Team Update March 2013

For us Upland Rangers the end of March normally signals the start of Spring and a return to fell work.  Only as we look out onto the fells, and our work sites for the year in particular, we'd be lucky to even make out where the path is!  We have the same predicament with our stone sites, that said the Lakeland fells do look stunning in their winter coat!

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Lookging towards the Coniston fells

In the lead up to the start of the fell season there is lots to be done.  With the weather generally improving we aim to get our heli bags filled for the upcoming summer projects, carry out any maintenance and finish our winter projects.  Alongside this we also anticipate helping the mansion properties get ready for opening.  So all in all it's a busy time of year, and this year the snow hasn't helped!

As you will have seen in the last South Lakes Team Update - February 2013 we have been spending a lot of our time recently at Claife steps which we got finished towards the end of the month, they are now looking much better and hopefully much easier to walk on!  You can combine Claife with a walk from Wray castle, another job that has featured for us this month and not exactly what you would expect from a upland ranger team.  With opening getting ever closer there was still a lot of work to do at the castle, at which point the Ranger team got pulled in.  For us this meant helping getting the 'Outdoors, indoors' room prepped and ready to open, you can read more about it here http://countryside-catchup.blogspot.co.uk/2013/03/bringing-outside-in.html

Although very different from our normal day to day work, it was great fun, we've even mananged to make sure there a shed in there!

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Ian cutting the astro turf to size, being very careful not to scratch the beautiful tiles!

With the castle looking beautiful in time for opening it left us to return to the upland work and in particular a revetment wall in much need of some attention.  Found on Raise beck a 2m section of path was falling away to the beck due to the old revetment collapsing, as can be seen below.

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Beautiful revetment on right, new collapse on left!

To start with we had to clear out some room to allow us to begin the new section of wall, and to do this meant digging one rather large hole!  It also meant we had to make a much wider hole to ensure that the repair would last as long as possible, and tie in with a much older section that you can just make out hiding under the turf.

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Now I know I'm not exactly tall, but that is still one massive hole!

With the hole cleared out and ready to go, the next step is to get some equally as large boulders in as foundation stones.  In this case there were plenty to choose from the surrounding area, and as you would expect from a good Upland team we choose some real whoppers, which meant it was time to bring in the winch.  Although we can move a lot of stone we need we bars and some good old stubborness, every now and again, it is much wiser and safer to use a winch as it gives us a lot more control.  It also meant something new to learn for Luke and Sarah!

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 Luke in control, Ian and Nick wrapping the stone with rope ready to go.

Unfortunately we didn't get a picture of where we left it, but the foundation stones were in and the wall was going up fast, another day there and we should be done!  So it's been a pretty busy month and even with all the snow we've had its been really productive.  Looking forward to April and we have plenty of bags to fill with stone ready for our annual Heli lifts and then the start of the upland project work for the year.  For now I'll leave you with a picture from one of our drain runs we did this month over in Ullswater, it was a stunning day even if it was a bit chilly!  Our team is also now on twitter, follow us @NTLakesFells to see what we get up to day to day.

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Luke looking up the Grisedale valley

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