As the clocks change and the nights draw in, the Upland Ranger teams can be spied once more in the property offices around the Lakes, no more are we the lesser spotted Ranger!
Spot the rangers!
Prior to this change in habit we have spent the last month closing projects on the fells and carrying out maintenance work whilst still working longer days. Although we have largely been very lucky (and grateful!) with the weather in October, there has been some stonking wet days. The most impressive being at the start of the month. Where upon reaching Langstrath in Borrowdale, ready to work on Stake Pass we were greeted with this...
Bearing in mind it normally looks like this (thanks to Linnett Hill for the picture!)...
It was truly amazing to see and reminds us that in the Lakes you don't need the sun to be shining to enjoy the incredible landscapes! Indeed there is always suprise when we tell people that we go out and work in all weathers. For us, once we have our waterproofs on and are working away you rarely let the weather bother you.
Waterproofs on, all's good!
As mentioned before we have been doing some maintenance work up on the North side of Stake Pass and up on Martcrag Moor. Both of these paths have a top walking surface made up of glacial till that is know in the footpath world as pinel. The nature of these paths normally means that this top surface needs topping up after a few years as water washes it down the path, as such we have to go in search of pinel and that normally requires a large hole to be dug!
Dig dig dig...
As pinel is a glacial deposit it has to be dug out of the ground to be used and there is no easy way to go about it. We pick a site where we think it will be close to the surface and then dig away! Once out of the ground it is then moved using buckets and a wheelbarrow to where it is needed on site. When topping up is complete we will fill the hole in and make it look like we were never there, which can give the impression that gravel is flown in, but trust me, it's definately hand dug and definately very local material (ie from within 20m of the path!).
Moving the pinel onto the path
Hiding the hole!
This has been our main maintenance task for the month but there have been plenty of other smaller jobs to keep us going including another 'Friends of the Lake Districts Fell Care day'. These volunteer days are always popular and always result in a huge amount of work being done in a small area. This most recent was held in Coniston and sure enough loads of work got done, for us as Fix the Fells 16km of upland path got cleared and 10m of path got repaired.
Many many tools!
If you're interested in getting involved in a Fell care day the next one is in Grasmere on 26th November, more information can be found here. Fell care days are a great opportunity to spend a day out on the fells doing some volunteering and cake normally features quite a lot!
Break time on one of the 3 drain runs, spot the cake!
Our final aim for this month was to make sure that our Crinkle Crag project got closed down for the winter. This includes making sure the shed is taken down and secured ready for next year. It is also a good time for us to look over the project and see what's been achieved over the summer, as a bonus we normally have a little treat too and this year was no different!
This years treat pancakes!
Having used the shed for lunch and cooking of pancakes the afternoon was spent flat packing it and ensuring it will remain where we left it over the winter months. This job is always very much a team effort and it can be quite a comical process, especially if like on this day it is blowing somewhat of a hoolie!
Packing the shed away
Its sure been a good summer, but its always nice to come back into the valleys for the winter months. The work becomes more varied as does the company! Over the coming months we'll be helping out the other rangers on various projects around the South Lakes whether its walling, fencing or just planning for next year we'll still be kept busy and before we know it the spring will be here and the fells will be calling once more.
Words and picture by Sarah :)
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