News from Clair Payne for August 2013

  • Wrapping up loose ends

    09:00 30 August 2013
    By Clair Payne, Craig Hutchinson, Glenn Bailey, Ian Griffiths, John Atkinson, John Moffat, Luke Sherwen, Matthew Allmark, Nick Petrie, Paul Farrington, Paul Kear , Richard Tanner, Rob Clarke, Sam Stalker, Sarah Anderson, Stuart Graham

    Always pleasing to wrap things up and here at the volunteer centre we’ve managed to finish off a few projects recently. There’s been a double whammy with the final completion of the Basecamp woodshed (getting the doors on) and getting the roof on the recycling store at Wray Castle.


    Basecamp Ranger Clair pleased to have finished the doors.
    We’ve been meaning to get the doors on the woodshed for ages now, but never seemed to find the time. Excuses, excuses etc, but they’re on now and we can finally lock one bay for drying while the other is open to be used by volunteers in our woodburner. Brilliant!

    The recycling bin store has had a slightly shorter gestation. Built in the same way, with the help of a National Trust working holiday (see blog entry on 26th July) we got the frame up at the end of this week. Here's a quick film showing some of how it was done on site...

     
    Needed a roof though, and that’s now gone on and made it look splendid. Admittedly, there’s still the cladding to go on the side but that’ll be a quick job ….. we’ll just try not to take a year over it this time …..

     The Castle recycling store looking beautiful
    Finally, there’s the Basecamp Squirrels film. This has been a project over the summer to make a short feature about the red squirrels that visit the Basecamp. There was a blog entry about them on 17th May with some cute pictures and a quick preview of the film on the 21st June blog entry, but we’ve now got the full length feature film – well, about 3 minutes …. You can watch it here:

    Post by Rob from High Wray Basecamp
  • Ditch the Car!

    15:31 23 August 2013
    By Clair Payne, Craig Hutchinson, Glenn Bailey, Ian Griffiths, John Atkinson, John Moffat, Luke Sherwen, Matthew Allmark, Nick Petrie, Paul Farrington, Paul Kear , Richard Tanner, Rob Clarke, Sam Stalker, Sarah Anderson, Stuart Graham

    Ditching the car for alternative means of transport probably brings some of us out in hives and mild panic attacks? However, it really is worth doing, and you’ll be surprised just how close a lot of our attractions are to each other, and how easy (and enjoyable) they are to get to by foot, boat, horse, bike or bus.
     
    There are two, ideally located National Trust Car Parks that provide a perfect starting point, these are Ash Landing, and Harrowslack. Both are located underneath the shadow of Claife viewing station, a site which we will all begin to see changing over the next couple of years, so take this opportunity to view it at its current state. Both of these car parks are a 5 minute walk to the Bowness car ferry (ferry house), and the Windermere passenger ferry. So, if you fancy a trip to Bowness or Windermere but don’t like the idea of driving around one of Lakeland’s busiest towns looking for a parking space, then this would be the solution for you. Also worth taking into account, the Windermere passenger ferry will take you all the way to Ambleside, and also stops at Wray Castle.

    Wray castle by bike
    Talking of which, why not WALK to Wray Castle? It’s a stunning four mile walk along the Lake shore. The bridleway was resurfaced as recent as September 2012, and is pretty much flat and an obvious route all the way (1 maybe 2 little hills, nothing too taxing at all). As a bonus Wray Castle. has a café so by the time you get there you will have earned that tea and cake. If you don’t fancy the walk back, then you can jump on the ferry or the bus back to ferry house. Getting to Hill Top (Beatrix Potters home) is just as close, in fact, it’s approximately 1.5 miles, and seeing as the Car Park at Hill Top (can get full very quickly, it’s well worth considering. The walk is stunning although it is steep to start with so bare this in mind. Also, in true Cumbrian fashion, there is an eatery located on route called the Tower Bank Arms, they do tea, coffee, fantastic food and *ahem* local ales (for the connoisseur’s out there).

