Saturday, 5 November 2011

Change of blog location

From today onwards we will be joining our Ranger team blog at
We hope you will visit us there to find out what we and the Ranger team at North Lakes are up to 

Thursday, 25 August 2011

How many volunteers does it take to clear a drain?

We had a great work party on ashness fell on thursday the 11th of august, despite the midges!  It was james squires last day on the fell, all the best to him in the future.  The work involved transplanting heather and turfs to block off shortcuts and keep people on the path leading to the new digger path.  A massive thank you to all who suffered through the horrendous conditions, it is as if the shortcuts were never there.

The footpath team have been helping ranger roy this week with a group of diverse volunteers from the organisation GOAL.  The "go away and learn organisation" helps develop education of young people internationally, irrespective of a young persons' culture, race or religion, enabling them to participate in educational travel in the UK and abroad.


  Above the GOAL volunteers carrying materials to replace a style and do some fencing on the side of  grey knotts overlooking seathwaite.  We carried thirty fenceposts, four 6" by 6" square 3 metre posts, a roll of fencing wire and four rails.  We got it all done in a day! thanks to their help.

   Walking up sty head pass doing a drain run with thirty two volunteers.

                               Clearing a drain using team work.

We had sixty two volunteers with us over two days,  and six different nationalities.

                       Lunch time at sty head tarn.

A big thank you to all the volunteers for your help,  Grazie     tando, muchas gracias,  obrigado/obrigada, grazzi, DÄ›kuji, danke, Nice one.

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Farewell, then, summer?

As I type, the heavens have opened, the sky is black and the few days of summer sunshine we have had recently already seem a distant memory. It has been exceptionally hot and humid, conditions which have provided their own set of challenges when doing a heavy job such as ours, so slightly cooler conditons will be welcomed by all team members.
However, even in the heat there were signs of autumn's approach. The bracken is now turning yellow and orange in many places along Langstrath while a Common Sandpiper, perhaps having recently left breeding grounds, has taken up residence at the foot of Stake Pass, its shrill calls advertising its presence each morning. And the dew on the grass in the valley floor is another reminder that summer does not have long to run here in the uplands.
Work on Stake Pass is progressing nicely thanks to the efforts of our colleagues from the South Lakes footpath team, who are with us for the rest of August. With their help we shall soon have the fourth switchback of the season completed and work on the footpath as a whole approaching halfway down the north side of the Pass. We'll see you up there perhaps!

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

 This is most recent section of path with the turf stripped and a small amount of landscaping done.

 The drainage ditch taking shape, The excess soil is then wheelbarrowed down to the far end to build up the path height and maintain the correct gradient.

Top half of the path completed, the bottom half just needs turf laying and the middle of the path filling with pinall.

The fix the fells volunteers Ian, Jane and Christine laying turf and adding pinall that we had mined and then stored in old helicopter bags.  A big thank you to the fix the fells volunteers and  lynn who was with us for 3 days last week, you all helped massively to push the project along.

Monday, 11 July 2011

Stake Pass Update

What a difference 24 hours makes. From sweltering (well, by Cumbrian standards that is) heat on Monday to cool, rainy days for the rest of the week, we certainly had our fair share of changeable weather. Indeed, by Thursday our latest stretch of path was so wet that wheelbarrows and pushers alike sank to a standstill as they tried to cross it. But we have made some good progress and the path profile along the whole stretch is now almost complete. All that is required now is re-turfing and the final cap of pinall (gritty stuff, rather like concrete slurry and which occurs in pockets under the fell, put on the path surface to provide an extremely hard-wearing surface).
The wildlife continues to be a point of interest as we walk to and from the work site. Wild thyme and stonecrops are now in evidence as is a localised patch of Pineapple Mayweed near Black Moss Pot. This interloper from north east Asia, and which can commonly be found on dry, stoney waste ground, is remarkable in that its flowers resemble tiny pineapples both in appearance and scent. The Ring Ouzel seems now to be a fixture and juvenile wheatears are quite evident everywhere. We were also thrilled to see a group of four goosanders on the beck recently but not so thrilled to be continuously pestered by the midges, possibly distant cousins of their notorious Scottish counterparts.

Monday, 4 July 2011

A few days of good weather has lifted our spirits at Stake Pass and we are now making good progress with out next stretch of path. Sometimes with a sub-soil path it seems as if there is not much progress being made, just lots of digging and moving soil and stones; however, a short reflection on the changes at the worksite soon show that we have moved tons of spoil and that our lowest corner is now nearly two metres higher than the base level of ground we are building on.
Wildlife along Langstrath provides a welcome diversion as we head to and from the worksite. We have regularly spotted Ring Ouzels near Black Moss Pot and a chiffchaff at the foot of Stake Pass itself. The foxgloves are now at their peak as are the bedstraws with their tiny white flowers. The local farmers are now out on the fells rounding up sheep and lambs for shearing, while the military shatter the tranquility once in a while with low flying jets screaming low overhead.

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

News from Langstrath

Work continues on the north side of Stake Pass where we are creating a new sub-soil path to repair long-term erosion damage. In the wet weather that has visited us in recent days it has all become rather slippery on the work site, so do take care if you are passing through. You will however see the newest section taking shape and somehow creating order from the muddy chaos. Once we are happy with the gradient and drainage channels, we can re-turf the sides and it is at this point that the job really begins to come together. Keep an eye out for more updates and, if you have walked over Stake Pass recently, we would be genuinely interested to hear what you think of the work.