Team news for October 2012

  • Autumn Watch at Sandscale Haws

    09:15 31 October 2012
    By Jo Day

    Ok so we don’t have wild beavers or pine martens but the change in the season is still pretty exciting here at Sandscale.  The wading bird numbers are definitely on the increase with flocks of knot, dunlin, redshank and sanderling being regularly recorded.  The size of our duck population has significantly increased too with the usual teal and shoveler taking residence on our wet meadow area.  A massive flock of about 70 whooper swans were also seen flying low over the reserve on the 29th Sept.
    The lack of sunshine and the influx of yet more rain has seen our water levels on site rise to such an extent that there are parts of the reserve that even Neil (Ranger supervisor) hasn’t seen flooded before.  This has meant that many of our snipe which can usually be flushed out with a walk through the tall grass has not been there to flush, as many of their feeding ground is just too wet.
    With the strong winds we’ve been experiencing, the tides have been pushed further up the beach and produced some dramatic erosion on the frontal dune ridge exposing a shingle bed.
    Now is the time if you are looking at starting a shell collection or ticking off another “50 things” activity (finding treasure on a beach), there’s nothing more invigorating than a stroll along the sand on a crisp, cool morning with the wind in your face looking at what the sea has been churning up!
  • This one for Reiver.

    17:39 26 October 2012
    By Roy Henderson




    We have now started work on the riven oak fence on Friars Crag.  The oak came from management work in a National Trust woodland in the South Lakes.   It is sold to a local firm that rives the timber.  Then we buy it back. The timber has probably only travelled 30 miles as the crow flies. This also helps preserve traditional skills.

    It isn’t easy to work with riven oak for fencing because nothing is square and it doesn’t come in neat, straight lengths.  Cutting the joints can be quite time consuming.  It is worth the effort though because it looks more natural in the landscape and also it is much harder wearing than even tanalised softwood.  It won’t be long until it looks as though it has been there for years.



    Last weekend Kintail Mountain Rescue Team came down to work on some rope-work techniques with us.  The various teams regularly share good practice.  This time we were working on Steel Knott which is just opposite Castle Crag in Borrowdale.  We were practising using a double rope system to evacuate casualties.  We have adopted a Canadian system devised by Kirk Mauthner.  This is a system that has been designed so that it is possible to cut the rope at any point or to let go of the ropes and it will ‘fail to safe’.  It is a system that is safe for both the casualty and the rescuers.  Casualties have a smoother, more comfortable experience and knees, hips, backs etc of rescuers are subjected to reduced stress.  We did lots of repetitions of vertical lowering and also some guiding line practice – this is where a rope is slung across rough ground so that a stretcher can almost hover across it with a couple of rescuers alongside.


    Sadly my dog Reiver has died.  She was 13 which is a good age for a golden retriever and she was having a good active life until very recently when time caught up with her.  We shared great times on the fells and I’ll miss her.  A colleague at work said that if there is such a thing as reincarnation, he would like to come back as my dog. I think this is one of the nicest compliments I've ever been paid.


  • The Lengsthmen's lunch

    09:00 26 October 2012
    By Clair Payne, Craig Hutchinson, Glenn Bailey, Ian Griffiths, John Atkinson, John Moffat, Luke Sherwen, Matthew Allmark, Nick Petrie, Paul Kear , Richard Tanner, Rob Clarke, Sam Stalker, Sarah Anderson, Stuart Graham

    In one of our earlier posts, our footpath rangers gave us an insight into the mysterious subject of 'shed life'...this time they've turned their attention to a subject close to every ranger's heart - food!...with particular reference to those volunteer path minders we call 'lengthsmen'.

    The traditional role of the lengthsman would be to “walk the length of the parish” to ensure ditches and drains were clear. The term was adopted to describe workers maintaining lengths of road, canal, railway and path. Below are some mid-19th Century lengthsmen employed on the Caledonian railway in Scotland for 'packing' (the ballast on the track is packed back under the sleepers) and maintaining the railway lines.

