Upland rangers are starting to bud as spring begins
The first weekend in April sees us host our opening residential FTF volunteer weekend at the newly refurbished Annexe next to the Wasdale YHA.
Although the popular venue is set in a stunning location, the interior has always had a rather bleak prison block bareness about it. So the Western Valleys property has invested in a bit of an upgrade both in terms of interior decoration and also furniture.
The ranger team have spent some time struggling with IKEA flat pack furniture (overcoming the manly reluctance to consult the instruction booklets) and have also been climbing ladders, filling cracks in the walls and painting the downstairs living room and kitchen.
The shades are officially 'wild primrose' and 'old gold' but look rather more like 'custard' and 'mustard' -
......a very tasteful colour scheme.
We have also dispensed with the uncomfortable bunk beds, replacing them with individual units which the vols will undoubtedly appreciate after a long day of path repair and a lengthy period of rehydration in the evening.
Another boost is the replacing of the spartan electric fire with a wood burner.
We have not been spending all our time indoors, never fear. The usual ritual of spring involves selecting, getting permission for, and finally getting helibags on site and filled with suitable local stone for path repair projects.
This year's first location is Gaitkins, between Cold Pike and Little Stand. This was apparently one of the late author AH Griffin's favourite 'off the beaten track' corners of Lakeland, which the former Guardian Country Diarist described thus :
'here are splendid, little crags of rough, clean rock, lovely tarns and a completely unspoiled atmosphere of mountain serenity'
After reading that we have taken great pains to limit our stone gathering to a very discreet level, influenced also by the need to avoid disturbing the rare mosses which frequent many of the bouldery areas close to our path building sites.
In particular the Wooly Hair Moss is one which must be avoided completely , leading to the sight of West and South Lakes upland rangers carefully scrutinising the areas chosen for stone gathering, ensuring that there will be no danger of finding any unexpected items in the bagging area.