News from Maurice Pankhurst for July 2011

  • Rock Star

    09:38 28 July 2011
    By Maurice Pankhurst, Jack Deane, Paul Delaney, Andy Warner

    We work amidst the most stunning scenery - fantastic, but kind of stating the obvious. The job sometimes brings more subtle pleasures such as the joy of handling rocks that are round about 350 million -yes, that is 350 million! - years old. The rock that Robert, our Thursday volunteer, is holding is called Purple Breccia. There are several different types of rock within the mass of the stone, giving it a kind of conglomerated nature . And it is the most fantastic colour, a really rich reddy purple.
    Imagine a volcano exploding! That very first dramatic release of energy that rockets rock and gases high into the sky. A broken and destroyed crust falls back to earth and is covered by the ash spewing from the volcano. Take a bow Purple Breccia! Well, that's the theory - or at least one of them! As with all things geological, there is always more than one theory.

    Purple Breccia in starring role in wall, can you spot it?
    Because of its amalgamated nature the rock breaks down into irregular lumps, and it can be quite difficult to work with, but the results can be very attractive. Purple Breccia occurs in only a few locations in the Lake District and if you are walking by the Borrowdale road or the lakeshore under Falcon Crag, keep your eyes open for this colourful, and distinctive rock.

  • Small pleasures

    21:48 14 July 2011
    By Maurice Pankhurst, Jack Deane, Paul Delaney, Andy Warner


    I'm Naomi, and my job managing the Derwentwater Foreshore Project takes me backwards and forwards between the NT North Lakes office and the lake shore. Fortunately the distance isn't too far, so most days I take the 15 minute walk down there instead of driving.

    One of the things I absolutely love is this footpath alongside the Borrowdale Road. It may just look like a way to get from A to B, but it's absolutely crammed full of wildlife. Yesterday I popped down to the Foreshore to take down some leaflets and the path was just crammed full of birds and butterflies, and all kinds of wild flowers- tufted vetch, stitchwort, buttercup, crosswort, meadowsweet and knapweed... the list goes on!

    I always think it's funny that the Lakes is full of the world's most amazing mountains, spectacular walks and rare wildlife, but sometimes it's the places right on your doorstep that give you the most pleasure! I recommend having a stroll along there while it's still summery weather and see what you think....

  • All in day’s work

    09:46 13 July 2011
    By Maurice Pankhurst, Jack Deane, Paul Delaney, Andy Warner

    Andy and Jack walling
    The roar of passing traffic, the sound of horns, the lingering smell of diesel and the fear of falling!   possibly not what you’d expect in the day  of a countryside Ranger but all in a day’s work for the North Lakes team when the need arises.

    Today saw an opportunity for us to make a start on a long standing repair to a section of wall on the busy Borrowdale Road, quite apart from the obvious danger of passing traffic the ‘back’ of the wall posed it’s own problems, a steep drop of perhaps 20 feet and a very narrow ledge on which to stand made for some delicate footwork between the wall and the necessary safety fence, but after a few hours we are finally up to a safer level and progress from here on should be much safer and more rapid.

    This is just one of the very varied tasks we tackle here in North Lakes to maintain the area to make our visitors experience more enjoyable.