20 June 2014

Come rain or shine

This being the Lake District, the weather has a big influence on our days’ work in the fells.  The perfect day for working is a dry day with a breeze to keep us cool and keep the midges away.  It doesn’t always work out like this though and we’re glad of it.

We’ve had days where there have been cloud inversions.  This is when all the valleys are full of cloud and the fell summits are clear.  All you can see is the highest peaks just poking out from a sea of cloud.  This usually happens towards the back end of our season on the high fells, around the autumn time. 

On days like these we’ve had fleeting glimpses of Brocken Spectres.  These occur when the sun is behind you and your shadow is cast on to the cloud below with a circular rainbow around it.  They have an eerie feel to them and it can look like someone is walking on the cloud next to you.  Fortunately, we’ve had very brief glimpses of these Spectres but unfortunately, not enough time to get the camera out so below is a picture of a rainbow over one of our work sites in Ullswater instead.

More often than not though it’s usually the other way round and we’re working in the cloud.  Whilst not getting good views, it does become atmospheric.   Visibility can be reduced to as little 10 Metres and when the little Herdwick lambs pass our work site you can maybe see where some of the Big Cat sightings might come from.

 Rain plays a crucial role in our work.  There are three main factors that contribute to path erosion in the fells.  People, steepness of slope and water.  If you have all three of these in large amounts then it can cause problems on the landscape.  If you reduce even just one of these factors then the chance of large scale erosion is reduced.  This is why we always look at drainage on the fell paths.  The best days to do this are on rainy days and that’s why we’ll be out on even the rainiest days of the year.

We’ve found that the weather can vary greatly from valley to valley.  Our current work site is a good example of this.  One side of Striding Edge can be clear and the other side in cloud all day.  Come rain or shine, the Lakes is a special place to work in.

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