    It must have been hard work as a 19th century lengsthmen
    Lunchboxes started making their appearance during the 19th century. They were, either, baskets, with lunch wrapped in a handkerchief, or tin pails (not a 'bucket!'). A Lengthsmen’s lunchbox during this period may have been similar to this pail below, with a lunch consisting of a chunk of bread with a piece of cheese and/or meat.

    Not the easiest thing to get up a mountain!
    Today the Fix the Fells lengthsmen, who work closely with the footpath rangers, carry out regular drain runs across the fells, clearing drains of debris ensuring they shed water effectively. They play a crucial role in helping to maintain the footpath network making access to the fells easier and safer. Another part of their role is to help visitors understand the need for repairing and looking after upland paths, so look out for them on your fell walks.
    new drain by Ian, Richard and Martin - maintaining both paths and tradition!
    As you can see, for the lengthsmen working on the fells today, the lunchbox is likely to be packed with a selection of sandwiches, meat, pasta, savoury dips and fruit (although we can't promise they all look as healthy or indeed tidy as this one!).

    Similar box but a richer variety of content than earlier generations
    We're all familiar with the term 'Ploughman's Lunch' but this is due to The Milk Marketing Board promoting the ploughman's lunch back in the 1960s, nationally to boost sales of cheese. Perhaps it's time to launch a similar campaign to promote the ‘Lengthsmen’s Lunch’ ...maybe it could be used to boost sales of mutton and support hill farming; wonder if our colleagues at Sticklebarn in the Langdales would like to kick it off?!

    post by upland ranger Luke
    lengsthmen photo : from Fix the Fells
  • FREE guided walks from Sticklebarn Great Langdale 29th Oct to 2nd Nov

    18:53 24 October 2012
    By Ben Knipe, Dave Almond, Dave Jackson, James Archer, Neil Winder, Roland Wicksteed


    Come along for a walk with National Trust Rangers James and Neil and Mountain Guide, Malcolm.

    All Walks start & finish from the Sticklebarn in Langdale LA22 9JU
    GR NY295 065.

    Meet from 9am for a 10am start. Coffees & teas available (pack Lunches vailable for purchase).

    A wet weather walk option that takes us around the valley will be available if the weather is not suitable for the high level routes on Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday.

    Monday 29 October
    Stickle Tarn and Tarn Crag via Stickle Ghyll

    Distance 3.3km, total ascent 399m, total descent 399m, total walking time 2 hours. Grade: Medium. Walking mainly on footpaths.

    Join us for a great little walk that packs a big punch.

    We’ll chat about Langdale’s history, geology and archaeology along the way and ranger James might even point out a few hidden gems for you to explore if you’re lucky.

    We will walk up alongside Stickle Ghyll to picturesque Stickle Tarn where we can view the valley far below, and the lofty pikes of Pavey Ark and Harrison Stickle above. From here we will cross Stickle Ghyll and walk around the tarn until we start our route back via Tarn Crag down to Sticklebarn for well earned refreshments. 


    Tuesday 30 October
    Langdale Pikes
    Distance 6.8km, total ascent 723m, total descent 725m, total walking time 3.5 hours. Grade: Hard. Steep walking in places but no exposure.

    Join us as we conquer the iconic Langdale Pikes.

    We’ll chat about Langdale’s history, geology and archaeology along the way and ranger James might even point out a few hidden gems for you to explore if you’re lucky.

    Following a route up to Stickle Tarn we will skirt the eastern edge of the tarn before climbing the east side of Pavey Ark. We will then visit Harrison Stickle and Pike of Stickle before crossing Loft Crag and ticking off our 4th Wainwright of the day. We descend via Pike Howe past a couple of peat houses on the way back to Sticklebarn.


    Wednesday 31st October
    Pike O’ Blisco

    Distance 7.2km, total ascent  619, total descent 623m , total walking time 4 hours. Grade Hard steep walking in places but no exposure.

