Team news for June 2014

  • The last full week in June. Variety is the spice....

    19:46 28 June 2014
    By Roland Wicksteed, Dave Jackson, Dave Almond, James Archer, Neil Winder, Ben Knipe


    On Monday the first job was to clear up litter from Windermere's lake shore after a weekend of sunny weather; the image above was taken at Millerground. Cockshott Point and Jenkyn's field are other lake shore properties that are regularly patrolled by Central and East Lakes countryside rangers. 

    Millerground Gates. 

    The oak gates to Millerground were not looking at their best. The fittings were ready for a repaint as well.
    The gates were sanded down..
    treated to some teak oil..
    and the fittings including the hinges and gate catch repainted.

    Wall by the path to Stickle Ghyll.

    Part of the wall, particularly the coyne end by the gate, was ready for a rebuild; the image above shows the wall in the process of being taken down prior to rebuilding it.
    Work was frequently interrupted by the many visitors using the path. Good opportunities to engage! This school group are on their way back from ghyll scrambling.
    The rebuilt section of wall finally completed!

    Invasive Species Control.

    The rare Touch Me Not balsam stands ..the only balsam native to the UK... are constantly under threat from the highly invasive Himalayan Balsam..(the larger plants in the image above). If left unchecked they will encroach more and more on the native plants and take their place. Touch Me Not Balsam is the only food source for the rare Netted Carpet Moth caterpillars...see post To Conserve and Protect! on this blog site.
    The pink flower of the Himalayan Balsam.
    The yellow flower of the Touch Me Not Balsam.
    Himalayan Balsam pulled out from the vicinity of the Touch Me Not Balsam stand.
    Netted Carpet Moth...usually on the wing between mid July and late August.

    Watering the trees at Troutbeck Park Farm.

    The trees, especially the oaks, planted earlier this year as part of the project to enhance the wood pasture at Troutbeck Park Farm have struggled to come into leaf; the protracted dry spell is probably at the root of the problem. Regular watering of the trees is now taking place and thankfully leaves are now beginning to appear.
    Water containers are filled up from Troutbeck itself and taken up by vehicle as far as possible to where the trees are. This process is surprisingly time consuming as the trees are widely spaced apart and need a lot of water at this critical stage of their development.

    All in all a fairly crowded week!

  • Halloween has come early...

    09:06 27 June 2014
    By John Atkinson, Nick Petrie, Paul Kear , Richard Tanner, Rob Clarke, Glenn Bailey, Sarah Anderson, Sam Stalker, Ian Griffiths, Matthew Allmark, Stuart Graham, Paul Farrington, John Moffat, Craig Hutchinson, Clair Payne, Luke Sherwen

    Or so it would seem. On your travels out and about, you may have noticed some of our hedgerows covered in strange cobwebs. It appears that rather like our supermarkets bringing out the Easter eggs and Christmas cards 6 months early, that someone or something has been decorating our hedgerows with some spooky webs ready to celebrate all-hallows eve!

    Hedges decorated with cobwebs along the Great Langdale Beck 
    Caterpillar amongst cobwebs along a hedgerow on the Wray Castle road

    But what is encasing trees and hedges in webs and stripping them bare of all their leaves?

    The culprit? The ermine moth, this one is the Bird cherry ermine (Yponomeuta evonymella). This is the most common type on the north. The easiest way to identify them is to look at the host plant. (check out to find out more about moths in the British Isles)

    The creature in question is the ermine moth. From my research and speaking to other much more knowledgeable rangers, it seems that this is a fairly natural phenomenon. The ermine moth caterpillars live on host plants (the specific plant depends on which type of ermine moth it is), working together to cover the plant in cobwebs to protect them from parasitic wasps and birds for anything up to 6 weeks, feeding off the leaves underneath. When their delicacy runs out, the caterpillars simply move onto another host plant, devouring the leaves until they are ready to ‘hatch’ into the beautiful ermine moth. Yet despite this destruction, the tree or shrub will recover growing new leaves in that season! The ermine moths will lay their eggs in the host plant a few weeks after pupating, where the caterpillars will over-winter ready to eat the new growth in the spring. So despite the webs looking rather destructive and sometimes sinister, it is not in the interests of the ermine moth to kill of its host plant.

    The ermine moth is certainly hungry this year!

