Well, the Cumbria Classic and Motorsport Show proved to be rather damp! In fact, in terms of spectator attendance it was the worst in the last ten years. The weekend started off well, with a full entry of cars on the Rose and Thistle Challenge Tour into the Borders, which saw excellent weather and hoods down all the way. Another great effort by Ron Palmer and his team.


A group of teenage curators have staged a takeover at Cockermouth’s Wordsworth House and Garden, the childhood home of nature poet William Wordsworth, to share their hopes and fears for the natural environment.

Taking their cue from William’s role in motivating the founders of the National Trust and the global conservation movement, the youngsters have created ‘Under Northern Skies’, a powerful new exhibition highlighting the ways in which we humans are damaging the world around us.

The exhibition includes a selection of original illustrations by artist Gustave Doré for ‘The Rime of the Ancient Mariner’, written by Wordsworth’s fellow Romantic poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge and published in their co-authored volume The Lyrical Ballads.

There are also installations assembled from plastic gathered at local beach cleans, and taxidermy examples of rare or endangered birds and animals, among them a full-sized albatross.

Wordsworth House visitor experience manager, Zoe Gilbert said: “We’re thrilled to be working with the young curators, who have chosen creative and thought-provoking ways to highlight questions closely linked to the issues that concerned William throughout his life.”

Visitors can explore the National Trust-owned house and garden with the help of an audio tour or follow a self-guided route.

On Wednesday and Saturday, the maid-of-all-work is busy in the kitchen, recreating 18th-century recipes, and always keen to stop for a chat. The maid also gives 10-minute talks about the Georgian era at 11.30am and 2.30pm.

Whether you are interested in the horrible truth about living in the 18th-century, the secret life of William’s sister Dorothy, or what kind of underwear the Wordsworth family wore, she has all the answers.

On Monday and Thursday, the house’s knowledgeable volunteers lead 30-minute guided tours at 11.30am, offering a personal insight into the family life that forged one of our greatest poets.

Visitors can enjoy free tea or coffee and a homemade scone in the upstairs discovery room, where there is a display telling the story of how this special family home was saved from demolition and handed over to the National Trust exactly 80 years ago.

‘Under Northern Skies’ is open from Saturday to Thursday, 11.00am to 4.00pm, until 3rd November. Entry is free with admission to the house and garden.

Photograph: Plastic fragments gathered on a beach clean. Credit: National Trust Images/Mel Peters


Sunday started off dry, but a steady drizzle set in during the morning, so all credit to the car owners and trade stand holders who came. In fact, the number of no-shows was not that much greater than on a normal day. There was a wonderful effort by the team and the marshals to keep the event running and we brought the awards presentations forward an hour to let folk get away. We are fortunate in that the parkland at Dalemain drains well and never gets chewed up, even in heavy rain.

I was sorry to hear of the death of Norman Elliot, chairman of the Hethersgill Vintage Club, who have run vintage shows in north Cumbria for many years, initially at Warwick Bridge and latterly at Carlisle Airport. For many years, it was the top ‘tractor’ show in the region, but the attendance has dropped off in recent years. Norman will be a huge loss to the Club, as he was the driving force and organiser not just for the show, but their social activities as well.

We often get requests for people running various events to ask if we can bring some vintage cars to their show. The work vintage seems to have become a generic term for anything slightly old. However, in car terms, there are clear definitions created by the Veteran Car Club, the Vintage Sports Car Club and Motorsport UK. Veteran is pre-1919, Vintage pre-1941, VSCC say Vintage is pre-1931 but they include post-Vintage Thoroughbreds made up to WWII.

The growth of interest in older vehicles, plus the wonders of social media, has resulted in a new type of ‘club’ appearing on the scene, very informal and based on a regular pub or café meet and the odd informal run out. These are aimed very much at a local interest, rather than a meeting of a particular make. Rather like a traditional motor club with the

focus more on sporting events. These types of events started with the youngsters in the ‘cruise’ scene but are now popular with enthusiasts of older cars.

The problem is that these groups are much more transient, and I’ve seen hugely popular cruise groups come and go quite quickly. If the group has no organised structure or committee,

it is very limited in what it can do, other than social meets. As with everything, the rate of change doubles every ten years, so what will we see in 2029?

Graeme Forrester

Wigton Motor Club• ISSUE 435 | 19 SEPTEMBER 2019 | 44

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