    Join us as we venture to the summit of the lonely Langdale Pike.

    We’ll chat about Langdale’s history, geology and archaeology along the way and ranger James might even point out a few hidden gems for you to explore if you’re lucky.

    Set apart from its neighbours Pike O’ Blisco offers arguably the best views of all the Pikes.
    This walk will take us up the valley of Oxendale and up to Red Tarn via the Browney Ghyll path. From here we will make for the wonderfully rocky summit of Pike O’ Blisco before descending down the path via Red Acre Gill.


    Thursday 1st of November
    Langdale Pikes  ( As Tuesday)

    Friday 2nd November
    Stickle Tarn and Tarn Crag via Stickle Ghyll (as Monday).

    Wet Weather Option
    Cumbria way to Elterwater.
    Distance 8km, 3hours walking time (approx) mainly level walking on Public Rights of Way (but can be wet and rough). Taking in Farming, Quarries and Woodlands.
  • Replacing the fence at Stickle Ghyll

    07:32 23 October 2012
    By Ade Mills, Leo Walmsley , Pete Entwistle

    Since finishing our work on Helm Crag we've spent much of our time replacing the stock fencing around one of the plantations at Stickle Ghyll.

    The original fence was put in around 1984 with the help of the Manpower Services (a Government scheme set-up to help people into employment) to help stabilise the scree around the footpath. After we replaced the pitching next to the plantation in 2009 we planted up a few more trees, with the help of the Fix the Fells volunteers, but as time went by it's become easier for sheep to get in and graze on the trees. We therefore decided that the fence should be replaced and all the materials were flown to site earlier on in the year. Long-term it's hoped that once everything is properly established the fence can eventually be removed.

    The first job was to work out exactly where the fence line should go. With the ground being extremely undulating with lots of large boulders and trees to work around it took a bit of time to decide on the best line.

    Finding the best line

    With this done it was time to start digging the hole for the straining post. A hole is dug to a depth the height of a shovel, the post is placed into the hole and rock is compacted tightly around it. This makes sure they are solidly in the ground as the wire fencing is strained off these posts so there's a lot of force on them, and you don't want them moving.

    Finishing the hole for the straining post

    With the post in the ground, a single wire is tightened between two "strainers" to give a straight line between the posts. A strut is then added to give the post even more strength, this strut runs parallel to the wire. A section of wood is then chiseled out of the straining post that the strut neatly fits into. The other end is dug into the ground and again tightened using rock.

    Putting in the strut

    With the post properly secured the next job is to knock in the fence posts at equal intervals along the length of the wire. Once this is done the Rylock stock fencing is stapled to one of the strainers and then strained from the other.

    Attaching the fence

    Once we were happy with the tension in the fence it is stapled to the other straining post and all the fence posts in between and "hey presto" you've got yourself a nice new section of fencing.

    Nicely strained fence
  • A late taste of Summer and a well timed ranger Day

    08:54 19 October 2012
    By Clair Payne, Craig Hutchinson, Glenn Bailey, Ian Griffiths, John Atkinson, John Moffat, Luke Sherwen, Matthew Allmark, Nick Petrie, Paul Kear , Richard Tanner, Rob Clarke, Sam Stalker, Sarah Anderson, Stuart Graham

    In the last couple of weeks there have been a couple of days that have given us a taste of what the summer could have been. When the weather is that good you just have to get out and about and enjoy our gorgeous surroundings. One Sunday morning I found myself being drawn back towards work and the Coniston Fells. I took a walk over Dow Crag and Coniston Old Man, but on the way it gave me chance to have a look at some National Trust farmland at Tranearth, this is a part of our patch that I don't get to very often, but always appreciate when I'm there.

    

    Dow Crag and Coniston Old Man, taken from Tranearth.

