|A Winter evening.|
|Third from the left will make her debut soon.|
A highlight of my week was the visit last weekend to choose our new dog. She comes from a lovely litter of puppies and a good-looking mother. Now we have to be patient for a month until she is old enough to leave her mother. In the meantime we can try to settle on her name. Whenever we think we have one, another idea pops up. With Reiver we were actually in the car bringing her home before we made a decision and it’s beginning to look as though that might happen again!
|A fine-looking mother (right).|
Back at work I had to turn my attention to an old mine site where one of the shafts had opened up a bit more. Although it is fenced and capped because so many people use the area, in this case the cap needed attention.
These old mines often closed when they went bankrupt and detailed surveys were not carried out to map all the workings. In many cases the records are incomplete and we really don’t know where all the shafts are located. On my quarterly checks, I look to see that all fencing is in good repair but also for any signs that there might be an unknown shaft in danger of opening up. Once we know of a shaft, we fence around it and in some cases we also cap it so that, even if people go inside the fenced area, they won’t fall down it. We do know the mining areas and have some plans for them but we also know they are incomplete.
The square-cut shaft shown in the picture above was unknown to us until about 12 years ago. So that's one of the reasons I monitor the areas at 3 monthly intervals and a network of local walkers will also notify me if they see anything out of the ordinary.
|The Bowder Stone|
|White patches are chalk marks from the hands of climbers.|
I’ve also been doing some work at the Bowder Stone abseil point – a location near the Bowder Stone that is used frequently by groups like the Calvert Trust. It provides opportunities for people with disabilities (including wheel-chair users) to abseil down a sheer or slightly overhanging cliff face. At this time of year it is quiet so it is the ideal time to do some maintenance work including renewing the signs at the top and bottom.
If we have any frosts, I’ll return to do some de-scaling work on it. That involves my abseiling down, checking the rock face for loose flakes and knocking them off so that the site is as safe as we can make it.
The Bowder Stone is part of Grange Fell which was purchased by public subscription for the National Trust. The fund was set up by Princess Louise who was then President of the National Trust (1910) in memory of her deceased brother King Edward VII. It is one of the best-known landmarks in the Lake District.