I’ve spent much of this last week preparing for a project in Braithwaite, a village near Keswick. There is a flooding problem on the Common in an area owned by the Trust so I’m going to replace the old, clay land drain that has collapsed in places with a new one made from modern materials. We hope that will solve the flooding problem for the foreseeable future.
My main concern at the start of this is the position of existing underground services. I’ve been able to find some useful mapping on the United Utilities website but there are lots of other things in the area I will need to find. Telephone lines, power cables, fresh water, waste water and gas pipes all run through where we will need to dig. So I’ve spent some time carefully surveying the area with a CAT scanner. This scan detects the location and then I dig test pits to establish exactly what is there.
The next step will be to bring in a mini-digger and the last thing we want to do is sever essential pipes or cables.
It is now several months since construction of the water treatment plant at Force Crag Mine was completed. The mine is no longer operational but contaminated water continues to drain from the workings. This new plant will clean up the water before it enters the streams, rivers and lakes of this area. This is a pioneering project and is a collaborative venture between the National Trust, the National Coal Board, the Environment Agency and Newcastle University so it is of some significance. As such it merited an opening ceremony last Friday carried out by Rory Stewart MP who represents our neighbouring constituency of Penrith & the Borders and is also a minister in the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA).
A huge amount of credit must go to John Malley, the National Trust’s water advisor who steered this project from its beginning. It must be immensely satisfying for him to see it complete and working well.
Winter is now here so our upland footpath rangers have come down from the high fells to work for me and other rangers in the Borrowdale valley. So I spent some time delivering stone for them to collect with their wheel-less wheelbarrows to take onward to their working site.
Poppet has come to stay. Poppet is a dog that lives with Roy’s mum and dad and she’s come to stay for a little while. It’s great. We love playing. I’m faster than she is but she can turn really quickly.