    On the way round my walk it was a great opportunity to have a look at the footpath network and its condition, passing some of the great work done by our upland footpath rangers and the Fix the Fells volunteer lengthsmen. However my main draw to getting out on that gorgeous Sunday, was undoubtedly the views.

    View over Coniston Water from the top of the Old Man 

    

    What good timing for our Ranger day... 

    Twice a year all of the National Trust rangers from across the lakes, get together for a day of workshops and a bit of fun as well. This time the ranger day was held on the side of Derwent water and in the morning we had updates from our various teams across the lakes, this was a great opportunity to learn how everyone had done this summer and share good practise to help us do an even better job in the future. We then split up into groups to discuss subjects such as Archaeology, Conservation and countryside events. With the aim to share ideas and suggest improvements. In the afternoon we all went on a canoe trip around the southern end of Derwent Water to look at a canoe based activity trail, what luck with the weather!

    

    A great day for ranger canoeing!

    Posted By Sam Stalker
  • Cumbria National Trust Volunteers. WHAT A DIFFERENCE A...VOLUNTEER...DAY MAKES!

    18:48 17 October 2012
    By Ben Knipe, Dave Almond, Dave Jackson, James Archer, Neil Winder, Roland Wicksteed

    On Sunday 2nd of September The Cumbria National Trust Volunteers met the National Trust Rangers at St Catherine's in order to help with some much needed path work at Millerground; sections of this popular path along Windermere's shore requires revetment work. High lake levels and Winter storms are eroding and undercutting some stretches. A path leading down to Millergrond was also in need of resurfacing and the cutting back of encroaching vegetation.            

    The following images show just how much the Cumbria National Trust Volunteers achieved on the day.
     
    cutting back some of the vegetation to improve access to the path
    the trench ready to receive the foundation stones

    working out how to incorporate the exposed tree roots into the pitching. Not easy!
    digging out a trench for the foundation or base stones before starting revetment or pitching work
    The path leading down to Millerground before commencing work. Note trip hazards, and how narrow it is!
    Use of a bar to get some of the large stones out prior to resurfacing. (The stones come in handy for path edging)
    The finished path. Quite a contrast to how it looked before work started.
    Another section of revetment work completed. A great result after a lot of hard work.   

  • Wildlife Corridors and Community Links

    10:11 17 October 2012
    By Andy Warner , Daniel Simpson, Geoff Medd, Jack Deane, Jessie Binns, Joe Cornforth, Mark Astley, Maurice Pankhurst, Paul Delaney



    Recently we have been involved in an exciting new project in Buttermere Village, working in partnership with The Fish Hotel and a local farmer we have been working to improve the appearance of the area surrounding St James’s church, known locally as ‘The little church on the rock’The roadsides close to the church have for years been used as an un-official car park and the area had become neglected with fences and walls in poor condition.

    The original fence can be seen in disrepair by the roadside
    The main part of the project would be to install a double fence which would protect the planned new hedgerow, which will be a valuable ‘wildlife corridor’ and a great improvement to the visual appearance of the site. The first step was to install the back section of the double fence to ensure the field was kept stockproof.
    We had a litle help with the strainers, thanks Anthony
     Now we could start on perhaps the most demanding part of the project, the dismantling and rebuilding of the drystone wall next to the church, this wall had obviously been down for some years with quite a lot of stone missing and in order to get it back to a stockproof height we had to shorten it by a few metres

    There's a wall in there somewhere
    Unusually for us we used a ‘batter frame’ and string lines when re building the wall, this wall was going to be right in the public’s view and more crucially right in the view of locals so it would open to close inspection, some of the team were wary of the stringlines but soon came to realise they were a great help.

    The jigsaw comes together

    Very quickly the jigsaw came together and we were left with a wall which we’re all proud of and which should stand close scrutiny and has made that side of the church a more approachable and more welcoming entrance.
    The finshed wall, a good height, reasonably straight, not bad at all
    Next up was the section of fencing on the village side of the church, slight problem here, the reason it’s called ‘the little church on the rock’ became obvious, perhaps 3-4 inches of soil sat on an enormous slab of very hard Skiddaw slate, not the easiest site for knocking in fence posts! Luckily our Borrowdale rangers had a drill which easily cut post size sockets in the rock. Once suitable sized posts were selected the fence quickly came together.

