Team Update - July 2014

We are now well into the part of the year where the team's main focus is on Upland Footpath work and we spend the majority of our time up in the fells. Consequently we don't see much of our colleagues who look after the lower level countryside.

During July we spent much of the time on our main project on the path from Red Tarn to Crinkle Crags. This covers a long section of the path finishing just before the first 'Crinkle'. It is a joint project with the Western team and there is a variety of work including conventional stone 'pitched' path work, drainage and lots of landscaping. The weather was very good with plenty of dry & sunny days and on occasion a nearby beck has been useful to help us cool off. (There have been a few wet & windy days just to remind us what the weather can be like in the Lakes.) This project is progressing nicely and a key section of 70 metres of stone 'pitching' is nearly complete.

Typical_walk_in_Crinkles_IMG_3809.jpgA typical July 'commute' to the Red Tarn to Crinkle Crags Upland Path Project

Crinkles_work__P1010370.jpgPart of a 70 metre section of stone pitching with Luke at work

In addition to the Western team working with us, this project is being helped along by groups of volunteers.  In July this has included two groups from our volunteer centre at High Wray Basecamp. Our colleagues from the Basecamp organise these groups and we help with supervision and work alongside them. The first group was a working holiday who tackled some stone pitching and landscaping. The second group, from West Runton Holidays, worked on landscaping to help define a section of path and reduce side routes and widening erosion.

Crinkles_Basecamp_Working_Holiday_IMG_3835.jpgA Working Holiday group hard at work on a section of stone pitching

Crinkles_West_Runton__P1010379.jpg
West Runton Holidays group working on landscaping to remove side routes and reduce erosion
(On one of the few miserable days we had in July)

In July it was also necessary for the team to move several tons of rock around 30 metres uphill. This was unusual since the rock for projects is generally lifted to site by helicopter and placed as close as possible to where it is needed. Unfortunately some of the rock for this project didn't end up quite where we wanted it. Some of the smaller rocks could be rolled and lifted uphill but we needed to use a winch to move the larger rocks. A gruelling couple of days work!

Winching_Rock_Crinkles_Ian_and_Sarah_IMG_3858.jpgIan and Sarah winching some of the rock uphill.

Our other project this year has involved work on Striding Edge also with the Western team. This has featured in previous updates but came to a halt last month as we had done all the work we could with the rock lifted to site in April. There had been a shortfall in rock because, due to weather conditions in April, not all the rock collected was lifted to site.
In July arrangements were made for the helicopter to return to finish moving rock to site. In preparation for this we returned to the bag filling site in Nethermost Cove to check the bags previously filled and to also fill a few more. This was made more interesting due to the bracken that had now grown and hidden the bags of rock.
The weather turned out great on the day of the helicopter lift and the remaining rock was successfully lifted to site. The weather also meant it was a very busy day on Striding Edge and we were very grateful for the of patience of walkers who had to wait until it was safe to pass the drop off zone.

  Striding_Edge_Bag_Filling_IMG_3893.jpgRock collection site for Striding Edge - there are some full heli-bags in there, honest.

Striding_Edge_Heli_lift_IMG_3912.jpgStriding Edge Helicopter lifts in progress

Striding_Edge_heli_lifts_holdup_IMGP7829.jpg
A queue of patient walkers on Striding Edge during the heli-lifts(Thank you.)

Each month we try to fit in some general maintenance work on the existing network of paths. July was no exception and we returned to a path project from last year, a route from Grisedale tarn up Fairfield. This path seems to working well but the accompanying landscaping is quite rocky and is not grassing over as we would like it to. To tackle this we spent a couple of days burying the stone and gravel and adding a top layer of soil to which we added seed mix (specially mixed for the fells). We will return to this in a month or so to see how it is doing.

Farifield_landscaping_P1010363.jpgIan and intern Jaz working to improve the Fairfield path landscaping

We also had a work party with the Fix the Fells volunteer lengthsmen.  This was on a path that goes up Gummer's How on the East side of Windermere that was recently added to our portfolio. This proved a good opportunity to get to know an unfamiliar path and to start some drainage and landscaping work to improve it.

Gummers_How_FtF_work_party_IMG_4059.jpgFix the Fells volunteer lengthsmen working to remove some side route erosion on Gummer's How

For updates on a daily basis why not follow this team on Twitter @NTLakesFells

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