    The moth usually is small, whitish and long with rows of black dots on its wings depending on the variety. As you can see, it is one of the prettier moths we have in the British Isles. The moths form an important part of the ecosystem, being an excellent food source for many predators and act as excellent pollinators too. Most moths are harmless and even beneficial. Some, like this particular moth, look rather more like a pest. A quick google search brought up lots of examples of cars, bikes and whole rows of parkland trees that have been decimated by the ermine moth larvae or even something else entirely!

    It seems sometimes, the ermine moth is not picky about where it chooses to live! (Check out this blog for other freaky places that the ermine moth has chosen to live:

    The ermine moth is usually active in July and August so there is still plenty of time to get out and look in our hedgerows for this almost freaky act of nature. Some of the best examples of devoured hedgerows in the South Lakes I have found tend to be along road edges such as up and over Hawkshead Hill but also river courses such as along Great Langdale Beck towards Elterwater and along some of our footpaths such as the ones around Blelham Tarn. Hedgerows that were planted by the National Trust rangers and volunteers 10+ years ago are acting as host plants to the ermine moth caterpillar. It is a great feeling to see the benefits to wildlife from our conservation work.

    It is hard to believe that the hedgerow plants will recover!

    It isn’t hard to see why this moth is sometimes considered a pest. Some say it is more prolific this year, which could be due to our warming climate or just an unseasonable warm and sunny spring. Keep an eye out to see what happens in the years to come…. Maybe we won’t notice them so much next year!

  • Working for cleaner water.

    10:21 26 June 2014
    By Roy Henderson

    I had a very pleasant day out last week with a team from Natural England. This gave us the opportunity to show them the work we're doing within the Water Framework Directive.  This is the national policy aimed at improving water quality so it influences much that we do here in the Lake District.

    With that in mind, John Malley (our regional water advisor) and I planned some visits to see relevant projects in our North Lakes area.

    We began with a visit to the new treatment plant at Force Crag Mine.  At this early stage, it is showing all signs that it is working incredibly well.

    There wasn’t time to fit in a visit to Stoneycroft Ghyll  but we did have a  discussion about contributing to erosion control and slope stabilization in and around the ghyll with our installation of chains for the use of scramblers.  We then looked at our work on the woodland expansion schemes.  This also contributes to slope stabilization.

    Our final visit was to High Snab Farm to talk to Tom about his hay meadows which are thriving and looking exceptionally good at this time of year.  Indeed, High Snab in general is looking fantastic.

    Each of these projects has a part to play in reducing the amount of pollution and sediment being washed down in streams and rivers into the lakes.

    Quote of the week came from one of the Natural England team who wished that we could clone Tom and have him throughout the Lake District.

    Daisy here.

    Roy’s been looking at flowers.  So have I.  It’s great when you roll on them.
  • Come rain or shine

    09:00 20 June 2014
    By John Atkinson, Nick Petrie, Paul Kear , Richard Tanner, Rob Clarke, Glenn Bailey, Sarah Anderson, Sam Stalker, Ian Griffiths, Matthew Allmark, Stuart Graham, Paul Farrington, John Moffat, Craig Hutchinson, Clair Payne, Luke Sherwen

    This being the Lake District, the weather has a big influence on our days’ work in the fells.  The perfect day for working is a dry day with a breeze to keep us cool and keep the midges away.  It doesn’t always work out like this though and we’re glad of it.

    We’ve had days where there have been cloud inversions.  This is when all the valleys are full of cloud and the fell summits are clear.  All you can see is the highest peaks just poking out from a sea of cloud.  This usually happens towards the back end of our season on the high fells, around the autumn time. 

    On days like these we’ve had fleeting glimpses of Brocken Spectres.  These occur when the sun is behind you and your shadow is cast on to the cloud below with a circular rainbow around it.  They have an eerie feel to them and it can look like someone is walking on the cloud next to you.  Fortunately, we’ve had very brief glimpses of these Spectres but unfortunately, not enough time to get the camera out so below is a picture of a rainbow over one of our work sites in Ullswater instead.

    More often than not though it’s usually the other way round and we’re working in the cloud.  Whilst not getting good views, it does become atmospheric.   Visibility can be reduced to as little 10 Metres and when the little Herdwick lambs pass our work site you can maybe see where some of the Big Cat sightings might come from.

