News from Roy Henderson for December 2013

  • Braving the weather!

    22:14 30 December 2013
    By Roy Henderson

    Like everywhere else in the country, we’ve recently been having a lot of very windy weather. In places there have been vortices that have touched ground and ripped out a lot of trees. Sometimes we have lost larches and occasionally oaks but this is just a natural process. Trees grow up; they are battered by the elements and eventually they fall down.

    Our foresters have had a busy time checking and clearing unsafe ones, especially near footpaths.

    Since our trip to take materials up Langstrath we’ve been back to begin tree planting. Our original day to begin planting had to be cancelled because of strong winds but eventually we were able to make a start. We had a large working group of Rangers and volunteers. I spent most of the day carrying posts and tree guards up the hill. Rangers Maurice and Jack worked with the volunteers planting the trees. Generally speaking, if the soil on the hills is deep enough to grow bracken, it will also be deep enough for trees.

    The weather was a bit grim with some heavy rain coming in waves. Despite that, a lot of planting was done and it was really satisfying to see the pattern of planting developing on the hill-side. All in all, it was a successful day and, with the help of the volunteers, a lot was achieved. These were the volunteers who had worked so hard to shift the section of tree trunk to act as more seating at the amphitheatre beside the shop. They have fantastic amounts of energy and commitment!

    Hi from Daisy. I wish it would stop raining. Ah well I've got a jacket.

  • Daisy's 2013 gallery

    19:26 20 December 2013
    By Roy Henderson

    Daisy here:  I’ve had a great year.  I now live with Roy and Jan and I go to work every day. It’s fantastic.  I think I’ve got one of the best jobs for dogs in the world and I might be getting another one.  Jan's started to train me as a search dog.  It will probably take about 2 years - that is if I pass my exams.  Life's great.

    Me and Jan.

    I am one year old now and these are some of my favourite photographs from my first year. 

    My Mum

    Me as a baby
    I think this was my first time at work.

    I'm a bit bigger here and Roy let me go up a fell.  He carried me a bit.

    I used to do a lot of sleeping...

    ... and playing - Roy and Jan didn't always agree that I was playing!

    I still do a lot of swimming - it's great.

    I have a lot of friends to run around and have stick games with.

    Now that I'm bigger, I go up the fells a lot and I don't need to be carried.
    I still like a good sleep though.  So do my friends.

  • Ghyll scrambling or admiring views?

    13:34 18 December 2013
    By Roy Henderson

    I have mentioned before visits to Stoneycroft Ghyll with people from a number of organisations and groups to discuss how to balance conservation and the needs of outdoor providers of ghyll scrambling. Well that project is now well underway.  Bolts and chains have been installed along the side of the ghyll.The National Park provided funding for the bolts & chains and King Kong climbing installed them for us. 

    The new hardware has been installed so that it won’t be visible to passing walkers but will enable groups to use the ghyll for scrambling activities without causing erosion to its banks. Ghyll scrambling is an activity that has been growing rapidly in popularity in recent years. This project means that large numbers of people can use a route that minimises damage to vegetation.  Ghylls often have their own distinct vegetation with some having very rare lichens for example. 

    I'm really pleased with this project. Working with lots of different organisations and partners has been challenging but it's great that we've all moved forward in the same direction.

    Another big project is nearly complete when my volunteers helped me to transport a large section of tree trunk to the site beside the Trust shop. 

     This will serve as more seating at what is a superb view point looking across Derwentwater.  

    As you can see in the pictures, it was not the easiest task to move it into position.  Fallen trees of this size are a precious resource so we thought very carefully about how best to use it.  We hope that many of you will be able to enjoy the seat and the views.

    Daisy here:  I'm allowed to run and jump. Huzzah!!.

  • Daisy is missing her running and swimming.

    17:13 11 December 2013
    By Roy Henderson

    One of my big jobs last week was to take a load of tree guards and tree posts up Langstrath on our ATV (All Terrain Vehicle).  Our woodland ranger Maurice and I hope that, weather allowing and with the help of volunteers, we’ll be able to do some tree planting up there before Christmas.  The ATV is brilliant for such jobs.  It can take some quite big loads into some difficult places so it saves us a lot of time and effort.

    The tree planting scheme is part of the woodland expansion scheme that Maurice has been heavily involved in.  The tree population in Langstrath has been ageing and declining for some time now so it will be good to restore some to the landscape.

     For anybody who knows the area, I managed to take the materials as far as Black Moss Pot.  This is a deep-sided gorge with good access and a small stream running through it.  It is a fantastic place to go swimming when it is nice and warm although perhaps not at this time of year!

    On my way down Borrowdale that morning I spotted a big red deer stag standing in the middle of the river near Grange.  There were also six or seven red deer on the opposite river bank.  Further on near the Stonethwaite campsite, as I passed an ash tree, I saw a red squirrel with its fluffed up winter coat scampering around the trees. I can’t say this too often.  There is a huge amount of wildlife to be seen around here if we only take the time to look carefully.  All you need to do is pause quietly and be observant.  You never know when it will be your luck to be in the right place at the right time to see something outstanding.

    Daisy here:

    I’ve had an operation on my tummy.  It’s horrible.  It’s so that I can’t have puppies in future.  I didn’t want puppies anyway.  I’m not allowed to run or jump or be walked off the lead for ten whole days.

  • Making good use of plastic.

    10:09 03 December 2013
    By Roy Henderson

    Last week I was joined by some of the ranger team and volunteers from Sandscale Haws.  They are going to be installing some recycled plastic decking and just as we went to learn from the experience of others, they came to do the same with us.  There’s no need for them to repeat the mistakes that I made when we first started to use the material. 

    We went down to Great Bay and Myrtle Bay to see an established section there.  The biggest difference between plastic and wood is the amount of expansion and contraction with temperature so they could see the expansion joints I have been using.  Whilst we were there, they helped me to deal with a couple of posts that had sunk a bit.  We took the opportunity to underpin those to level off the board walk. 

    It will be interesting for me to go to see their work eventually and to see if they have developed any improvements that I can use in future.  I’ve mentioned before that the plastic we use is plastic milk cartons collected in the north of England and recycled in Liverpool.  The Sandscale Haws team is similarly keen to minimise the environmental impact of the production and transport of the materials they use.

    As they had brought their ranger dog with them, Daisy had a great time running around playing in the long grass.  It was good to work with a new team.  It is always useful to share ideas.

    Daisy here:

    Life’s great.  It’s my birthday soon.  I wonder what I’ll get.

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.