.  Here is an extract from my journal describing my visit.

The approach to Thines was sensational. On arriving the gîte is located alongside the ancient church with a dividing wall and gate through into the gîte. There is a notice to say the guardienne does not arrive until 7:00pm. No meals are provided but food can be bought and there is a good kitchen. Just below the gîte there is a little gift shop and café so I went and had a cup of tea and some biscuits. The tea turned out to be Earl Gray which I had without milk or sugar, and I found this to be one of the most refreshing drinks I can remember.

I had a good look round the village including the very old church with many grotesque stone carvings and an atmosphere reeking of medieaval church domination.

Above the village is a large carved stone memorial to yet more resistance fighters who died in the war with an information board alongside in the manuscript writing of the sculptor describing his deeply emotional feelings whilst he was creating this work.

It was a long wait until 6:45 when the lady guardienne arrived, and by this time there was a party of three young French lads and another middle aged Dutch couple who had arrived. Whilst I was paying for my lodgings I noticed that the others all seemed to have bottles of wine and realised that they had bought these from the shop below as the guardian did not sell wine. It was now 7:00 and I knew the shop closed then so I asked the guardian if I may be excused before continuing with my food purchase, and I rushed off down the steps to the shop. The door was closed but I knocked and was allowed to go in a purchase a bottle.

On returning the guardian took me down to a lock up room below the gîte which was her food store room with fridge and freezer. I bought some spaghetti, a jar of bolgnese, some cheese, bread, jam and butter and a tin of fruit and some tea bags.

Back in the gîte we prepared our separate meals, but ended up all sat at the same table eating and drinking together and the company with the three mischevious French lads and the good humoured Dutch couple was very agreeable providing a merry evening.

Monday, 15 November 2010

Photoshop painting update

Here is an update on the painting. It may look as though not much has happened, but a lot of time has been spent since the version on my last post.

You will see  I have sketched in the figure in the foreground. The background will be mostly trees, but these are fairly spaciously established on limestone hillsides which should be evident when I develop that part of the picture.

Saturday, 13 November 2010

Caravan and Camping Club grid refs. Whitbarrow. Photoshop painting

Here is a copy of the reply from the Caravan and Camping Club relevant to my last post. I hope this may of interest to fellow backpackers.

On Wednesday I had a two hour walk round Whitbarrow, my favourite local locale. It was a jewel of a day weatherwise. Here are a couple of pics confirming this. There was a fair covering of snow on the Lake District hills in the second photo. I think this is  unusual in mid November.

I have gone back to painting again on the computer using Addobe Photoshop Elements.

Here are a couple of my previous efforts followed by the current work in progress.
1. A Yorkshire farmhouse.
2. Ben Alder
3. Part of the refuge complex at Thines in the Cevennes. From my walk of the French gorges.

On the w.i.p  you can see the Photoshop layer behind the painting which is the original photo. The layer with the painting on has a white background, the opacity of which can be reduced so you can see the original photo below. I can then draw the basic outlines of the main features and then bring the white background back again. After that I only use the original photo to look at to help me with the colours etc. The work is done using a Wacom pen tablet. I intend to make further posts as this painting develops. This is a hugely time consuming pastime.

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Welsh Walk Preperations

I have plotted onto Memory Map all the Caravan and Camping Club CLs relevant to my proposed walk round the boundaries of Wales which henceforth will be called “WelshWalk”.
All the CLs occurring on each 1:50000 OS numbered map are listed in the club's guide. A six figure OS grid reference is given for each CL prefixed with the number of the OS map. Unfortunately Ordnance Survey have a different set of sheets in their system in addition to the map numbers.These sheets are identified with two letters. To plot an OS grid reference on Memory Map the two letters have to precede the six figure number. There can be parts of more than one of the OS’s two letter  sheets on each numbered map so when plotting from the Club’s guide you have no way of knowing which are the correct letters for the given grid reference for a particular site, and you have to proceed by trial and error. On the example herewith map number 84 includes parts of sheets NX and NY.

It took me a day and a half to plot the sites. If the club had thought to prefix their grid references with the letters instead of the map number I would probably have saved half a day. I have written to them making the appropriate suggestion. The club  don’t seem to have a facility for email  on their website so I had to use snail mail.
The maps have all been printed onto101sheets of A4 which weighed 511g, but after trimming blank areas this was reduced to 361g. I will  post half the maps  to a camp site halfway round the route. 

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

CC versus C&CC

This post is  a response to BB's comment on my previous post.

The Caravan Club is almost part of the Establishment - see the patron and
 list of officers herewith.

The CC's sites are immaculate and run to almost anal standards by semi-voluntary wardens who are usually very conscientious, or at worst ultra zealous. Whilst this can sometimes be irritating, it is much better than the lackadaisical approach on other sites. Because of  this the CC have gained a reputation for being toffee nosed.
Seizing a marketing opportunity the Camping and Caravan Club now advertise themselves as “the friendly club”. Having said that, their standards are also high, and I think they are now coming close to the CC in that respect.

The CC allow camping on some sites only.  I think this is something to do with licensing. CLs (certificated locations) are small sites run by both organisations permitting no more than 5 caravans. The clubs have been given the authority (by act of Parliament, I think) to grant and monitor licences to private people who wish to have a site on their land. Minimum requirements for caravan CLs are a drinking water supply and a chemical toilet disposal point . With the CC, because their CLs cater mainly for caravaners, who have their own chemical toilet a wc is often absent, and for that reason campers are rarely allowed. The C&CC however cater equally for campers and caravaners, and their CLs usually have a wc and tents are permitted. 

The only way to pinpoint CLs is to join the club and look at their handbook and location system which is supported by an Ordnance Survey grid reference number.

CLs are a godsend to the backpacker being inexpensive, relatively secure and often located in places more likely to be close to a backpacker's route than  conventional campsites. In general CLs offer a higher degree of privacy and tranquility than commercial and club sites. Lack of facilities on CLs may be seen as a disadvantage by non-users and the converse by their devotees. They can often be set in idyllic surroundings, and if you know of a good one you keep that information to yourself.

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

New Lulu books. Backpacking for next year

The journals for my 35 day GR5, and my 35 day French gorges walks are now available on Lulu either as a download or a hardback book – see details in red below my profile.

Due to an error in downloading the template from Lulu the size of the GR5 book is smaller: 6 inches x 9inches compared with 8.25inches x 10.75inches, but I was pleasantly surprised with the result.

Plans are afoot for next year’s backpacking trip. The concept is to follow the national boundary of Wales as closely as I can within reason, using footpaths as much as possible, and not being concerend about which side of the border I am on at any one time.
So far I have plotted the route on Memory Map which totals 1561km. The route is plotted in straight lines, and tries to avoid obscuring the printed  footpaths  and roads on the map, and does not follow all the twists and turns. I guess the true distance will exceed the 1561km by at least ten percent.
The next task is to re-join the Camping and Caravan Club and identify and plot onto Memory Map any of their CLs that are near enough the route to be useful. I am a member of the Caravan Club, but most of their CLs do not cater for tents whereas the converse applies to the C&CC. When that is completed I can then print the route  onto sheets of A4. I find I can get ten kilometer squares by six on one sheet which gives some enlargement on the original map.

I have just bought a pair of Inov-8 Roclite 400 GTX boots which I am going to try and save for the Welsh walk, although I will give them a try first. Some kind of review will follow.