Western Lakes Upland Review 2012

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It has been a year of much variety and integration –and what seems like endless rain.

January saw us at Wasdale head creating a new approach to the three peaks route to scafell pike past brackenclose cottage, alongside the usual winter work of walling and fencing.

February was spent working with the estate team on a grant walling scheme at beckstones on the edge of corney fell and tree planting with the forestry team at Taw house.

At the end of the month we joined the county wide leap day events with a communal litter pick on Drigg beach.

March saw us branching out with footpath maintenance days added to the start of our joint survey programme with the national park authority which saw us comprehensively examine all potential path repair priorities for the next few years.

We continued our links with other conservation bodies by hosting a hedge laying day at Ford Park in Ulverston. We also hosted our first Fix The Fells work party of the year on sty head pass – a location we were to revisit many times through the year.

April saw our first joint path repair project of 2012 when we joined south and north lakes teams to block a steep and unstable short cut on Bleaze fell near Threlkeld which involved restoring the original route to Blencathra which had fallen into disuse. We also hosted a group of 5 London firefighters called ‘the good women’ who repaired a section of bridleway across the Eskdale flanks of Harter fell.
May was a hectic time of juggling several schemes already started as well as our only airlift of the year on sty head pass. The first weekend residential FTF event of the year saw a mass assault on sty head’s drainage issues.

June began with us joining the jubilee beacon trek up to Scafell pike summit and then volunteering to carry the empty gas bottles down again. The first of two upland bridleway working holidays saw 5 keen mountain bikers continue where the good women had begun on Harter fell. Another FTF work party of 3 continued on the same project.

July heralded a spell of wet weather which coincided with our wild camping holiday in upper Eskdale where 8 very determined soggy campers removed an ugly scar beyond great moss. This was soon followed by the second bridleway repair/mountain biking holiday of the summer which tackled a section of the burnmoor route from Wasdale head to Boot in Eskdale. 8 volunteers armed mainly with shovels and mattocks created over 50m of new path.

August saw the completion of the sty head path repair aided by another FTF work party of 7.
September saw us on the road again heading to helvellyn where with the south lakers we did a subtle project at the instigation of Natural England to protect several rare sub arctic species of flora beside swirral edge where a scrambler phobic route was causing damage. The second residential FTF weekend saw more drainage work on sty head with 12 volunteers joining in.

October involved one final path project for the year creating a single path line in the lower part of lingmell gill, which included tree planting and the use of a JCB which also repaired some river erosion of the route near brackenclose. The return to winter work saw a final push to finish the beckstones wall aided by another work party of 3 FTFers.

As one grant scheme ended we began another near the boot bank peat huts in November with a well attended work party of 9 FTFers who built over 10m of wall in just one day.We also hosted a group of 7 National Park apprentices for a week giving them a taste of lingmell gill.

The biggest task for December as we continue winter work is to agree on a venue for the property christmas dinner.

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