     Rain plays a crucial role in our work.  There are three main factors that contribute to path erosion in the fells.  People, steepness of slope and water.  If you have all three of these in large amounts then it can cause problems on the landscape.  If you reduce even just one of these factors then the chance of large scale erosion is reduced.  This is why we always look at drainage on the fell paths.  The best days to do this are on rainy days and that’s why we’ll be out on even the rainiest days of the year.

    We’ve found that the weather can vary greatly from valley to valley.  Our current work site is a good example of this.  One side of Striding Edge can be clear and the other side in cloud all day.  Come rain or shine, the Lakes is a special place to work in.

    follow us @ntlakes fells
  • Adventures in the wood.

    12:14 19 June 2014
    By Roy Henderson

    Last weekend I combined our regional and my local volunteering groups.  These are all very experienced people that I have worked with many times and they always do a phenomenal amount of work.

    This time we continued the work in Cockshot Wood behind the theatre.  This is a wood with lots of potential to develop so we are going to create a zone where the children can be excitable and make as much noise as they want without disrupting wildlife or other people.  It’s all part of the National Trust’s big project to show children how much fun they can have outdoors.

    We have started to make a wild play trail so this time we were building a balancing beam. We are using timber from one of our other woods that was being thinned as part of the regular forestry work.

    The result will be 40 metres of beam made by laying out the trees and staking them so that they don’t wobble from side to side.  The beam will become progressively harder as the children move from one end to the other so it will be a challenge (even for adults!) to successfully walk its full length.  This will lead into other activities which will be planned with local school children. 

    We were making terrific progress with this when the unpredictable happened and one of the volunteers had an accident that damaged one of his fingers. I phoned for an ambulance and the crew arrived quickly and were as brilliant as ever.

    I have spoken to him since then and the damage won’t leave any lasting effect thankfully. It just shows that even with experienced volunteers and taking sensible precautions, accidents can still happen.

    Daisy here,

    I’ve been playing in the woods with loads of volunteers.  It’s great. Loads of people.  I’m doing really well with my dog training.

  • Stone picking, scrub clearing, grass strimming, brush cutting, Austin outing....Aira Force!

    05:49 19 June 2014
    By Roland Wicksteed, Dave Jackson, Dave Almond, James Archer, Neil Winder, Ben Knipe

    After extensive refurbishment works to Aira Force car park, a big tidy up was needed for the surrounding area.
    Audrey, "barring" a large stone out of the banking above the car park at Aira Force. 
    Loading the quad trailer with stones. They will be used to fill in a boggy area.
    Steve, raking up some smaller stone prior to grass seeding.
    The scrub further along the bank needing to be cleared.
    Steve using chainsaw to cut out and clear the larger scrub.
    The clearance to the left has revealed a lot more stone that will need to be shifted.
    Ready to take the first load of scrub or brash away.
    John, raking up.
    More brash and stone awaiting removal. Getting tidier.
    Ray on "ride on brush cutter". By the path leading up to Aira Force.
    Strimming back large nettle patch.
    The area in front of the cafe before...
    and after strimming.
    A little work was needed on the strimmer after it "found" some discarded wire in the undergrowth!
    Austin Sevens in the new improved Aira Force Car Park.
    All the way...
    from Cornwall!


  • Some routine 'housekeeping'.

    09:13 12 June 2014
    By Roy Henderson

    After a few weeks of activities surrounding events like the Keswick Mountain Festival and the increased numbers of children during half-term, last week I returned to the routine Ranger duties that form the background to all that we do.

    One of those was to walk the path beneath Falcon Crag overlooking Derwentwater.  I’d had a report from a member of the public about tree branches beginning to overhang the path.  So, I spent an incredibly pleasant morning with Daisy walking and trimming back branches that were indeed beginning to hinder easy access along the path. The path is now fit for use by more members of the public without having to duck under or scramble around the obstructing branches.

    These are just basic ‘rangering’ duties but it was good to be back on the ground doing some practical work.

    Hi its Daisy here.

    I’ve been running around on the fells again.  It’s great.  We walked to Falcon Crag.  You could hear the peregrines.  They’re a bit scary.  Have you seen how fast they can fly?

    Question from Roy: 
    How fast do you think a peregrine falcon can fly?

    a.        Up to 50 miles per hour
    b.      100 to 150 mph
    c.       More than 200 mph

    You can find out about the speed of peregrines here.
  • Looking for an adventure this Summer...

