News from Roy Henderson for June 2014

  • Working for cleaner water.

    10:21 26 June 2014
    By Roy Henderson

    I had a very pleasant day out last week with a team from Natural England. This gave us the opportunity to show them the work we're doing within the Water Framework Directive.  This is the national policy aimed at improving water quality so it influences much that we do here in the Lake District.

    With that in mind, John Malley (our regional water advisor) and I planned some visits to see relevant projects in our North Lakes area.

    We began with a visit to the new treatment plant at Force Crag Mine.  At this early stage, it is showing all signs that it is working incredibly well.

    There wasn’t time to fit in a visit to Stoneycroft Ghyll  but we did have a  discussion about contributing to erosion control and slope stabilization in and around the ghyll with our installation of chains for the use of scramblers.  We then looked at our work on the woodland expansion schemes.  This also contributes to slope stabilization.

    Our final visit was to High Snab Farm to talk to Tom about his hay meadows which are thriving and looking exceptionally good at this time of year.  Indeed, High Snab in general is looking fantastic.

    Each of these projects has a part to play in reducing the amount of pollution and sediment being washed down in streams and rivers into the lakes.

    Quote of the week came from one of the Natural England team who wished that we could clone Tom and have him throughout the Lake District.

    Daisy here.

    Roy’s been looking at flowers.  So have I.  It’s great when you roll on them.
  • Adventures in the wood.

    12:14 19 June 2014
    By Roy Henderson

    Last weekend I combined our regional and my local volunteering groups.  These are all very experienced people that I have worked with many times and they always do a phenomenal amount of work.

    This time we continued the work in Cockshot Wood behind the theatre.  This is a wood with lots of potential to develop so we are going to create a zone where the children can be excitable and make as much noise as they want without disrupting wildlife or other people.  It’s all part of the National Trust’s big project to show children how much fun they can have outdoors.

    We have started to make a wild play trail so this time we were building a balancing beam. We are using timber from one of our other woods that was being thinned as part of the regular forestry work.

    The result will be 40 metres of beam made by laying out the trees and staking them so that they don’t wobble from side to side.  The beam will become progressively harder as the children move from one end to the other so it will be a challenge (even for adults!) to successfully walk its full length.  This will lead into other activities which will be planned with local school children. 

    We were making terrific progress with this when the unpredictable happened and one of the volunteers had an accident that damaged one of his fingers. I phoned for an ambulance and the crew arrived quickly and were as brilliant as ever.

    I have spoken to him since then and the damage won’t leave any lasting effect thankfully. It just shows that even with experienced volunteers and taking sensible precautions, accidents can still happen.

    Daisy here,

    I’ve been playing in the woods with loads of volunteers.  It’s great. Loads of people.  I’m doing really well with my dog training.

  • Some routine 'housekeeping'.

    09:13 12 June 2014
    By Roy Henderson

    After a few weeks of activities surrounding events like the Keswick Mountain Festival and the increased numbers of children during half-term, last week I returned to the routine Ranger duties that form the background to all that we do.

    One of those was to walk the path beneath Falcon Crag overlooking Derwentwater.  I’d had a report from a member of the public about tree branches beginning to overhang the path.  So, I spent an incredibly pleasant morning with Daisy walking and trimming back branches that were indeed beginning to hinder easy access along the path. The path is now fit for use by more members of the public without having to duck under or scramble around the obstructing branches.

    These are just basic ‘rangering’ duties but it was good to be back on the ground doing some practical work.

    Hi its Daisy here.

    I’ve been running around on the fells again.  It’s great.  We walked to Falcon Crag.  You could hear the peregrines.  They’re a bit scary.  Have you seen how fast they can fly?

    Question from Roy: 
    How fast do you think a peregrine falcon can fly?

    a.        Up to 50 miles per hour
    b.      100 to 150 mph
    c.       More than 200 mph

    You can find out about the speed of peregrines here.
  • Meeting people.

    16:36 06 June 2014
    By Roy Henderson

    It’s hard to believe that May has already been and gone!  There were two Bank Holidays, a week for the Keswick Mountain Festival and a school half-term week so it feels as though I have spent a whole month of engaging with people.  I spent quite a lot of my time outside the Trust shop handing out booklets about the brilliant National Trust project 50 things to do before you're 11 ¾.  So, I have talked to a lot of children and parents about the fun and excitement they can have in the outdoors.  The Trust has now started to add to its list lots of suggestions that have come from children – some of those can be seen here.

    I was keeping a tally of the numbers I talked to and it ran into thousands.  It is great to think that many of them will have gone on to enjoy some of the activities in the booklet.  Hopefully they will carry on and do more in future.  Most of the ideas are so simple that they might seem uninteresting to adults but seeing the delight of small children making mud pies or building dens for example dispels that idea very quickly.

    Children were also at the heart of another day when I returned with a local school group to Watendlath. This time they did some navigation with a difference.  I had prepared a course where they navigated to six different points.  At each point they used a digital camera to take pictures of things that they found interesting.  

    They made their own choices of what to photograph.  It was interesting to see how often their choice differed from what I would have chosen.  And that is as it should be.  This activity was designed to encourage them to look carefully and to explore for themselves.  They took some brilliant photographs.

    Daisy here,  

    I like saying hello to people but it’s really boring sitting outside the shop.  I’m tied up.  I don’t like it and, although people do stroke me, I’d rather be running around.

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.