News from Mark Astley for April 2012

  • Elite Ranger hits National News

    09:14 17 April 2012
    By Maurice Pankhurst, Mark Astley, Jack Deane, Paul Delaney, Andy Warner , Daniel Simpson, Geoff Medd, Joe Cornforth

    The secret identity of Captain Skim can now be revealed... as Mark Astley, ranger for Buttermere & Ennerdale valleys.  As promised, here is an exclusive interview (oh, apart from the ones in the Sun, Telegraph, Mail, Express, Times, BBC Newsround, Look North, BBC Radio Cumbria, radio Merseyside etc.)
    So, Mark, why on earth are you called Captain Skim?
    Lots of rangers all over the country were nominated for a skill they had.  I've always included skimming stones in our events and family days, but I couldn't believe it when I was told that that I was going to become a super-hero called Captain Skim with the super power of stone-skimming, I thought "here comes the leg-pulling"...

    How did you become Captain Skim?
    I was chosen with four other people in the country to help the Trust promote its campaign of ‘50 Things To Do Before You’re 11¾’, and I had a right laugh.  The others were (l-r)Midas the Treasure Hunter, me, Tree-Man, Bug Hunter and Den Boy. I think I got the best name!

    What's the campaign about?
    The campaign is about getting children off the sofa and from behind the computer and into nature and allowing them to have the amazing experiences like the ones we had when we were children.
    When I was a child I spendt my whole time outdoors running around and getting messy.  But children today are so wrapped in cotton wool that they do not have the chance to enjoy the outdoors and the many adventures the natural world has to offer.
    The '50 Things To Do Before You’re 11¾' initiative is in response to a report commissioned by the National Trust which highlighted research that fewer than one in ten children regularly play in wild places compared to almost half a generation ago, a third have never climbed a tree and one in ten can't ride a bike.

    How do families get involved?
    They can download a voucher from the National Trust website for free entry to National Trust houses this weekend (21st-22nd April).  Also families can register on the 50 Things To Do website where you can tick off the list of 50 things to do as you complete them, and get rewards.
    Click here to go to the website:
  • New super-hero for West Cumbria

    10:05 16 April 2012
    By Maurice Pankhurst, Mark Astley, Jack Deane, Paul Delaney, Andy Warner , Daniel Simpson, Geoff Medd, Joe Cornforth

    We're feeling very honoured this week, because we have a new super-hero in our midst.  He was caught on video demonstrating his super-powers.  Bring on... Captain Skim! Captain Skim lives amongst us as a National Trust ranger. Can anyone help reveal his secret identity? We hope to have an interview with him here soon.
  • You can't make an omelette

    12:51 09 April 2012
    By Maurice Pankhurst, Mark Astley, Jack Deane, Paul Delaney, Andy Warner , Daniel Simpson, Geoff Medd, Joe Cornforth

    Without breaking some eggs

    And the walls came tumbling down
    ©Ennerdale & Kinniside School
    Thursday saw Rangers Dan and Paul and Volunteer Jim head off to Ennerdale School for the second phase of our garden restoration project, as mentioned before, our  Wordsworth House Gardener Amanda is designing the garden and it's new planting scheme and we're doing the hard landscaping. Today's task was to remove crumbling facing stone from the retaining walls to prepare for a more suitable sandstone arriving next week. Before long we had removed the flagstones from the wall top and set about stripping back the facing stone, alarmingly quite a lot of the retaining wall came with it so more repairs needed!! By mid morning we had made good progress and were rewarded with coffee and cake, Dan even had whipped cream and chocolate sprinkles in his coffee!!

    Yum Yum
    ©Ennerdale & Kinniside School

    We got back to it and by lunchtime were starting to barrow loads of stone into a waiting trailer it was a surprise how quickly the trailer was filled, lots more stone than we'd originally thought, but soon it was off the short distance where it will be used as backfill in repairs to a collapsed river bank and track.When we'd swept and tidied the playground the scale of next weeks task,refacing the walls, became apparent, hopefully a good turnout of volunteers and some nice weather will help us on our way, check back here and see how we're getting on, and if you're passing, pop in and say hello.

    A quick sweep up and we're ready for the next bit
    ©Ennerdale & Kinniside School

News from Mark Astley

Photo of Mark Astley

Ranger for the Buttermere and Ennerdale valleys, I live in Loweswater with my family; three boys aged 15, 11 and 9. I'm a very keen fisherman, an amateur archaeologist and work very closely with farmers within the valleys. In my spare time I'm a rugby coach for Cockermouth Rugby Union club. I have been working for the National Trust for over 25 years. For me, it is a way life not a job.

07786 856 443