11 January 2013

A Year at High Wray Basecamp

At Basecamp we are full to bursting with enthusiastic groups keen to get their hands dirty for our beautiful Lake District countryside. This was my first year in the Lake District meeting and working with so many people on some fantastic conservation projects. Here are some of my highlights of the year…

Volunteers from West Runton Scripture Union: Hard work but a beautiful view!

1) The Wray Bay path – Partly funded through Windermere Reflections, we have been out in force building a solid footpath along the shores of Windermere in the Wray Castle grounds. We’ve had lots of volunteer help with this project with some days being wetter than others! We exceeded our target length for the year, creating a footpath that’s suitable for electric wheelchairs, bikes and pushchairs, increasing access to the wilder Western shore.

 Fix the Fells Camping Working Holiday: What a place to set up home for 3 days…

2) Fix the Fells Camping Working Holidays – I really enjoyed the Fix the Fells camping working holidays up on Martcrag Moor in the Langdale Valley in June and August. This involved a long walk in with everyone carrying their own kit to spend 3 nights up on the fell. The group worked hard in all weathers to improve the route through eroded peat bog. I don’t know how we would have managed without all the cake…

 Working Holiday volunteers: The end of the holiday saw a nearly finished frame!

3) Green woodworking working holiday - Perhaps my favourite highlight was our first green woodworking holiday to build a new woodshed for Basecamp. Our old one was very old and rickety so what better idea than to spend a week constructing a new one in traditional methods!? The oak for the main frame came from the National Trust woodlands felled by our very own foresters. The good news is the shed now has a roof, cladding and some wood drying inside.

 Littledale Hall Therapeutic Community: The reward for a hard days rhododendron bashing

4) Rhododendron Bashing - Everyone loves a bit of destruction and a roaring fire. We’ve been attacking the rhodi problem on the property as part of a large grant scheme. We couldn’t do this without the help of all our volunteers! We aim to make 2013 an even more destructive year for those rhodis!

So what for 2013?

My highlights of the year wouldn’t be so memorable without the good humour and hard work of our amazing volunteers and other rangers. We look forward to working with all the great characters that come with our groups (as well as meeting new ones!) to help conserve and protect the Lake District.

Let’s hope the weather is kinder to us in 2013…

Clair Payne
Ranger (Volunteers)