1 February 2013

Hit by snow but avoiding bullets!

So far this winter, apart from one really bad Friday, we’ve not had too much heavy snow to contend with. That’s generally good news – it might look nice but it makes doing any practical work difficult. So we were pleased that the most of one of our snowfalls had melted off for a recent hedgelaying day out with the South Lakes Conservation Group. It was still a bit chilly for one of the group’s scotty dog Hamish though, who spent most of the day perched on a rucksack to keep his little paws warm.

Hamish admires the view from his rucksack seat
We weren’t so lucky with the snow when we came to look at the work for the project at Blea Moss (see the 25th January entry in this blog) with the upland footpath team. A heavy fall had covered the ground meaning we found ourselves in the slightly surreal position of looking at path work when we couldn’t see the path! Luckily, the path team had written the specification for the job in better - less snowy - weather so we were able to get a good idea of what needs doing.

Footpath workers in the snow, a Cumbrian version of gorillas in the mist?

Blea Tarn looking very wintery indeed
Perhaps the most unexpected part of this job is the target shelter. Erected in the second world war, this is a large rectangular metal barrier on the hillside that was used for target practice by troops. Seems reasonable until you realise that someone had the job of hiding behind it and then popping out to see how accurate the shots had been, before radioing the results back to the trainees. It’s a historical oddity and becoming an attraction in itself, but the feet of all the people heading over to look at it are eroding the hillside.

The target shelter, looking remarkeably robust after all these years
This summer though we’ll be beavering away with volunteer groups to put a proper path in to the shelter, along with some information. If you’re up the Little Langdale valley, keep a look out for us – we’re just glad the target isn’t in use anymore!

post and photos  Rob


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