News from Roy Henderson for November 2012

  • Rain, mud and more rain!

    17:53 30 November 2012
    By Roy Henderson

    Last week we continued work on the Seatoller car park.  I initially went down there with two NT staff and a tractor intending to resurface it with dirt scree but the weather was so atrocious that it was just turning into mud porridge. Seatoller happens to be situated in the wettest area of England! There was no point in continuing when it was becoming so waterlogged so we abandoned the job about half way through.

    Once again my fantastic team of volunteers stepped in so I went back with them at the weekend and we did the job by hand.  We moved and spread 16 tons of quarry waste (dirt scree or ‘25 to 1’).

    Despite the dreary, wet weather we have been having, I also managed to do some work on the winter’s hedging programme.  I was up at High Snab Farm with Joe (another ranger) and we made a good start by stripping out a section and beginning to lay it.  All being well, I’ll be back there next week with my volunteers to continue it.

    I’ve also had to clear another abandoned camp site.  It is just a tiny minority who do this and spoil things for others.  It does have to be cleared up though.  It’s a stunning area that we want people to come and enjoy and it’s difficult to understand why anyone would leave behind such a mess.

    On a more positive note, I was out on a call with the Mountain Rescue Team.  The air ambulance dropped off a paramedic and then flew a few of the rescue team up to Sharp Edge.  We roped down to the casualty and lowered the paramedic to the site.  We then secured the casualty and the Sea King helicopter came in and winched from the scene.  Thankfully, the outcome is good and the casualty is going to make a full recovery. There were a number of agencies involved and it all went like clockwork.   
  • Crow bars and cannulas!

    15:14 23 November 2012
    By Roy Henderson

    The Bolt.

    It’s been another busy week.  At work I’ve been out with volunteers and we have taken down the large picture frame that was on Crow Park overlooking Derwentwater.  It is now in storage and we hope to give it a new site next spring.  It has been a hugely successful installation and we have had lots of positive feed-back.  We took the opportunity to do what so many visitors have done this year and our volunteers had their images framed against a stunning backdrop.
    The Mo
    Also with the help of volunteers, the winter programme of car park maintenance is underway and we have been realigning the boulders that mark out one car park ready for resurfacing. We will then be marking parking bays to help visitors make the best use of the available space.

    I then took a few days leave and tied them to a weekend so that I could do a First Aid course with the Mountain Rescue Team.  It was one of the best courses I have ever done.  

    Dr Paddy demonstrates ...

    ... and then my turn to practise suturing belly pork!
    The course leader was doctor Paddy from WMT who taught us lots of techniques e.g. cannulation   for IV access, suturing and appropriate use of drugs.  It was a course designed for advanced first aiders and for expedition medicine.

  • Beavers, burial mounds and bikes.

    14:26 19 November 2012
    By Roy Henderson

    Work-wise I was back up Stoneycroft track last week to retrieve the bags of grass seed that the footpath team and volunteers did not need for their maintenance job up there.  Once again the ATV did a great job accessing the high fells with heavy loads.  Its other great advantage is the time it saves.  In one trip it can shift what could otherwise take a number of people days to do.

    Force Crag mine across the valley in middle distance.

    I’ve also spent a few days with Jan staying about 20 miles south of Oban on the coast.  We took the bikes and cycled around the area.  Whilst we were there, we took the opportunity to visit a Neolithic and Early Bronze Age site at Kilmartin.  We joined a guided walk and saw superb examples of both rock art and chamber cairns.  Kilmartin is surrounded by an astonishing number of prehistoric sites including burial cairns, rock carvings and standing stones.

    We also have many archaeological sites in the Lakes including the rock art and burial mounds we have in Borrowdale and also Castlerigg Stone Circle.  Sometimes I include these in guided walks so it’s always useful for me to see how someone else does the kind of thing I do and watching our guides at work gave me some good ideas that I can use in future.

    Unfortunately, one of our hopes didn’t quite work out.  There have been some planned releases of beavers back into some areas of Scotland so we went looking for them.  We found plenty of evidence of their presence but, sadly, didn’t actually see one.  We knew that we would have to be incredibly lucky to see them but there’s always a chance!

    Evidence of beaver activity.

    Of course, we also managed to enjoy some stunning views plus do some great cycling and walking.

  • Borrowdale to Westminster Abbey

    15:52 08 November 2012
    By Roy Henderson

    Most of this week I have been working on Friars Crag installing the riven oak fencing that I mentioned last week.  I’ve had ranger colleagues and also my volunteers working with me so the job is going well.  It’s a great place to work because of the opportunity to talk to so many people about what we are doing.  Most of them were very complimentary about it.  You can see for yourselves in the following pictures but Friars Crag is really a place that needs visiting to fully appreciate it.

    As we worked one day, I noticed a boy of about 10 years old and his parents.  They arrived at the view-point and the boy said, ”Wow!” to which his mother replied, “I told you that you’d like it.”  They had obviously conveyed their own appreciation of the place and had created a bit of magic for him.  There was a strange contrast when I overheard a couple who were presumably making their way along the lake-side path but had taken the short diversion to the view-point.  They reacted with, “Oh, it’s just a cul-de-sac.”  That’s definitely one of the oddest descriptions I’ve heard of one of the most spectacular views in the Lakes!

    During the week we had school visits for three days.  They stay in the Glaramara Centre and we go in to work with them in the morning then lead farm walks in the afternoon.  I led the first day with Dan, one of the other rangers, assisting but then he took over to lead the other two days.

    Last Saturday I went with a few colleagues including Jessie to Cam Crag Ridge which is in Langstrath.  It is a nice, enjoyable scramble and we practised rope-work with Jessie who is doing her consolidation year for her Mountain Leadership training.

    I mention that to contrast it with Jessie’s day on Monday when she did a reading in Westminster Abbey at a service for the dedication of a plaque commemorating Octavia Hill, one of the founders of the Trust. 

News from Roy Henderson

Photo of Roy Henderson

I’m the National Trust ranger for Borrowdale and Newlands in the North Lakes, UK. I volunteered for the Trust when I came on the Duke of Edinburgh award scheme aged 13. I started by building a new fence on Friars Crag to tackle an erosion problem and making paths more accessible for people with limited mobility. I enjoyed it so much that I continued to volunteer until I left school and was lucky enough to get a job with the National Trust. After working for the Trust for 29 years, I still love the job.