South Lakes April 2014 update
A steamy start to the month saw us filling the last few bags for the Red Tarn to Crinkle Crags Project in the Langdales. Getting up early on site revealed a very atmospheric setting. As the sun and heat broke through, steamy mist poured over crags and clung to the ground like dry ice as it moved rapidly towards us.
Misty and cool.
Whilst waiting for the helicopter to lift the stone to the Red Tarn/Crinkle Crags site we started drainage work on a section on path, which was not going to be pitched. A side drain was dug and two waths were to be built with stone nearby. These drainage solutions will help reduce erosion by shedding water of the path.
Section of path prior to work.
Larger stone were removed from the path before it was then built up with earth and fine material dug from the side drain. This finer material will create a more inviting path surface for walkers to stick to.
Work started, beginnings of side drain dug and built up path.
During the winter months down on the Property we often carry out work related to stone as it’s what we deal with most. One of the jobs we are still working on is a dry stone wall at Park Coppice Caravan Park, which requires camming to creating a ‘cock and hen’ finish. Due to the lack of cams on site and in trying to keep the stone used consistent, blue/black slate was brought from Burlington Slate in Kirby.
Cock and hen.
The other main project besides Red Tarn/Crinkle Crags this season is on Striding Edge, a sharp arête that leads off Helvellyn. The aim of the work carried out on Striding edge is to protect a SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest) a montane habitat supporting artic alpine plant species.
Before the work commences the coordination of helicopter lifts, areas of work and health and safety aspects were discussed on top of striding edge, with Upland footpath teams from the West and South lakes.
Striding Edge covered in mist.
To prevent further damage to the montane habitat, ‘granny’ paths that have developed below the arête are to be landscaped. This is combination of digging, positioning rocks, turfing and re-seeding to make the landscape look as natural as possible as if the path had not been there. The plan is to encourage walkers to stick to the original route along the arête. Skirting around the edge leads to a scabbly scree which has the potential for rocks to be knoked below (as seen in photo below).
Erosion from walkers skirting around to edge of the arête.
Once a project is complete it is revisited over the years to see how it settling in and working. More seed is often put down on landscaped areas during these visits to further green over and stabilize the work.
One of the main project s in 2012 was on Blease Fell near Blencathera; the main landscaping job has worked well. However the nature of the beast is that sometime things don’t work as planned, such as this shortcut reappearing at the very bottom of Blease Fell (left path on picture below).
Shortcut path reappeared bottom of Blease Fell.
Back to striding edge this time for the helicopter lifts. The company used to fly the stone is called PDG, based in Scotland. Due to the variable weather that you often encounter in the Lake District the helicopters have wait for the right conditions. The first day of lifts, due to cloud inversion way delayed until last afternoon, thirty bags were flown in a fifteen hour work day, along day for few bags. A total of 135 bags are to be flown up to striding edge.
Steep walk in from Grizedale Valley.
Walking along Striding Edge.
Members of staff were positioned at each end of Striding edge, and at other locations to inform and hold the public back whilst bags were flying.
A clearer better day for flying.
Helicopter placing bags on Striding Edge.
Video links below of the helicopter flights this year for Crinkle Crags and Striding edge projects.
Finally a big thanks to all the volunteers that carrying out drain runs, as this enables us to concentrate on the main projects during the season.