When the team are working in the Fells a question we often get asked is:
"Do you work up here all year round?"
The answer to this is that we don't and this blog is about what we might be doing when we are not tackling erosion in the Fells of the Lake District.
We do spend much of the year in the Mountains and during the months between the clocks going forward an hour and until they go back again we expect to spend nearly all of our working time up in the Fells. This period is sometimes referred to as our "Fell Season".
|Upland Rangers in their natural habitat during the "Fell Season"|
(Taking a break before starting working on Striding Edge)
Outside of this "Fell Season", due to the shorter days and weather conditions, it isn't practical or safe for the team to stay in the Fells and we move onto work in the lower level Countryside. We call this our "Winter Work" programme (although it does include parts of Autumn and Spring too).
In general the team will help with anything that our Ranger colleagues in the South Lakes ask. There is never a shortage of lower level countryside work and we can find ourselves in high demand (it is not unheard of for our Area Rangers to "fight" for our time).
The examples below, from this years "Winter Work" programme, give an idea of some of the types of work.
We often work with rock and some dry stone walling is a common activity. There are always plenty of wall gaps to repair and we sometimes do some slightly more formal work too.
|Building a Dry Stone Retaining wall for a raised bed at Wray Castle|
|A section of Slate-edged path at Wray Castle in progress|
A common task in recent years for our Woodland Ranger is building tree cages to protect young trees. This year has been no exception.
|Tree Cage under construction|
(A nice winter day & a Wetherlam backdrop)
We might repair or construct countryside furniture such as gates, stiles and benches.
|Installing a new Bench at Wray Castle|
(Donated by a family with connections to Wray Castle)
|The finished Bench|
|Helping clear a flood damaged fence with volunteers near Ambleside|
|Steam Yacht Gondola winched out of the water|
At this time of year we don't completely neglect our upland work and weather permitting we try to fit in some maintenance days. We also have an upland work party with the Fix the Fells Volunteer "Lengthsmen" at least once a month.
|A Work Party on Browney Gill with the Fix the Fells Volunteer Lengthsmen|
(A fairly grim day, we've had a few of these recently)
|On route to fill "heli-bags" with Rocks|
(Image from 2013, we haven't started rock collection this year yet)
|Sunrise along Windermere as the team started work at Wray Castle|
|Late afteroon light looking along Coniston Water at the end of a working day|
If you would like to know more about the daily work of the South Lakes Upland Ranger team they can be found on Twitter @NTLakesFells or for more about Fix the Fells follow this link: Fix the Fells
Posted by: Nick, Upland Ranger