Team news for November 2011

  • Lake District footpaths - our work here

    15:45 26 November 2011
    By John Atkinson, Nick Petrie, Paul Kear , Rob Clarke, Sarah Anderson

    Although our work carries on all through the year, it does vary with the seasons. For one thing our high level path repair work has to be done when the days are longer and the weather is better (supposedly!).

    Check out what our South Lakes footpath team has been up to over the last year.
  • Tubular Fells map Raises £6000

    18:48 21 November 2011
    By Roland Wicksteed, Dave Jackson, Dave Almond, James Archer, Neil Winder

    I huge thank you goes to Peter Burgess, the designer of the Tubular Fells map for his donation of £6000 to the Fix the Fells Partnership.
     Peter, Neil Winder (Area Ranger), Mike Innerdale (Director of Operations)

    Peter kindly donates £1 from every sale of his map to help our work on the Fells of the Lake District. His money will be used to help maintain footpaths suffering erosion and make improvement's to this great landscape.
    Please click on the link or the Tubular fells map to read more information about Peter, his map and how he got together with the National Trust.
  • Boat loads of fun!

    12:37 21 November 2011
    By Maurice Pankhurst, Jack Deane, Paul Delaney, Andy Warner , Daniel Simpson

    With winter closing in its time to bring the rowing boats away from their summer moorings and back to their winter homes. The boats weigh a considerable amount, so we had to call upon our Borrowdale counterparts (the driver is shown in the picture below) to help haul the boats off Crummock Water and Buttermere. Getting the boats off Crummock was straight forward as we had the use of a quad bike and the boat stands are at the lakeside by the moorings.

    However removing the boats from Buttermere was a different story.
    The boat was moored where there was no vehicle access, so we drew
    straws to decide who was going to pull it round to where the boat trailer was situated.

    Unfortunately for Jack he had wellies on so we threw the short straw at him. It really was not Jack's day, whilst moving the boat the lake rose over his wellies. Nevertheless Jack got the boat round to the shore and we loaded it up onto the trailer.

    With the boat onboard and secured, we headed back to Loweswater where it will remain for the winter.

    The boats laid to rest for another year before returning to the waters next spring.

  • These volunteers are easily pleached!

    10:23 21 November 2011
    By Maurice Pankhurst, Jack Deane, Paul Delaney, Andy Warner , Daniel Simpson

    It was Monday 14th November and the North Lakes hedgelaying season had to start with the hundreds of metres of hedges needing to be layed. We decided to start with a hedge at Dunthwaite because of the ease of access to the site and two volunteer days back to back later that week. Before the two volunteer days we needed to prepare to lay the hedge. This involved letting the tenant farmer know we were going to be working on his land, followed by removing the barb from the hedge and thinning out any unwanted stems ready for the hedge to be layed. The following picture shows what the hedge looked like on our arrival to the site.

    As can be seen from this picture (above) the hedge was made up of numerous small coppices mainly hazel, a scattering of hawthorn, blackthorn, willow and oak.

    This is a picture of the first volunteer day consisting of six Fix the Fells volunteers. The volunteers were split into two hedgelaying teams and one team that were "Fire Guardians".
    Below is Martin and Ian laying a stem, Martin (in blue) is putting in the pleaching cut with a billhook and Ian is carefully positioning the stem in the correct place.

    The following day we returned to the hedge with our weekly volunteers to finish the 60m section and burn the remaining brash. The final picture illustrates the 60m stretch layed in three to a good start with the hedgelaying season thanks to the volunteers and the Borrowdale estate team.

  • Finishing off at Stickle Ghyll & working on Gowbarrow

    10:41 18 November 2011
    By Ade Mills, Pete Entwistle, Leo Walmsley

    During the end of October and early November we finally finished off our path repair project at Stickle Ghyll. Our main piece of work was a short section of pitching with an incorporated drain just before the stepping stones.

    Area before the stepping stones in need of repair

    We managed to squeeze all four Rangers onto the section that needed to be worked on so we rattled through the work in just a few days.

    Section just prior to completion

    Once we'd finished the pitching and drain we put down the last of our grass seed, and had a general tidying up of the area. This involved removing any excess rock that had been dug out, taking down our signs, collecting all the helicopter bags together and dismantling the shed.

    With our work at Stickle Ghyll now completed for the year we moved on to work on a section of path at Gowbarrow in Ullswater.

    Unloading the bags at Gowbarrow

    As you can see in the photograph above, the section we were working on was particularly wet and boggy. This had caused people to try and avoid the area which in turn had produced several additional paths, so our work was to remove all the extra paths and get everyone back on to one line again.

    Pete working on the drain

    The work involved constructing around ten metres of pitched path and a large stone drain that would remove much of the water from the path. The work was made more difficult by the boggy conditions but the path quickly started to take shape.

