News from Roy Henderson for August 2013

  • Summer holiday

    08:59 30 August 2013
    By Roy Henderson

    I’m not long returned from a few weeks holiday in Scotland with Jan and Daisy and the van.  We began by going up to the far north and the beaches of the Durness Coast for the first week.  This is a wonderful area with litter-free, pristine beaches.  There’s no rubbish at all, not even in the tide-line.  We found just golden sands and blue skies.  The forecast had been for some rain every day but it turned out to be great weather nearly every day.

    It was Daisy’s first encounter with the sea.  It was interesting to watch her learning to treat it with the respect it deserves.

    One day I thought I had spotted the curved back of a number of diving otters but, when they resurfaced, I realised they were cormorants doing a bit of fishing.  It was good to see the cormorants but we have seen otters in Scotland before and still hope one day to see them again.  We also spent some time dabbling around in rock pools.  It’s a great way to spend a few hours as long as you keep an eye open for the tide coming in!

    We then went to see friends who live with a view of Skye.  It was his birthday so we enjoyed his party and the next day a large group of us had a good hill walk to celebrate.  We had intended to do a ridge walk but it was just too windy and wet so we settled for a round walk.  The mountain is going nowhere so the ridge can wait for another day.

    Eventually we moved across to Ardnamurchan.  The weather was beginning to change but Ardnamurchan is a beautiful area and I cycled around each day.  It gave me an opportunity to get fitter for a coast-to-coast cycling trip that came at the end of the holiday.

    Then we drove back south to Gretna where I met a group of friends for the cycling.  Beginning at Gretna we cycled via Kielder across to the east coast and then back to Bellingham on the first day.  We camped overnight and then continued back to Gretna on the second – a total distance of 180 miles.

    It was a good trip.

    Daisy here:

    I’ve been on my holidays.  It was great.  I’ve been in the van with Roy and Jan.  It was fantastic.  I’ve been in the sea. Ugh!  I don’t like the sea.

  • Renewal of paths and woodland

    14:49 24 August 2013
    By Roy Henderson

    I had a change of scenery at work recently when Mark, who is the ranger over at Buttermere, asked me to go over to check the condition of some footpaths for him.  He has already found some paths that have quite a lot of isolated pockets of flood damage that will need a lot of work to repair them. I checked out some of the others.  Fortunately, I didn’t find anything too serious.  Repairing path damage is something we prefer to do as early as possible because their condition can deteriorate very quickly if we don’t.  I did enjoy the opportunity to walk the paths alongside Buttermere.

    Whilst I was over there, I also took the opportunity to check out some forestry clear-felling.  This is an area of softwood that was originally planted as a crop in the days when this country needed to replenish its wood supplies.  Large areas of the country were planted up with fast-growing conifers after the woodland depletion caused by the demands of World War 1.  For a number of reasons, ideas about forest management have changed since then and as these older forests are being felled, they are being replanted with a mix of hardwood species. 

    In this first stage of clear-felling, it just looks like devastation but that will soon be softened with the regeneration of natural vegetation and the new mixed woodland will host a greatly increased range of native flora and fauna.  The older conifer forests were mono-cultures and were often planted so densely that very little grew on the forest floor.  So, although it looks a bit dramatic now, it is all being done in the interests of conservation.

    It’s Daisy again.

     Roy’s been ill.  That’s boring. 
    Sunny’s been to stay again. That’s great.  
    I’m a lot faster than he is now.
  • Water uphill?

    18:26 16 August 2013
    By Roy Henderson

    I know water more usually comes down Skiddaw but recently there was a rather different story!  Just before the end of the school year, a friend Paul and I carried supplies of water up Skiddaw.  Every year, all year 7 students in Keswick School do the walk to the top of Skiddaw.  This year the weather was unusually hot and the teacher who was organising the walk was considering cancelling it because of concerns that the students might not carry enough water.  This is a great opportunity for them and it would have been a shame to cancel it when there was a solution.  So Paul and I took supplies of water and deposited them should they be needed.  It seems that all went well and a great day was enjoyed by all.

     During the week I turned out with another member of the Mountain Rescue Team to High Snab Farm where one of Tom’s sheep had become stuck on a crag.  I abseiled down, caught and secured it then lowered it safely to the bottom of the crag.

    Another rescue story was that of a duck!  A woman had managed to catch a mallard that had a fishing hook through its tongue and was entangled with some line.  She took it to the Trust shop and I had a call to attend the victim.  

    With the help of a guy from the Keswick Launch Company, we managed to snip the hook so that we could extract it and disentangle the duck.  We put him in a cardboard box in the dark for a while until he calmed down and then we released him back into the lake where he swam off happily to join his flock.  It was nice to see him go because he could easily have starved to death if he had not been rescued.

    My job is definitely not boring!

     Hi, It's Daisy.

    I think I look rather good in this picture.

  • Derwentwater Regatta

    16:31 10 August 2013
    By Roy Henderson

    This last weekend we had the Derwentwater Regatta.  This was a Trust organised event based at Crow Park with lots of partners working with us.  There was a fun fair on the field and there were many free activities e.g. making Viking shields, building a coracle or slack-wire walking. There were also extra ones like sailing and canoeing where participants paid for sessions.

    You will see from the pictures that many people entered into the full spirit of the day and wore costumes. We even had a pirate ship. 

    People took to the water in a variety of vessels including bath-tubs and the coracles made on the day.

    My volunteers (with a bit of help from me!) built a replica Viking long-boat which was then decorated with round, decorated shields made by children.  The finale of the day was the successful burning of the long-boat. 

    Everybody I spoke to on the field was having a great time.  All the partner providers thought it was worthwhile and were also enjoying it.  So it was a great day and a win-win all round event.

    Daisy here.  

    Roy doesn’t like me anymore. I rolled in dead.   I didn’t know I wasn’t supposed to.  I got washed with a hosepipe twice. Then I got put in the lake for a swim but I didn’t mind that.  Somebody said to me that next time he’s going to use tomato sauce on me.  That might be quite nice!

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.