News from Roy Henderson for February 2013

  • A first for Daisy.

    17:35 26 February 2013
    By Roy Henderson

    This week I’ve been working high on Seatoller fell above the wad mines.  Joe (colleague ranger), a volunteer and I have started work on replacing a ladder stile. 

    The weather was good so it was also an opportunity for Daisy to have her first outing on the high fells.  She is still too young to do a long walk so I did carry her for most of the way up the hill.  But, once there, she loved running about in the sunshine exploring.

    I'll try anything once...

    ... but I liked the chew better ...

    ... and there was even a packed lunch!
    We were working with some hefty pieces of timber that had previously been taken up the fell by volunteers.  The weather stayed fine and dry all day and we made good progress.  Joe and the volunteer will return to complete it - more examples of the huge contributions made by volunteers to what we do.

    Later in the week we had been working in Watendlath so we were able to light a fire in the stove in the camping barn (bothy) to welcome the first group to use it.  It was looking superb when we left it so we hope they had a brilliant weekend.

    It won’t be too long before I am back in Watendlath working with Borrowdale School’s pupils.  We might be nurturing the next generation of orchard experts!
    Hi, Daisy here.  
    He carried me!  What's that all about?  The indignity!!  I think sheep POO is great!  Roy doesn't seem to think so.

  • Sharing good practice.

    16:25 22 February 2013
    By Roy Henderson

    As usual, last week’s half-term brought an early influx of visitors and the weather treated them well considering it is only February.  It could even have been described as warm at times!  It also suits us well as we in the Trust have been working to complete before Easter the projects I mentioned last week.

    At the weekend I then went off with several other members of the Keswick Mountain Rescue Team to join the Kintail team for joint exercises.  Last year they joined us for rope-work exercises and this year we intended to share and practise winter rescue techniques.


    On the Saturday, 15 of the Keswick and Kintail teams worked on the Falcon Ridge.  The RAF was also involved winching a new form of vacuum mattress with integral helicopter lifting strops. 

    We stayed on the ridge line as far as possible because the warmer temperatures meant that there was an avalanche risk crossing snow.  We did have to negotiate a snow basin at one point in the day and, although all 15 of us were very experienced mountaineers, we were concerned and very cautious about the risk.  We were very careful about our route choice as we crossed the basin.  We had a good day though and gathered in the evening for a few shandies to round it off!

    On the Sunday a group of us were back on the hill.  We had planned to do some ice-climbing but the weather was so warm that what we hoped would be ice-falls were actually waterfalls! It was much warmer than we expected and indeed was 15 degrees when we returned to the cars.  But it was great walking weather.

    Overall it was a fantastic weekend.  Good practice was shared and we saw the new vacuum mattress with integral strops in action – that’s something we can consider adopting in the future.

    Hi, it's Daisy here. He left me! He left me! He left me!

    He came back!!

  • Improving facilities.

    19:09 18 February 2013
    By Roy Henderson

    Much of our attention at present is concentrated on improving two of the Trust’s facilities for visitors.

    One is the upgrading of the shop on the shores of Derwentwater.  It is located where the launches depart between the Theatre by the Lake and Friars Crag. 

    There has been a big project over the winter months to expand it into an improved shop and visitor information point.  

    There will also be a ramp to access an open area behind the shop that can be used as an open-air classroom and a place where visitors can enjoy their lunch.  It won’t be a picnic area in any formal sense but there will be some seating spaces on logs and some superb views over the lake.

    Behind the shop is woodland.  During the first week of the Easter holidays I’ll be there with anyone who wants to volunteer to help out with the clearing of paths in the wood to make them accessible for those with limited mobility.  I will be organising a whole week of work there from Monday 1st to Friday 5th April inclusive.  The sessions will run from 10am-3pm (anyone not available for the whole period is obviously also welcome).  If you join us, come and introduce yourself – it would be good to meet a blog reader. 

    The second is the refurbishment of a bothy at Watendlath.  Access to this with a car is along a single-track road past iconic view-points like Surprise View and Ashness Bridge

    It is in a superb tranquil hanging valley and is ideal for that escape from the hurly-burly of modern life.  It is perfect for spectacular, quiet walking in the Kings Howe area.  You might even spot the otters!

    The builders have been busy over the winter and the bothy has been transformed.  Small groups can now hire a section with 5 bunks, cooking facilities, showers and toilets.

    Information is now available on-line here.

    Daisy meanwhile is growing rapidly and, as excited, playful puppies do, she creates plenty of mischief!

    Hi, my name is Daisy dog and I'm a truly modern dog having just been electronically chipped. I've heard Roy talking about apps but I'm not sure how to download them or even what they are.  I can run really fast now.

  • Daisy's debut.

    21:14 08 February 2013
    By Roy Henderson

    Despite the wintry spell of weather we are having, I’ve been working outdoors with my volunteer team repairing a recycled-plastic board-walk.  Some of the kick-boards along the edge had been knocked off so they had to be replaced.  That’s just the kind of routine maintenance we expect to have to do. 

    We also revisited  Force Crag Mine where there had been a quite a big wash-out under the water flume that is diverting water away from the archaeology that we are trying to protect.  So we had to do some fairly major repairs there.

    I then returned to Watendlath orchard with some members of the Northern Fruit Growers Association who are advising us about the care of the trees.  They will be back to work with the children of Borrowdale School on their next visit.  The next step in restoring the trees to a healthy condition will be some pruning and the children will be able to help with that.

    And finally some news of the newest member of my team - we collected our puppy Daisy at the weekend.  She and some siblings were leaving on the same day so their mother Storm will have missed them in some ways but might be relieved in others because they were becoming so big and boisterous.  Daisy has settled into her new home very quickly and has even been joining me at work.  She is growing very rapidly and in a week gained almost 25% in weight.  She is also learning very quickly and, at a little over 8 weeks recognised her name, would come when she was called and was house-trained barring the occasional accident.  Every morning her legs and nose look just a bit longer.

    If you regularly follow the blog, you will no doubt see and read a lot more about her and her exploits!

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.