It may be helpful to first explain the title. "Pitching" refers to the stone step-like paths that are sometimes built in the fells to tackle erosion problems. The "Itching" relates to the fact that in recent years the team have not done much path work using rock and we were keen to do some.
In the last couple of years much of our work has used different techniques. These have included a subsoil technique, which uses compacted subsoil to create a hard wearing path surface, and landscaping techniques to define a sustainable path line and stabilise areas of erosion. These techniques predominately use materials near the path we are working on.
|Subsoil path under construction last year|
There are various issues when considering rock for a path project, such as the proximity of suitable rock (we use rock local to an area wherever possible) and can we use it. There may be rare flora growing on a scree slope that is potential rock source that should not be disturbed. There may also be significant costs moving the rock if done using a helicopter (see blogs earlier this year) or it may simply be that rock is not the most suitable option.
The team's main project this year is on a path from Grisedale Tarn up Fairfield. Survey work concluded that an erosion scar that is developing was best tackled by 100 metres of stone pitched path. This means that the team has lots of pitching to get their teeth into.
|Before work started: erosion scar developing|
(Ignore rock on right, an old dry stone wall)
|Project Fairfield "office" (not a bad location)|
|Pitching in progress: looking down path at Luke & Tom in action|
|Finished pitching plus landscaping|
|Project progress as at end of this week|
Posted by: Nick, Upland Ranger