News from Roy Henderson for September 2013

  • Tour of Britain cycling event

    16:18 25 September 2013
    By Roy Henderson

    Much of our time last week was spent with our preparations for the Tour of Britain cycle event.  This came over Honister, one of our high mountain passes, through Borrowdale valley into Keswick and then continued south through the Lake District National Park

    We had borrowed a giant National Trust logo that came as a massive jigsaw so we had a trial run at assembling it in the car park beside our offices.  Then with the help of my volunteers, it was installed high on the fell-side near the top of Honister.  The weather forecast was not good so I was quite concerned about the amount of wind it would need to survive overnight.  We roped it down and I went back with some planks to weight it down.  On the day I removed those just before the tour came through.  

    Sadly, the helicopter that was filming the event had camera problems so it didn’t appear on national TV coverage.  However, it was seen by the thousands who braved the cold, wet, windy weather to support that section of the event so it was well worth doing.

    I was in position beside the Rescue Team on the descent from the summit where we saw some who were even cycling up there in fancy dress!  For those who arrived by car, we opened up some of the fields in Trust farms and had Trust staff out managing the parking so that everyone could be in a good position to see the cyclists go through.

    Despite the weather, there were thousands of enthusiasts who were determined to enjoy the opportunity.  We were all a bit wet (or even a lot wet!) but it was a great atmosphere.

    Hi, it’s Daisy here.

    I’ve got a new friend Mia.  She’s great.  She’s a Golden Retriever.  She’s younger than me and is just a puppy. 

    I’m going to be on TV.

  • A variety week.

    19:50 13 September 2013
    By Roy Henderson

    It’s been one of those weeks where each day has brought something different.  My volunteers and I managed to spend some time at the amphitheatre beside the Trust shop and did some more work on the footpath alongside the oak rail fencing. The area is looking very good now and it is a superb vantage point for having a picnic, enjoying the views and taking photographs.  

    Another project that is moving forward is at Force Crag mine.  Contractors will begin next week to do a huge amount of work on the scheme for de-watering and pollution control.  So, with Joe and my volunteers I spent some time making sure that the track along to the mine is accessible for the contractors. 

    Then I had to pop down to Sizergh (a Trust property near Kendal) to collect a lawn mower because the one on Derwent Island was broken and I needed to cut the grass there.  I’ve discovered that it isn’t as easy to cut grass in straight lines as I thought!

    We are also in the final stages of our preparations for the Tour of Britain cycle race that comes through Borrowdale on Monday September 16th.  We are expecting huge numbers of people in the valley to observe that.  I’m hoping for good weather and the opportunity to take photographs for the blog.

    Hi, It’s Daisy here.

    I helped Roy look after a 24 Peaks Challenge Group last weekend.  I only worked the second day.  We walked from Grizedale Tarn all the way through the Helvellyn Range to Great Dodd and down.  It was miles.
  • A wood-working week.

    07:49 09 September 2013
    By Roy Henderson

    Once again I’ve been working down by the lake alongside the Trust shop.  My volunteers have been working with me on resurfacing another section of footpath and installing more riven oak post & rail fencing.  Hopefully this will make it look inviting and accessible so that more people will use the amphitheatre area.

    I also had to go out and deal with a damaged tree branch that was suspended above one of our most popular footpaths down by the lake.  It had snapped between 4 and 4.15 pm on a Saturday afternoon and I was on the scene by 4.20 pm to tape and cone off the area for safety.  Our tree surgeons came in on Monday to remove the branch and make the tree safe. We check all our trees on popular routes every three months and this one had shown no obvious signs of disease or damage.  After the fall we discovered some signs of fungal infection at the top of the tree and the branch just broke away.  No matter how often we check, trees just carry on growing, ageing and eventually decaying and the ‘wear and tear’ is not always visible.

    On Sunday I came upon a man who was lifting his small daughter over the safety barrier of two sets of tapes and cones so that they could walk under the tree.  I was flabbergasted that he would put at risk what I guess is one of the most precious things he has.  When he saw me arrive, he quickly left the danger area.  Safety barriers are always put in place for a reason even if it is not immediately obvious to passers-by what the risk is.

    Daisy here.

    I’ve been to the vet.  I’ve got swimmers’ tail.  It really hurt but the vet is lovely and she sorted it out for me.  

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.