    Drilling the bedrock and the finished fence
    The main practical works on the site are now complete and we look forward to planting the hedge when we will be joined by staff from the local hotels and with luck the local community. It’s been refreshing on this project having the opportunity to engage with many, many people from across the world, we’ve even been promised a box of toffee from Sacramento! People have shown a great interest in our ‘wildlife corridor’ and our walling and it’s been a great opportunity to inform people about the good works and aims of National Trust and how we interact and engage with our local communities. Check back here to see how we get on with the planting.

    Two folks from Sacramento trying to get a word in edgewise







  • Canoes, ATV and Bikes.

    13:24 15 October 2012
    By Roy Henderson


    It has been another busy week during which the North Lakes team hosted a Ranger Day, a day when many of the Rangers in the Lakes and North West region get together.  More than 50 Rangers attended. The day was based around Barrow house hostel with presentations in the morning followed by afternoon working groups and finally a session canoeing on Derwentwater.  A brilliant day was had by all and the feedback has all been positive.

    Thoughts have now turned to our winter work programme including hedge-laying.  My first steps will be to see Tom at High Snab Farm to agree which hedges need cutting back this year and also to discuss with the estate managers which other hedges in Borrowdale need attention.  Hopefully we can get started on that this Autumn and then finish off in early Spring before the hedges begin growing and birds begin to nest.

    In preparation for another big job, I helped Joe (upland footpath Ranger) to transport 10 large bags of grass seed as high up Sail as possible.  



    We have a six wheel drive Polaris all-terrain vehicle which is brilliant at taking heavy loads up incredibly steep hills.  Joe has a volunteer group coming this weekend to help him sow the seed along the edges of a path that the team has been working on. This will help the recovery of the path by blending in the edges. The grass seed mix we use was put together after consulting with our advisers and Natural England.


    Then we also have the task of putting in place the new handrail at Friars Crag.  That will use riven oak that has now arrived so we are ready to go with that job.



    Over the weekend I cycled Coast to Coast again with a friend who couldn’t come last time.  We rode the same route from Gretna via Keilder and Morpeth to the east coast.  These are some very quiet roads with little traffic.  We camped at Bellingham and treated ourselves to a few beers with our meal. 

    It did all fit into one week somehow!

  • FREE guided walks from Sticklebarn over half term

    09:58 15 October 2012
    By Ade Mills, Leo Walmsley , Pete Entwistle

    Come along for a guided walk with National Trust ranger James and Mountain Guide (and Fix the Fells voluntary lengthsman), Malcolm. There will be chat about Langdale’s history, geology and archaeology along the way and ranger James might even point out a few hidden gems for you to explore if you’re lucky.

    All Walks start & finish from the Sticklebarn in Langdale LA22 9JU (Grid Ref: NY295 065).To make a booking ring James on 015394 63808

    On the day, meet from 9am for a 10am start. Coffees & teas are available (and pack Lunches available for purchase).

    Stickle Tarn
    Stickle Tarn

    A wet weather walk option that takes us around the valley will be available if the weather is not suitable for the high level routes on Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday.

    Monday 29th October: Stickle Tarn and Tarn Crag via Stickle Ghyll

    Distance 3.3km, total ascent 399m, total descent 399m, total walking time 2 hours. Grade: Medium. Walking mainly on footpaths.

    Join us for a great little walk that packs a big punch.

    We will walk up alongside Stickle Ghyll to picturesque Stickle Tarn where we can view the valley far below, and the lofty pikes of Pavey Ark and Harrison Stickle above. From here we will cross Stickle Ghyll and walk around the tarn until we start our route back via Tarn Crag down to Sticklebarn for well earned refreshments.

