Emerging from hibernation!
With the summer so very nearly upon us and the majority of the heli lifts done the teams are most definitely back up on the fells for the season. As you may have read in previous updates the team’s projects on Crinkle Crags and Striding edge are well and truly in full swing. It’s also fair to say that this month we have most defiantly had our fair share of volunteer help!
Heading up to work with our working holiday
To start the month we had the first of our working holidays with us up on Crinkle Crags. This is one of two working holidays we have over the year and help us get lots of really good work done in just a week. Participants come from all walks of life and spend the week working with us on the fells, whatever the weather! And unfortunately the weather for their first day was a bit of a shocker, in fact it was more than a shocker it was most definitely a wet knicker day (for further information on this see Sarah’s blog…)!
Thankfully for them for the rest of the week the weather did clear out somewhat and they got to experience the fabulous views we get to enjoy from our worksites. Working alongside the volunteers we taught them the techniques required to pitch a path and then let them get on with it, whilst always being on hand to offer assistance and advice. With the volunteers quickly picking up on the techniques, the rest of the week flew by. Come Friday we had 7 happy volunteers who had between them completed 17metres of quality pitching. Needless to say they would all be welcome to join us again!
Completed stretch of pitching, hurrah!
As well as the working holiday we've also been joined up on this site by a group of National Trust Academy rangers. These are Rangers from across the country who are going through the Trust equivalent of a Ranger School. It's a 2 year programme that mixes working on the ground with blocks of college placements where you get to further expand your skills and knowledge. It's a great wee scheme that gives a stepping stone to becoming a Ranger and this was the first time we'd worked with them.
The Academy Rangers hard at work.
As soon as we started work with them we could tell it was going to be a good few days and that there was obviously an underlying competition between the rangers. This ended up being quite an advantage as they really cracked on with the work, but plenty of fun was had at the same time. We even managed to fit in a few '50 things to do before you're 11¾' with some rolling down the hill, mud pies and of course climbing a huge hill! As with the working holiday the Rangers soon picked up on the techniques and we were flying through the work, indeed after all this 'supervising' we were sad to see them leave.
Checking the level of the stones
The Academy Rangers (well the ones that came!)!
Never fear, we have one more group that requires our supervision and that is Kendal College. Every year we have the second year students out with us to learn in depth about one of our projects. They look at everything from how we write a specification for the job, risk assessments and actually doing the work. This year however has been the first year that we've had the chance to take them up to one of our high projects. With a walk in of an hour and limited time on site (college buses to catch!), they really have to be on the ball to get the work done, with one week left it is so far so good, the question now is whether they'll be able to join up all their sections....
Kendal College hard at work.
One worksite however where we can't ask for the assistance of volunteers is Striding Edge. With it being such a popular and potentially dangerous site only staff get to take on the challenge, but wow what a challenge! Not many people will get to say they worked on Striding Edge, and not many people will get such a great lunch time view. Equally not many people will have to endure the long slog up and down again....
Quite a commute!
We've been up there a few days now and we can already see the difference. As with any side routes, a lot of the time just talking to people is part of the solution and there has definatly been plenty of people to talk to. It's easy to think that the safest and easiest way along is via a side route, but in actual fact you can be doing more harm than good as it's in these areas that rare alpine plants are clinging on to existance. With more and more people walking through their habitat is getting threatened, hence why we're there. By some light touch work we are going to gently suggest walkers remain on the ridge, hopefully you'll not even be able to tell where we've been!
Side paths visible along the edge
'Landscaping out' the old lines using stone, soil and turf
I reckon that just about covers us for now, in fact I'd say we've got plenty to be going on with! In the very near future (8th June) we have a mass volunteer day where everyone is more than welcome to come and join us on the fells doing some work. We'll be offering drain runs and other small projects such as drian building. So if you're around on the 8th June (it's a Sunday!) follow this link to find out more information and you could be privaledged enough to work with us for the day!
South Lakes footpath team woop!
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