Overbeck is all over.
August is usually the time when we never have more than half a team on site at once due to the family holiday season.
Despite this we still managed to complete our work on Yewbarrow by the beginning of September. We were helped greatly by a week-long visit from the south lakes team and an eager volunteer (Matt) who enjoyed the wild camping holiday so much he returned for more.
We completed a subtly snaking section of narrow pitching up the initial section of the route to take walkers away from the hazardous stone shoot beside Overbeck crag. Being a relatively little used route we created a very unobtrusive path:
The material displaced by this new route was used to remove some eroded gullies such as this one, viewed before and after:
As we continued higher the need for a pitched path lessened and we limited our construction work to defining,narrowing and occasionally consolidating the chosen route, another example here in before and after mode:
As you can see much of the work involved clearing loose debris to create a more walkable surface.
The biggest challenge was to try and reduce the size and lessen the instability of the main scree gully, a task not helped by some heavy downpours occasionally washing away sections of work only a few days after they had been done. We succeeded in getting grass to grow however and hopefully this will bind the loose material and make it more resistant to the effects of heavy rainfall.
Let's have another before and after:
Inevitably we are always at the mercy of the weather and can do no more than hope the grass gets the chance to grow well before autumn halts it's progress.
The next stage was to make progress up the next part of the gully - a scramble up solid bedrock- easier by removing as much loose debris as possible. This was quite a delicate undertaking given the steepness of the terrain:
Trying not to step backwards while ensuring one didn't send debris cascading down onto any unsuspecting walkers required constant alertness and immunity from vertigo.
Eventually one emerges from this section onto open fell and the final task here was again to define the route. By removing as much loose material as possible and containing it within eroded gullies we managed to create a walkable and less scarred landscape.
I just can't get enough of these before and after shots:
One is never quite sure how much good soil is lurking beneath the debris and so it's always a bonus if we find enough to justify throwing some grass seed over it.
Finally all this effort is proved well worth it as one reaches the top of the route and is rewarded with the view from Great Door to Mickledore;
Looking forward to the rest of September we will be decamping to the northern end of Yewbarrow for a little containment work between Stirrup crag and the top of Dore Head scree, followed at the end of the month by another Fix The Fells volunteer working weekend extravaganza.