News from Clair Payne for September 2012

  • Autumn is upon us

    14:51 28 September 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

    Well the waterfalls are looking magnificent at present and the leaves are starting to turn so it has to be the time to get your walking boots on and investigate the great walks all over the property.

    Colwith Force Little Langdale



    Of course most people have their favourite walk and some know the area like the back of their hands but there are always new places to visit and new experience's to undertake so here are a few ideas. The National Trust is running a national Walking Festival throughout the Autumn and we have loads of downlodable walks available on the website.

     http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/visit/activities/walking/walking-festival/

    Tom Gill to Tarn Hows Path




    We have also instald some extra large picture frames at Tarn Hows and Wray Castle so visitors can get that fantasic Gainsbourough style family potrait with a ready made stunning backdrop. Hopefully it will encourage people who visit the site to get out and give it a go and perhaps walk round the tarn while they are there.

    Sarah and the team are framed
    Also just recently i was contacted by the One Show to see if i didn't mind being filmed in their balloon talking about the history and creation of Tarn Hows. They did say there were a few H&S questions and if the answers were ok we were good to go, i had to give my height weight and ability to cope with heights. I must have fit the bill as i had a very enjoyable flight in a rather cramped basket over the tarn one sunny evening, with the actor Larry Lamb. The piece will be shown early in October so look out for us.

    Preparing the Hot Air Balloon for inflation


    Hope you can get out and enjoy an early autumn stroll over the coming weeks, I know i will be.

    John Atkinson
  • Fun Fires and Frames

    10:44 21 September 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

    This last month we have been involed in numerous tasks, projects and activities, all of which have led to an extremely interesting month.
    
    We have been involved in clearing the garden of Tarn Hows cottage to get it ready for re-let to new tenants.
    

    Relaxing after a hard day with a brew and a view!

    It was a hard job with loads of brambles and saplings to clear, but we had the help of our ever enthusiastic South Lakes Conservation Volunteers, with a fire and amazing views.
    This type of task is always so satisfying because you uncover hidden features of the garden as you go, whilst preparing it for a future of use to be enjoyed by the tenants to come.

    
     

    Eager to try the frame, even before it is finished

    
    One of our tasks this month has been to erect some giant picture frames at a couple of our favourite views.We put up one looking over Tarn Hows, which has been used by many of our visitors as a quirky way to frame them in their view. We have put another at Wray Castle, looking south down lake Windermere. We had people testing it out before we had even finished putting it up!





    The products of a happy day den building

      
    The highlight of the last month for me has been the day that I spent at Wray Castle showing kids how to build dens, it was so satisfying showing them the basics and then letting them have a go. This is just one of the activities that we have been doing there as part of the National Trust "50 things to do before you're 11 3/4" campaign.




    Written by Sam Stalker
  • Three nights and no shower ....

    09:00 14 September 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

    Apparently, it’s been the wettest summer for 100 years. Not since records began though, that was 1910 – makes you wonder what 10/11 were like …..

    So it was with some trepidation we were eyeing up the approaching dates for our second Fix the Fells upland camping holiday at the end of August. Always popular, these holidays involve a group of hardy volunteers working to repair upland path erosion, with the essential difference that at the end of the day they stay on the hill and camp overnight, for three nights. We’d already had one this year where it miraculously didn’t rain so surely we couldn’t be so lucky again, could we? Well, most of the time yes .....
    
    The campsite on a clear morning.
    

    
    The sort of view you only get when you're on the hills for the night!
    
    As usual, two of our rangers camped up there with them. Myself and Sarah from the upland path team walked in and out to site every day, an important role as we can bring up forgotten sleeping bags, extra food etc if needed. The first few days weather weren’t too bad, with a particularly fine evening for the campers on the first day and any rain on the others only coming in when everyone was safely tucked up in their sleeping bags for the night.

    
    Probably won't need any more food - leader Di with the supplies before setting off.
    
    The last day however, was a bit different. I woke at home to the sound of rain lashing against the window and it didn’t stop all morning. Sometimes on these holidays this last day is quite productive with everyone working till early afternoon before heading down to civilisation. By the time Sarah and I got to site this time though, all the tents were packed up and the work site was having a last tidy up – everyone was ready to go. It didn’t leave much for us to do but turn round again and head back down, but there were plenty of heavy bags and equipment for us to give a hand carrying so it wasn’t a wasted trip.
    
    Big splat of mud, right in the face .... brilliant!
    Despite this rather hurried departure, the holiday was pronounced a great success by all involved. The volunteers all had a great time and were exceptionally cheery – just a bit wet – and we were very pleased with the progress made on the path. The baton will be handed over to the upland path team in September too as they’ll be going to the same site with another working holiday. They’ll not be camping though.

    Just goes to show that bad weather may be able to stop play, but it’ll only ever delay the ongoing work of looking after our precious upland environments.

    Posted by Rob Clarke, Community Ranger at High Wray Basecamp volunteer centre.

  • Subsoil on Stake Pass

    09:00 07 September 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

    Stake Pass is an ancient route linking the valleys of Langdale and Langstrath and is on the Cumbria Way walking route.

    In recent weeks the South Lakes Upland Footpath team have been continuing a project on the North side of Stake Pass. There were erosion problems on this route and the aim has been to repair the erosion and create a sustainable path.

    The path zig-zags into the Langstrath valley and this project started in 2009.
    
    Earlier years work on Stake Pass viewed from the distance
    (Start of current section can be seen at the bottom)

    The path created is a "subsoil" path and relies on compacted subsoil material to create a hard wearing path surface. This differs from a lot of path work in the fells which relies heavily on rock.

    The subsoil surface is the last part of the process and there is work to do before this stage. A band of turf is first removed and there is lots of work re-shaping the ground to create the path shape with a drainage ditch above.  It can be labour intensive!

    A section stripped of turf with re-shaping underway
    During the "construction" work we look out for the hard subsoil and collect it to use for the final surface.

    Ian "mining" the subsoil for the final path surface
    Once the path shape is created the turf is replaced on the sides and adjacent slope. The final subsoil surface can then be applied to complete a section of path.

    A completed path section

    British summer weather can have some benefits


    Post by Nick, Upland Footpath Ranger

News from Clair Payne

Photo of Clair Payne

I am a ranger for the South Lakes property covering the Hawkshead and Claife area, helping to look after the west shore of Windermere, Claife Heights, the grounds of Wray Castle and much more… No two days are ever the same, one day I can be found helping to build a play trail at Wray Castle and the next I’ll be replacing a fence across a farmer’s field and the next, who knows?! It feels great to be helping people to enjoy our special places!

Blog:
http://www.countryside-catchup.blogspot.co.uk/