    07:06 12 June 2014
    By Roland Wicksteed, Dave Jackson, Dave Almond, James Archer, Neil Winder, Ben Knipe

    If you are looking for a new challenge this summer and enjoy being outdoors, why not come and join the National Trust on one of our outdoor events at Sticklebarn.

    We have teamed up with Pinpoint Adventure to provide great opportunities for people to get out in the Lake District Fells and have fun, whether you are joining us for a day Ghyll Scrambling or an overnight stay on our Hill Walking Expedition and Wild Camping, there is something for all ages.

    Ghyll Scrambling

    Tues 29 Jul & Fri 29th Jul
    Morning Session: 9am- 12pm Afternoon Session 1-4pm
    Price: Adult £25 Child £10 (Min Age 8)

    What is it? 
    Ghyll scrambling is the combination of climbing, walking and scrambling whilst ascending a ghyll (stream or small river). Involving various exciting challenges through and around the water; providing a brilliant way to adventure in to the mountains.

    The ghyll scrambling sessions take place at Stickle Ghyll (Great Langdale), meandering its way up towards Pavey Ark.This is an exciting and challenging ghyll, but also an excellent introduction to ghyll scrambling.
    We will meet at the Stickle Barn Tavern (Great Langdale, Ambleside, Cumbria LA22 9JU).

    We will run morning and afternoon sessions (will confirm which session you are on).
    For the morning session we will meet at 8:50am, this allows us to get started at 9am and finish at 12pm (back to the Sticklebarn Tavern for 12pm or just after).

    For the afternoon session we will meet at 12.50pm, this allows us to get started at 1pm and finish at 4pm (back to the Sticklebarn Tavern for 4pm or just after). 

    The session itself
    This is a 3 hour session in which we will look to gradually build the skills and challenges of ghyll scrambling. The overall aim of the session is to have an enjoyable and safe time. 

    Finish off your adventure at the Sticklebarn Pub where you can warm up with a hot drink and cake

    Hill Walking and Wild Camping 

    Sat 2 - Sun 3 Aug &Tue 19 - Wed 20 Aug
    Depart 1pm - 12 noon the following day
    Price: £45 (Min age 8, must be accompanied by adult)

    What is it? 
    A two day walking expedition through the mountains of Langdale, taking in some of the best scenery the Lake District has to offer, with a remote overnight camp. Also covering some of the essential considerations when out in the hills such as navigation, weather and route planning.

    The hill walking expedition takes place in Langdale, starting from the Stickle Barn Tavern (Great Langdale, Ambleside, Cumbria LA22 9JU). From Stickle Barn we will journey in to the hills and mountains of the Lake District, depending upon the prevailing weather conditions we will complete a route involving some of the following mountains; Pavey Ark, Harrison Stickle, Pike of Stickle, Cold Pike, Pike of Blisco. These are some of the most iconic mountains in the Lake District and provide an excellent introduction to expedition hill walking.

    We will meet at 12:45pm on Day 1 at the Sticklebarn Tavern (The National Trust will confirm which dates you are on), this allows us to get started at 1pm. We will then walk through the afternoon, before reaching our wild camp late afternoon/early evening.
    We will then spend the night at our wild camp, with the addition of a short walk for sunset/photo opportunities (weather permitting).
    On Day 2 we will walk back to the Sticklebarn Tavern from our wild camp, with the option of sunrise (if the sunset was not viable), returning no later than 12pm. 

    The expedition itself
    This is a 2 day expedition in which we will look to gradually build the skills and challenges of expedition hill walking. The overall aim of the expedition is to have an enjoyable and safe time.

    Finish off your adventure the next morning with breakfast at Sticklebarn

    Guidance on equipment that will be provided and what you need to bring on the day will be available when making enquiries or booking.

    For bookings enquiries please call    015394 32733 

  • Resuming our upland work

    12:12 11 June 2014
    By Ade Mills, Pete Entwistle, Leo Walmsley

    Since our last blog post we've started our Fix the Fells work repairing a few of the upland paths in Grasmere, Langdale and Ullswater.

    Our first job was to prepare for our work up on Gowbarrow that we'd started last year. Once again we needed to fly some materials to the work site, so we set about filling some bags with gravel with a little help from the Langdale & Grasmere ranger team.

