News from Paul Kear for April 2012

  • Once more unto the ... shore

    09:00 27 April 2012
    By John Atkinson, Nick Petrie, Paul Kear , Rob Clarke, Sarah Anderson


    Towards the end of last summer we started work with our volunteer groups putting a new path by the side of Windermere, through the field between Wray Castle and the Red Nab bridleway. This lovely walk has become increasingly popular with the opening of Wray Castle and the Windermere Reflections project promoting visits to this side of the lake. All these extra feet have caused the grass to become quite badly eroded, hence the need a for a path that’ll stand up to this level of use.
    
    Muddy volunteers, certainly not disappointed!
    It's a muddy job though, which isn't a problem (in fact lots of our volunteers are positively disappointed if they don't get a good covering) but does mean we couldn't carry on through the winter. It'd make too much of a mess and the grass wouldn't get a chance to recover, so we've had to wait before we could go back to it.

    However, with the onset of spring the waiting is over and we've been down there again with our first group - the Northumberland National Trust volunteers.
    
    Northumberland NT volunteers get us started for the year ahead.
    What we’re particularly proud of is the fact that most of the people who’ve worked with us as volunteers on this project have little or no experience of this kind of work and yet we’ve managed to produce a really high quality path. Many of our volunteers have commented on how proud they feel to have been involved with this and plenty have said they’re looking forward to bringing their families back to show them what they built. One of our volunteers, Ayesha, was working with us as part of her gold level Duke of Edinburgh award and said that she’d walked lots of paths whilst doing the award but had never realised how much work went into making them. She had just sort of assumed they were always there.
    
    Using the 'Whacka plate' to level it off.
    
    Quite a distance between gravel piles unfortunately ...
    So we'll back there through the summer with many different groups and if you happen to be walking past please feel welcome to stop for a chat about our work. You'll know it's us as we'll be the ones with the happy and (if they're lucky) muddy volunteers!

     By Rob Clarke, Basecamp Community Ranger
  • Lambing amost live Day 1

    16:01 13 April 2012
    By John Atkinson, Nick Petrie, Paul Kear , Rob Clarke, Sarah Anderson

    Hello everyone, I am currently on leave from work lambing my flock of Cheviot and Herdwick sheep on the hills above Coniston Water.Its a different sort of vacation to most of my colleagues or anyone else I suppose but as i have a farm as well as working for the National Trust its something i have done since i started and it is a great place to be so why go anywhere else. During the next couple of weeks i will be posting daily updates on what is happening on the farm at this time of year including a few photos of the sheep, cattle and local scenery.


    This photo is of a freshly born lamb, its mother had chosen a great place to give birth out of the wind and in the sun, the lamb is about 5 minutes old and is already up on its feet and looking for its first feed.

    Today has been nice with a few showers and hailstones but on the whole not a bad day but with a cold wind its best to get in the trees or behind a hill to find a snug place.

    I have also quite a lot of cattle on the farm and one of the cows is due soon so figures crossed i will be about at the right time. The last calf looks a bit like a buffalo and is quite a star getting his photo taken by many of the tourists  who see him in the woods.


    The sheep lamb up on the intake next to the fell and i gathered them in last week ready for lambing and they will stay in on the better ground for a month or so till the lambs are big enough to follow their mothers across the fell. I scanned the ewes in February and kept all the sheep due to have twins down near the farm house so they can be looked after better and given a bit of extra feed. The ones carrying singles much prefer to be on their natural habitat, there is the threat of predators but with just one lamb to look after they manage without any problems.

    Day old lamb with its mother





    I will post again tomorrow and will tell you a bit more about the farm and include some more photos, with about 20/30 lambs born each day i am sure there will be plenty to tell you about.

    John Atkinson Lead Ranger

    Want to read the rest? .....to read the whole of John's 'Lambing Almost Live' series of posts go to the 'Lambing Posts' tab at the top of the page. (We've moved all 14 days onto one page so you can read all the stories together.)
  • 5 things to do this Easter in the South Lakes

    09:00 05 April 2012
    By John Atkinson, Nick Petrie, Paul Kear , Rob Clarke, Sarah Anderson

    To celebrate Easter we've put together one blog for both the houses and countryside teams with 5 suggestions for things you can do across our whole National Trust South Lakes patch this Easter ....

    1 Take a guided tour of Wray Castle
    Wray Castle bathed in Spring sunshine
    Open from 2nd April for another season we'll have regular guided tours of the Castle running throughout the day. House open from 10.30 every day of the week. If the weather's good you can enjoy the grounds with its great views of the lake and mountains and yellow daffodils out in time for Easter.
    visit our Wray Castle web pages (opens in a new window)

    2 Do the Children's Easter Egg trail at Hill Top or the Beatrix Potter Gallery. 
    Yummy chocolate eggs
    A quiz-based trail with an eggy-shaped chocolate prize at the end, entry is £1 and the proceeds help our conservation work here. The Trail is supported by Cadburys. You might spot some 'Easter bunnies' in Hill Top garden but don't tell Pete our gardener!You will definitely see bunnies at the Gallery as we celebrate Peter Rabbit's 110th birthday with our 2012 exhibition.
    visit our HT or our  BPG web pages (opens in a new window)

    3 Walk the quieter Western side of Lake Windermere
    Looking out on the lake from Claife Viewing Station
    You can arrive by boat from Ambleside and take a linear walk from Wray Castle to Ferry Landing (or vice versa if you arrive by boat from Bowness). Stop off to take a peak at Claife Viewing Station which is one of our Lake District Appeal fundraising priorities. We want  to build a new viewing platform inside the old ruined shell and help to recreate for today's visitors, the experience the early tourists had over 200 years ago.
    visit our Hawkshead & Claife web pages (opens in a new window)

    4 Enjoy a 'Herdy' or 'Beltie' burger at Tarn Hows
    A very local 'Herdy' burger ready to be enjoyed
    Food doesn't get much more local than this! The meat comes from our National Trust tenant farmer at Yew Tree Farm, and its beef and lamb are raised in and around the Tarn Hows estate. The van is in the Tarn Hows car park daily from 10.30 to 4.45 so once you've enjoyed a walk round the tarn you can give yourself a tasty picnic lunch with a freshly-cooked burger.
    visit our Coniston & Tarn Hows pages (opens in a new window)

    5 Cycle from Coniston to Little Langdale
    Enjoy a scenic route this Easter holiday
    Using stoney tracks, bridleways and minor roads, there are a choice of  routes to take, distance is around 15 km and there's a pub in Little Langdale to help revitalise you for the trip back! This being the Lake District you can't get away entirely without a hill but going and returning via Tilberthwaite it is possible to minimise the uphill sections; if you don't mind more of a hill, return by Hodge Close for a great free-wheeling ride down the valley.
    visit our Little Langdale web pages (opens in a new window)

    Happy Easter!

    post by Linda 
    photos | National Trust & Yew Tree Farm

News from Paul Kear

Photo of Paul Kear

Fueled by a passion for the fells of Lakeland I moved here in 1991, and became a Volunteer with the National Trust before being lucky enough to join the Upland Ranger team eventually becoming a supervisor until 2001. I then became the Ranger Volunteers, managing the busy volunteer residential centre near Hawkshead, where I had the pleasure of working with many different groups from diverse audiences in practical conservation tasks. In 2010 I moved into my current role of Volunteer Development Manager and since March 2014 am the Countryside Manager in the South Lakes. I have a keen interest in the human & physical geography and spend a lot of time in the fells, walking, running, climbing and camping.

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