    Hill top cottage, Home of Beatrix Potter
    In a nutshell, Ash Landing and Harrowslack provide a superb location for some introductory walks or bike rides, So why not leave your car behind for a day? Take a bike, walk or if you ride a horse take advantage of the bridleways. You’ll save a fortune in fuel and parking fees and you’ll get that all important warm fuzzy feeling that you are doing your bit for the environment.

    Enjoy, and see there …
  • The country goes to town

    09:00 16 August 2013
    By Clair Payne, Craig Hutchinson, Glenn Bailey, Ian Griffiths, John Atkinson, John Moffat, Luke Sherwen, Matthew Allmark, Nick Petrie, Paul Farrington, Paul Kear , Richard Tanner, Rob Clarke, Sam Stalker, Sarah Anderson, Stuart Graham

    Sending our Rangers from the Lakes to the middle of Manchester might seem a bit of an odd thing to do but it works a treat when you're spreading the word that the countryside is a great place for kids to enjoy.

    The National Trust had ranger and other staff from all over the North West helping out with the Trust's presence at the Dig The City festival in Manchester last week.

    The National Trust 's Dig the City 'treehouse'
    Dig the City is a week long urban garden festival that aims to transform a bit of Manchester into a garden city via food, flowers, a forest and a fête, with show gardens, markets, workshops and 100 tonnes of soil. The National Trust was just one of the corporate partners helping to make it a festival with variety and lots of fun.

    Our Rangers were there to run kids' acitivities related to our own campaign ' 50 things to do before you're 11&3/4', and activities on offer included making kites and mudpies (the latter was a favourite with kids and Rangers alike!). We know these things are popular as we've been running them at Wray Castle on our Fun Fridays during the school holidays.

    Our Lead Ranger John working on his mudpie production line


    Owly Images
    Den building in a slightly unusual setting!
    Here's the stand in action and spot our Ranger Sarah.

    A lot of activity round the tables
    And now for those lovely finished mud pies...



    For our Rangers this week it's back to working with a backdrop of hills, lakes and scenery; it's a tough life but someone has to do it!

  • The Lizard.

    20:06 14 August 2013
    By Clair Payne, Craig Hutchinson, Glenn Bailey, Ian Griffiths, John Atkinson, John Moffat, Luke Sherwen, Matthew Allmark, Nick Petrie, Paul Farrington, Paul Kear , Richard Tanner, Rob Clarke, Sam Stalker, Sarah Anderson, Stuart Graham


    The Lizard.

    Whilst living and working in the Lake District it is easy to forget the amazing landscapes in other parts of the country. Recently I visited Cornwall and took the opportunity to walk on the Lizard peninsula, the most southerly part of the British mainland. Alongside this dramatic stretch of coast line lie tales of smugglers and ship wrecks.
     
     

    As excise duties increased in the 18th Century smuggling became an industry in Cornwall, and perhaps nowhere more so than on The Lizard. Smugglers called themselves ‘free traders’ and for example, brought luxury goods, like tobacco and brandy from France. The goods were landed on the quiet coves of the peninsula where pack horses quickly took them to hiding places. It was believed, for instance, that nearly half a million gallons of brandy a year were being smuggled through Cornwall at this time.
     
     
     
     
     
    The Lizard sticks out into the Channel so far that it is the biggest ship trap in British waters.  Many ships have fallen victim to the Lizard's cliffs and underwater reefs. The wrecks of the Lizard are of all ages. Some contain real treasure. The Lizard is a Mecca for today's wreck divers, not just book talk of silver and gold, but real, in-the-diver's-palm, silver coins and ingots. Much has been recovered. More is still there to be found by the lucky Lizard diver.
     
     
  • An Interns Insight - 2 Weeks With The Footpath Team.