     Loading the bags with gravel

    The day of the lift went pretty smoothly and we thankfully got all the materials flown to site.

     Flying the materials on to Gowbarrow

    Another job that we're working on this year is at Helm Crag.

    Starting work

    You can see in the photograph below that the path had previously been worked on, but some of this had started to fall out as the ground around it had eroded. The bits that had not been worked on have also deteriorated.

     Bottom section before starting work

    Rock had been flown to the site previously but we're also supplementing it with rock that had been used for previous repairs.

     After a few days work

    You can see in the following photograph how bad the path has become. There's a lot of loose rubble on the path and the bank to the left is badly eroded.

     Mid-section before starting work

    After just a few days work the path has already started to take shape.

    Mid-section after being worked on

    We're also working up at Esk Hause again this year, continuing to widen the path and improve the drainage.

     Old path before repairs

    It takes about two and a half hours to walk to and from the work site, plus there's also a time consuming drive on top of that, so this really eats into the time left for working. Because of this, we're being helped out by the North Lakes team this year, to help speed things along.

    The North Lakes team lend a hand
  • 50 Things. Cockshott Point.

    15:15 07 June 2014
    By Roland Wicksteed, Dave Jackson, Dave Almond, James Archer, Neil Winder, Ben Knipe

    Cockshott Point is a small promontory located to the south of Bowness. It is one of the few public access points to Windermere's eastern shoreline.

    Cockshott Point, overlooking Ferry House, and Claife Heights on the west side of Windermere.

    It is a very popular strip of land as it has an easily accessible and level lakeside path with beautiful views across Windermere. 

    Cockshott Point with a view across the narrow strip of water to the Round House on Belle Isle, Windermere's largest island.

    The National Trust acquired Cockshott Point in the late 1920s with help from Beatrix Potter. She sold 50 drawings to raise funds for the purchase!
    Countless people have enjoyed free access to this lovely place ever since.

    As part of the National Trust's campaign for 50 things to do before you're 11 3/4, Bill and Neil have set up for two of the things to do alongside the Cockshott Point path.

    Plant it, Grow it, Eat it and.........kites!

    Bill involved with some intricate kite making........ is Neil!
    Bill explaining the benefits of being a National Trust member to an interested passerby.
    The MV Tern (1891 vintage) passing between Cockshott Point and Belle Isle on her way to the nearby jetty at Bowness to the north.
    Another view of Windermere's west shore. It has been said that the wooded area, managed by the National Trust, has at least one example of every native tree found in the UK.
    The wooded are to the east side of Cockshott Point has lots of potential for finding some more of the 50 things to do...............
    ...............and so does the beach!

  • Meeting people.

    16:36 06 June 2014
    By Roy Henderson

    It’s hard to believe that May has already been and gone!  There were two Bank Holidays, a week for the Keswick Mountain Festival and a school half-term week so it feels as though I have spent a whole month of engaging with people.  I spent quite a lot of my time outside the Trust shop handing out booklets about the brilliant National Trust project 50 things to do before you're 11 ¾.  So, I have talked to a lot of children and parents about the fun and excitement they can have in the outdoors.  The Trust has now started to add to its list lots of suggestions that have come from children – some of those can be seen here.

    I was keeping a tally of the numbers I talked to and it ran into thousands.  It is great to think that many of them will have gone on to enjoy some of the activities in the booklet.  Hopefully they will carry on and do more in future.  Most of the ideas are so simple that they might seem uninteresting to adults but seeing the delight of small children making mud pies or building dens for example dispels that idea very quickly.

    Children were also at the heart of another day when I returned with a local school group to Watendlath. This time they did some navigation with a difference.  I had prepared a course where they navigated to six different points.  At each point they used a digital camera to take pictures of things that they found interesting.  

    They made their own choices of what to photograph.  It was interesting to see how often their choice differed from what I would have chosen.  And that is as it should be.  This activity was designed to encourage them to look carefully and to explore for themselves.  They took some brilliant photographs.

    Daisy here,  

    I like saying hello to people but it’s really boring sitting outside the shop.  I’m tied up.  I don’t like it and, although people do stroke me, I’d rather be running around.
  • Achieving a Childhood Dream (spoiler alert – this blog is really cheesy).

