News from Mark Astley for December 2012

  • Seasons thoughts

    11:58 21 December 2012
    By Maurice Pankhurst, Mark Astley, Jack Deane, Paul Delaney, Andy Warner , Daniel Simpson, Jessie Binns, Geoff Medd, Joe Cornforth

    Have yourself a merry little Christmas.
    A very merry Christmas to all those who follow us. I hope you have enjoyed the blog, following us through our many highs and a few lows. Our job largely is to help people enjoy there visit to the marvellous countryside that we care for in the northern Lake District, and if possible to enhance their experience. So if we fix a gate, or resurface a path, it gives us satisfaction to know that we are directly making that experience more enjoyable, even if this can be quite subliminal to the user. Installing information panels like those at Friars Crag, which, incidentally, are proving very popular, is an obvious way in which we can go that little bit further to give people more of an insight into the area. But there are also more subtle ways. Try checking this out:
    So it has been a very good year for us, and we really want to thank all those people who have helped us in our achievements. All of this would be so much harder without your help.
    Let your heart be light.
    Christmas in the Lakes can be an extra special time. For me it is a time of appreciation, both of this wonderful area in which I live and work, but also of the people whom I hold dear. The District is quieter, the walking offers a bit more solitude, and the break from work allows me to draw breath, relax and re-focus. During the summer Sue, my partner, and I walked the Lake District section of the Coast to Coast walk, and it really refreshed my appreciation of this marvellously varied landscape which we call home, really brought it home to me what it is all about. The Christmas break often works the same way, and at the end of the day there is Hot Chocolate with a dash of rum, and mince pies. I like mine with a full pastry lid, which I remove, add a liberal spoonful of Cumberland Rum Butter to the pie, then squash down the lid on top. Yummee! So how do you like yours?
    From now on our troubles will be out of sight.
    Well probably not! During the summer there is always lots of emergency work where we have to react to an event, either natural or man made. Sometimes these can be really annoying, but we have to remember that in the general scheme of things they occupy a tiny proportion of our time, and are created by a tiny minority of our visitors. As always a big thank you to all the people who have helped us with these. Also specifically this year our eyes will be trained on the tree tops, for from springtime onwards we will be looking out for signs of Ash Dieback. And we will be hoping that we do not find any, but….

    And in the meantime

    … have yourselves a merry little Christmas now

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.

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