    09:00 09 August 2013
    By Clair Payne, Craig Hutchinson, Glenn Bailey, Ian Griffiths, John Atkinson, John Moffat, Luke Sherwen, Matthew Allmark, Nick Petrie, Paul Farrington, Paul Kear , Richard Tanner, Rob Clarke, Sam Stalker, Sarah Anderson, Stuart Graham

    As an Intern Ranger, I’ve had the opportunity to work with the Coniston, Woodland and Hawkshead teams. To complete the set, I’ve spent the last 2 weeks working with the Footpath team. I was a little apprehensive at first, walking uphill carrying a shovel and a mattock to build footpaths doesn’t appeal to me, but somehow, I found myself enjoying it, even in the rain and mud…

    During the first week we were working at Blea Moss with Basecamp and West Runton, pitching a new path to protect the moss and the flora within it. We also had a day with the fix the fells lengthsmen finishing the path at stake pass. The second week we were working on the Fairfield project. During these two weeks I learnt the basics:
    • Never cover up turf, take the turf off and replace it later.
    • Pitching - all about digging big holes, rolling big rocks into them and making sure they’re level with good contact to the surrounding rocks.
    • Landscaping - making mounds or hollows at either side of your new path to discourage people from straying from it.
    • The erosion triangle - people/steepness/water.
    • Cake is always welcome (though I think that goes for Rangers in general).
    • Don't roll rocks onto your feet or hands. 
    The path at Blea Moss progressed quite well during the week, but steadily became more and more muddy. Pitching holes were filling up with water instead of rocks, landscaping became playing in the mud and staying in one place for too long resulted in getting stuck.


    The start of the muddy pitching at Blea Moss, before the rain came and ran down the newly laid steps like a river.
    Stake pass had a slightly harder start to the day, about an hour’s walk up the valley into the cloud carrying a shovel and a mattock. Once up there we finished the section of path and topped up some other sections with extra gravel from the borrow pits (big pits dug out to get to the gravel underneath the peat, then filled back in by collapsing the banks and replacing the turf).

    The second week we were working on the Fairfield project, fortunately all the tools were already at the top in the cabin, so all I had to do was enjoy the walk up by the waterfall.


    
    Not a bad commute to work...
     The weather stayed fine and so I was able to experience pitching onto hard ground rather than mud. Working on Tom’s section we were able to pitch up to the point where a drain was to be put in, and managed to get some big stones in to compensate for the steepness of the section.

       
    
    The finished section of pitching.
     I really enjoyed my 2 weeks with the footpath team, I'm still smiling despite a couple of crushed fingers, and a slightly bruised foot. I will hopefully get a chance to go out again with them soon, even if it means carrying the tools uphill into a cloud...

    By Kimberley Goodall
  • Photographers, Drains and Summer Branch Drop

    11:41 02 August 2013
    By Clair Payne, Craig Hutchinson, Glenn Bailey, Ian Griffiths, John Atkinson, John Moffat, Luke Sherwen, Matthew Allmark, Nick Petrie, Paul Farrington, Paul Kear , Richard Tanner, Rob Clarke, Sam Stalker, Sarah Anderson, Stuart Graham


    Branch drop at Low Piel Near





    It has been the usual varied week, as seems to be so common in the life of a Ranger. I have spent quite a lot of time talking to visitors and suggesting places to visit and also picking up the litter that they unfortunately leave behind. I collected 12 bin bags full in 3 hours last weekend, with an assortment of items of clothing and shoes scattered across the countryside, there were also tents, unwanted food and the usual remains of BBQ's. Whilst on my travels I came across a branch that had been shed from a tree at Low Piel Near, this is as a result of process called "Summer Branch Drop" which can happen after periods of dry weather, when some of the trees shed a limb.


    We have also been out and about clearing blocked drains on footpaths and ensuring that the paths are not washing away. An important task that takes quite a long time, but is absolutely essential.


    For yet more variety I have met up with a couple of photographers to take them to some special places in the lakes. One photo shoot was for a high profile Men's fashion magazine up in the Tilberthwaite area and the other photographer was interested in high quality landscape photographs on a theme of Philanthropy, areas that have been left to the nation.

    A large Oak limb near to Red Nab














    Written by Sam Stalker

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/