    Tuesday 30th October: Langdale Pikes

    Distance 6.8km, total ascent 723m, total descent 725m, total walking time 3.5 hours. Grade: Hard. Steep walking in places but no exposure.

    Join us as we conquer the iconic Langdale Pikes.

    Following a route up to Stickle Tarn we will skirt the eastern edge of the tarn before climbing the east side of Pavey Ark. We will then visit Harrison Stickle and Pike of Stickle before crossing Loft Crag and ticking off our 4th Wainwright of the day. We descend via Pike Howe past a couple of peat houses on the way back to Sticklebarn.

    Wednesday 31st October: Pike O’ Blisco

    Distance 7.2km, total ascent 619, total descent 623m , total walking time 4 hours. Grade Hard steep walking in places but no exposure.

    Join us as we venture to the summit of the lonely Langdale Pike.

    Set apart from its neighbours Pike O’ Blisco offers arguably the best views of all the Pikes.

    This walk will take us up the valley of Oxendale and up to Red Tarn via the Browney Ghyll path. From here we will make for the wonderfully rocky summit of Pike O’ Blisco before descending down the path via Red Acre Gill.

    Thursday 1st of November: Langdale Pikes (as Tuesday).

    Friday 2nd November: Stickle Tarn and Tarn Crag via Stickle Ghyll (as Monday).

    Wet Weather Option

    Cumbria way to Elterwater.

    Distance 8km, 3hours walking time (approx) mainly level walking on Public Rights of Way (but can be wet and rough). Taking in Farming, Quarries and Woodlands.

  • Sheperds Meet

    15:49 12 October 2012
    By Emma Greenwood

    The annual Wasdale Head show is this weekend! The weather is yet to decide what it shall do but true Wasdale is always wet! So brollies and wellies may be a must!

    Starting at 10:00am for judging. Sports for the under 15s followed by dog judging, stick and crook judging and hound trials shows this is a day out for all the family! Cumberland wrestling and vintage machinery parades will ensure something for everyone.

    The Wasdale Head Inn has a singer on in the evening with some drinks deals.

    For more info visit

    http://www.wasdaleheadshow.co.uk/
  • Ullswater Fell Care Day

    09:43 12 October 2012
    By Ben Knipe, Dave Almond, Dave Jackson, James Archer, Neil Winder, Roland Wicksteed


    On 27 September, a mass volunteering effort around Ullswater saw 210 people from 19 organisations come together to give more than 1000 hours of their time to conservation activities in the valley in just one day.
    Organised by Friends of the Lake District's Flora of the Fells project, the Fell Care Day saw volunteers take part in a range of tasks. Together with our Rangers the volunteers made massive improvements around Aira Force in such a short amount of time. School children from Patterdale and Penruddock cut lots of scrub and low limbs amongst the trees in the arboretum, tidying it up and making way for people to explore the magnificent Conifers. They also helped to built a red squirrel hide from willow, learned about water and conservation and planted 1000 native daffodil bulbs in the Glade.
    They also made 30 new bird boxes and ten bat boxes to be used to encourage roosting birds and bats around the area and also put up squirrel and bird feeders which were donated to us by a local company called The Birds Bistro.










    Here a group of students from Newton Rigg College managed to rebuild 40yds of footpath above High Force.






     Below our farm tenant from Glencoyne "Sam Hodgson" helps a team rebuild a dry stone wall above Glencoyne wood.