    13:57 06 June 2014
    By John Atkinson, Nick Petrie, Paul Kear , Richard Tanner, Rob Clarke, Glenn Bailey, Sarah Anderson, Sam Stalker, Ian Griffiths, Matthew Allmark, Stuart Graham, Paul Farrington, John Moffat, Craig Hutchinson, Clair Payne, Luke Sherwen

    I don’t really like how outdoor magazines and travel sections are full of ‘bucket lists’ and ‘must dos’.  It feels like I’m being told what to like – and normally what to pay for – rather than following my own interests; and all these amazing adventures can become bullet points to tick off rather than experiences to savour.  All my favourite times, in the Lakes and beyond, have been when I’ve explored something personal to me – whether it’s walking, everything I look at from my window (or tent door), tracking down the source of my local beck, or exploring locations from my favourite books.  I want to get beyond the ‘nice’ view and understand what’s going on: where the dippers live, where the most characterful old trees are, how it’s been farmed, what these places meant – and mean - to other people, and what they mean to me.

    But, speaking of books, I did make a childhood dream come true recently, and it’s one that must be on a lot of peoples’ ‘bucket lists’ (ugh).  Peel Island on Coniston Water is famous as the inspiration for Wildcat Island in Arthur Ransome’s Swallows and Amazons books, and it’s a place that’s had a firm hold on my imagination since I read the series over and over again at primary school.  Looking back, I’ve no idea why I’d never visited before, either with my family or as an adult – it was only a couple of hours from home in south Manchester, where a week’s summer holiday sailing club on the urban reservoir at Gorton was the closest I ever came to my dreams of joining the crew.  Somehow, even though I came camping and walking in the Lakes, the island still seemed like a place from another world, as if I never really believed that it was something you could actually make a plan to go and see.  

    So it was with some excitement that I realised Peel Island was in the Coniston patch when I started working here a few months ago.  On my first day I gazed across at it from the incredible oak woods on the east shore – home to the charcoal burners that the Swallows befriend – and tried to play it cool in front of my new boss.  And I didn’t want to fabricate a reason to visit, so it was only recently that I managed to make the trip, when we actually had some work to do there.  

    But it was worth the wait!  The stars aligned, and a cloudless sky and the freshly green trees on the shore reflected perfectly in the absolutely still lake – it was impossibly beautiful to be out on the water, which added to the surreal air of the whole trip. Dunlins bickered on the rocks, oblivious to us paddling gently by and affording us a closer view than we’d ever get on land.  In the bow, the Ship’s Boy (intern Paul) and Ship’s Dog were on the lookout for rocks underwater, and despite a lack of diligence of which Roger would have been ashamed, we made it into the secret harbour. 

    Things got increasingly surreal as we explored and the harbour, the camping spot and the swimming beach all appeared as if lifted from the pages of the books and built to order, theme-park style, and all bathed in crystalline early morning light.  I’m trying really hard not to sound cheesy or resort to cliché, but the simple facts are that it really was a little childhood dream come true, and that, for once, the reality really was as good as the idea I’d held in my imagination for so long.  It was incredibly exciting, and to be honest, quite moving to connect my life now, workingon a patch which includes Peel Island, with the ten year old book-worm sat day-dreaming on the concrete slipway of Gorton Water Park.

    But y’know, with my level ranger head on I should also add that I did find the time to notice that the woodland on the island provides a fascinating example of the ecological processes of the Atlantic upland oakwoods when not exposed to grazing pressure from livestock or deer, and we did have work to do.  Amongst other things, we had to simply make sure that the island was both safe and tidy, as lots of people do make the pilgrimage by canoe or sailboat.  It was really heart-warming to find that it was fairly litter-free – contrary to our expectations, sadly.  So thanks to everyone who takes rubbish away from this special place.  

    I re-read the first couple of Ransome’s books following our trip, and although lots of the adult criticisms became newly apparent to me – they are irritatingly upper-middle class and exclusive – the fact that those reservations didn’t matter to me as a suburban oik of a child says it all.  They’re fantastic, engaging books that inspire a love of the outdoors and a thirst for adventure, and I owe them a lot.  And although my instinct is to be wary of pre-prepared bucket lists and the experiences which we’re told are ‘must do’ – which Peel Island is for any Ransome fan – sometimes, when it means something to you, a must do experience can be truly meaningful and memorable.
    Normal cynical service resumes next time.