    Section of path before the drain

    Once the pitching was all in place we were left with large quantities of peat that had been dug out from the path. This was moved either by shovelling, or using plastic trugs, to fill in the additional paths and other eroded areas around the footpath and recreate a more natural looking landscape.

    Section of path above the drain

    With this work completed and winter looming that's the end of our upland footpath repair work for this year. So over the next few months we'll be turning our hands to a wider range of estate work around the property. Of course, we'll keep you updated.
  • Tongue Gill Bridge

    15:30 12 November 2011
    By Roland Wicksteed, Dave Jackson, Dave Almond, James Archer, Neil Winder

    The last few days we have been transporting the materials needed to replace the damaged bridge on the Tongue gill path from Grasmere.
    The damaged bridge
     We start by using the Land Rovers off road capabilities to  move the beams up the path.
         Moving slowly up the path

    Once the beams are at there destination we return to the road to collect the rest of the materials, treads, uprights and hand rails.
    Work will commence in the next few weeks to take down the old bridge and rebuild with new timbers.
     Seat Sandal to the left
     The Slopes of Fairfield

    The Tongue Gill route is a popular path leading to Seat Sandal, Grisedale tarn and up on to Fairfield. As you walk and look back the views across to Helm Crag and Gibson Knott are Fantastic.

  • What The Heck!!

    08:33 11 November 2011
    By Maurice Pankhurst, Jack Deane, Paul Delaney, Andy Warner , Daniel Simpson

    Today at the office I thought what the heck. A trip up Honister was in order to replace the water heck near the cattle grid.
    Looking down Honister Pass
    We had a helping hand from the Forestry team to take the 20ft pole and the monster which was the heck, on their Forwarder. Just looking at the heck in the work shop you would think there were Bison living up on Honister.
    The Heck in position
    The first stage was to get the Forwarder in to position so that it could get the old pole out, and then get the new pole in to position. When the pole was in position and secure it was time to get the heck in to position.

    We used two straps to hang it off the pole for a temporary measure.This helped us to make adjustments to the heck so that it will open properly and not get caught on the rocks that were in the beck.

     This also helped us to get our holes drilled in the pole for the pins to go through, and get our hangers in to position.  Once it was all lined up and in the correct position, the straps were removed.

    Robert has a comfy seat after a few hours hard work
      A good days work with our volunteers up on Honister with the weather on our side for once.
  • Canoe the View

    11:48 07 November 2011
    By Maurice Pankhurst, Jack Deane, Paul Delaney, Andy Warner , Daniel Simpson

    Just off Rampsholme Island
    Sunday 6th November saw us joining our Derwentwater Foreshore Project on a fantastic canoe trip round the islands on Derwentwater, we were accompanied by Jamie Lund ,National Trust archaeologist along with Karl and Paul from the Keswick Canoe Company who supplied our boats and equipment and didn't laugh too much at our clumsy paddling techniques!  ( I'm assured we got better as the day went on).

    We set off from the foreshore, nine of us in five canoes and headed straight or as straight as we could manage for St Herbert's Island, the 7th century home of St Herbert. where Jamie showed us the site of the Chapel and told of how the island became a popular pilgrimage site in Medieval times.

    Jamie entertaining us on St Herbert's Isle
    From there we paddled on for a short stop just off Rampsholme , 'the isle of wild  garlic' the site of an ancient iron bloomery,a primitive iron smelting furnace,it was interesting to hear that the Wild Garlic which gives the island it's name is now becoming scarce due to large numbers of geese  grazing the island, I wonder is there a market  for  garlic infused goose?

    Off we set again, a more dignified paddling style was developing by now, and  we were soon beaching the canoes on Lord's Island, once Jamie had explained the history and showed us some maps  it was fairly easy to imagine the manor house which stood on the island and  is believed to have been dismantled around the time of the English Civil War .

    Sunset on Derwentwater
    Our last island was the only inhabited one on the lake, Derwent island ,so landing was not possible.We allowed our canoes to drift slowly just off shore and whilst watching the sunset, heard all about the history of the island , it's use as a base for German miners in Elizabethan times and the exploits of Joseph Pocklington who bought the island around 1778 for £300 and set about building the house and many follies around the island including a porter’s lodge, a fort, a Gothic chapel-boathouse, as well as a standing stone and ‘druids circle’.

    As darkness closed in we  paddled quietly back to the foreshore enjoying the  final stretch of a  wonderful couple of hours, I can't think of a finer way to spend a Sunday afternoon and look forward to next time.
  • It's not just Landrovers

    09:14 02 November 2011
    By Maurice Pankhurst, Jack Deane, Paul Delaney, Andy Warner , Daniel Simpson

    Our Forestry team are just as good!