    Overall the day was a huge success; highlighting the huge role that volunteering plays in conserving and managing the fells. More than 19 organizations took part, including volunteer groups from Friends of the Lake District, Fix the Fells, the Lake District National Park, the National Trust, Penrith and District Red Squirrel Group and visiting schoolchildren from the Ullswater Outward Bound Trust.
    Sue Manson, Flora of the Fells Project Officer said: 'The Fell Care Day was awesome - a conservation Glastonbury with so many individuals, groups and organisations contributing their time so freely! The volunteer army achieved so much in one day they really felt they'd put something back into caring for the Ullswater valley.'
    We are now gearing up for another Fell Care Day, scheduled to take place at St Catherine's in Windermere on Thursday 25 October.
  • British Wool Week

    06:00 12 October 2012
    By Clair Payne, Craig Hutchinson, Glenn Bailey, Ian Griffiths, John Atkinson, John Moffat, Luke Sherwen, Matthew Allmark, Nick Petrie, Paul Kear , Richard Tanner, Rob Clarke, Sam Stalker, Sarah Anderson, Stuart Graham

    As our resident farmer it has fallen on myself to bring to everyone attention that the coming week is British Wool Week, the aim is to get people thinking more about wool as a product. Over the last twenty years wool as a clothing and manufacturing product has been in decline as synthetic materials have been more popular. This has meant farmers have got very little for the fleeces they take of the sheep each year, it costs around £1.50 to get a sheep sheared and the wool was worth less then 50p with the coarser fleeces like Herdwick being virtually unsalable. In the past much of the wool produced in the area went into products like blankets and carpets because it was very hard wearing but the fashion of laminate flooring and duvets has virtually killed of this trade.

    Man shearing Herdwick Ewe

    In the past wool was an extremely valuable and important product and brought massive wealth to the country as a whole in fact the speaker in the house of commons sits on a bale of wool to emphasise its significance to the prosperity of the state. Locally villages like Hawkshead were built on the money gained from wool sales and the marketing and manufacture of wool products was very important to the area. it was always said that the money from the wool paid the farm rent.

    Herdwick Wool Rugs


    The idea of the Campaign for Wool is to bring wool back into mainstream thinking by emphasising its unique properties and natural credentials. The slogan "Live Naturally + Choose Wool: it’s warm, safe and gentle on the planet" is being used as it ably describes what wool is, a totally natural green product, with a hundred and one uses. It can be used for products as diverse as clothing, wall insulation and path building (as seen in one of our previous blogs).

    Herdwick Ewes wearing there trendy fleeces



    The campaign has been running for a few years now and has helped raise the profile of wool and many artisan producers of wool products can be seen across the area as well as more products in main stream outlets. This plus the rise in the influence of the Chinese market who still use a lot of wool has seen a significant rise in the value of the raw wool with Farmers almost covering the cost of shearing with the sale of the wool. I doubt it will ever reach the values of old but as a green, adaptable natural product i am sure it will see a massive resurgence as we move away from oil derived materials over the coming years. Wool is starting to make its way back into many outdoor clothing products and though we may not see the return of the tweed jacket as the popular choice of the fell walker you never know.

    John Atkinson
    Lead Ranger

    If you want to find out more about British Wool then follow the link below
    http://www.campaignforwool.org





  • Volunteers on film!

    09:00 05 October 2012
    By Clair Payne, Craig Hutchinson, Glenn Bailey, Ian Griffiths, John Atkinson, John Moffat, Luke Sherwen, Matthew Allmark, Nick Petrie, Paul Kear , Richard Tanner, Rob Clarke, Sam Stalker, Sarah Anderson, Stuart Graham

    It's not all work with spades and wheelbarrows here at the Basecamp. We're always trying to raise awareness of the work we do at the volunteer centre and how it often has benefits beyond simply helping to look after our countryside alone. So we decided to try to make a film of the Basecamp experience. If a picture is worth a thousand words, how many words is a 'moving picture' worth.

    The group we chose Littledale Hall Therapeutic Community, is a rehabilitation centre from Lancaster. They've been coming to Basecamp for years now and we've got a really good working relationship with them, so we decided on their April visit to roll the cameras.

    Littledale Hall hard at work; cameras just out of sight ...
    We spent the week working on our main job of the year, continuing the lakeshore path at Wray Bay. Local filmmaker Dayve Ward filmed the group on the work days and the group and National Trust rangers had small video cameras to catch extra footage. With all those cameras we ended up with quite a lot of footage to sort through!

