High Blean B&B, Askrigg: project car park.

In between welcoming guest to High Blean we work on a rolling program of maintenance and improvement tasks that need to be completed to maintain the building. Doing this adds structure to our day and  when a task has been completed performs the role of confirming that we have earned a drink !

These tasks range from painting the window frames to white washing the chicken shed as well as many other small and larger jobs in between. Some projects are reserved for the winter months and some that can only be completed in fine weather. By far the largest project for 2014 was to break up 6 m² of 6″ deep concrete by hand and lay 22 tonne of lime stone chipping to the 260m² of our yard.

This area was formally the farm yard when the house was a working farm, and was a sea of concrete, in varying stages of decay. Some of it still exceptionally tough, while the frost had worked its magic on other areas, rendering the surface pitted and criss crossed with fissures. All in all it looked a mess and needed to receive attention but time had not allowed up until this year.

Due to the undulating nature of the surface and there being an incline across the yard it was necessary to build a series of baffles, to stop the chips migrating across the area and into the garden. So, the first tasks was to lay around 500 blocks, to form the baffles and to create a perimeter boundary. Then, where these blocks would be subjected to motorised traffic, they had to be flaunched with concrete to stop them being loosened.

Albert the wire haired fox terrier at High Blean B&B inspects building work

Albert inspects the baffle

Next came the breaking up of 6 m² of six in deep strong concrete. This was all done by hand after having first cut through the surface with a diamond tipped saw on an angle grinder, to form a series of small squares. A 14lb sledge hammer and a 1½lb lump hammer and chisel being the only tools for the job. Though knee pads, gloves and goggles were also essential. Then just hard work. Lots of hard work.

Breaking up of concrete at High Blean B&B Askrigg

Hard Labour


Then the first 16 tonne load arrived, out of the 22 tonne required. Due to the precision driving of Dan from Jim Thompson Transport, he was able to get the first load right into centre of the yard, so that it was less distance to move the approximately 400 wheelbarrow loads of lime stone chips to where they were needed.


16 tonne of lime stone chips at High Blean B&B Asgrigg

16 tonne Lime Stone chips: who needs a gym!


After spending most of Friday afternoon moving the first 16 tonne, we were still left with a visible mound when Jim brought the second load of 6 tonne on Saturday. Again well honed driving skills meant he was able to get his wagon right to the spot I needed this last load tipped.



However, with in 48 hours of the first load being delivered, and too nearly broken backs later, we had the concrete broken up and taken out and 22 tonne of chips more or less evenly spread. This called for a big drink!

The finished car park now looks much better and is an ideal spot to play pétanque and can accommodate a number of vehicles.

Still a bit lumpy

Still a bit lumpy

Like a giant Zen garden.

Like a giant Zen garden.

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