    The group on their completed section of path.
    And that’s the thing about making even a short film, there’s an awful lot of work goes into producing a final product. It took a while, but after quite a few editing sessions we finally had a finished version. We’re very pleased with it and took it to Littledale Hall for a ‘premier showing’ where it went down very well.

    Take a look at it below (it runs for around 6 minutes, longer than most 'on-line' videos but we wanted to be able to use it in presentations as well as posting it to our You Tube TV channel.)



    Follow the link below to our NTSouth LakesTV channel and you can see more videos of our work here in the South Lakes.
    NTSouthLakes TV channel.

    post & photos by Rob
    video by Rob & Dayve from Photography by Ward
  • Mining, flooding and flying.

    07:31 05 October 2012
    By Roy Henderson


    Last week the Keswick Mining Museum closed its doors for the final time.  Fortunately for the Trust, we were able to purchase some of the exhibits. A few of us (Jessie, a Trust colleague and a volunteer Maggie) then spent time sorting, cataloguing and packing them for transport to our Force Crag site.  These will add to our growing collection of data and artefacts relating to local mining.


    Jessie and Maggie (modelling miner's helmet) cataloguing.

    Wooden detonator box

    Battery box.
    You will not be surprised to read that the high lake level caused by the recent rain, more rain and even more rain has resulted in some flooding.  Parts of the access-for-all footpath that we have been working on at the lake shore are now under water.  Our contractors have had to stop working on the project for now. Thankfully there is little wave action along the lake shore at this point so there shouldn’t be any serious damage done. For most of the time this path is high and dry and gives spectacular views across the lake to Catbells. 


         
    We have also been working on preparations for the annual Ranger Day when rangers from several areas get together to share experiences and learn from each other.  This time it will be on our patch in Borrowdale.  The day will be hosted from a private hostel, Barrow House.  The grounds of the house contain a magnificent specimen of a small-leaved lime.  You can see in the picture that it has one massive branch that must be exerting enormous forces on the main trunk.  Small-leaved limes are at their northern limit in Cumbria.  You can read more here.  I have included a picture of a packhorse bridge that is also situated in the grounds.

      


    There have also been a few call-outs for the rescue team. One of the rescues was in Coombe Gill where a woman had taken a tumble from the climbing route Corvus on Raven Crag. The thing of note about the rescue was the superb flying of the crew from the RAF Sea King search and rescue helicopter. They flew up the valley from Keswick and into the Coombe underneath the cloud . Then they held the hover very close to the crag whilst they winched up the casualty. Crisp and professional as ever!



  • Halloween fun at our properties this half term

    17:31 01 October 2012
    By Ben Knipe, Dave Almond, Dave Jackson, James Archer, Neil Winder, Roland Wicksteed

    Sticklebarn
    Pumpkinfest
    27 Oct – 4 Nov
    Celebrate autumn with Pumpkinfest at our pub in Langdale.
    We’ll have pumpkin carving, ghoulish face painting, live music, fiendishly funny comedians and on Saturday 3 Nov were rounding it all off with a great big BBQ. 

    Townend
    Halloween Trail
    Weds 31 Oct to Sun 4 Nov   
    1 – 4pm
    Find the pumpkins in the garden and complete the trail to win a prize.
    £1.50 per trail.
    Booking not necessary – just turn up

    Allan Bank
    Autumn Crafts
    October, all day every day, Free
    Get crafty at Allan Bank in the run up to Halloween. Make yourself a witch’s hat and broomstick or a horrifying Halloween mask.

    Pumpkin Trail
    27 Oct – 4 Nov, Free
    The Allan Bank woodland has been taken over by spooky pumpkins, venture into the woods and see how many you can find… don’t forget to check inside the spine tingling tunnel. Draw the faces as you go and spot 6 or more to win a prize.