Sunday, August 18, 2013

Miscellaneous Fixings


  [mis-uh-ley-nee-uhs]  Show IPA
consisting of members or elements of different kinds; of mixedcharacter: a book of miscellaneous essays on American history.
having various qualities, aspects, or subjects: a miscellaneousdiscussion.
1630–40;  < Latin miscellāneus  mixed, of all sorts, equivalent tomiscell us mixed + -ān us -an + -eus -eous

I've been out Fixing the Fells a few times recently.  As a Lengthsman, I am expected to do at least twelve days per year.  I'm up to nine so far so I am well on target.  It's always a bonus when a drain run or work party includes bagging a Wainwright and this was the case on the first of the three recent fixes - a day at Great Langdale.

Harrison Stickle was bagged

This was a southern drain run.  Stalwart of the south is Barry.  He puts a lot of time and effort into organising and communicating with the volunteers.


  [stawl-wert]  Show IPA
strongly and stoutly built; sturdy and robust.
strong and brave; valiant: a stalwart knight.
firm, steadfast, or uncompromising: a stalwart supporter of theU.N.
a physically stalwart person.
a steadfast or uncompromising partisan: They counted on theparty stalwarts for support in the off-year campaigns.

Barry brings his Westie Terrier, Hamish who always enjoys being out with us despite his little legs.

Jack's Rake on Pavey Ark

from our lunch spot looking over to the top of Pavey Ark, the bump of Sergeant Man on the left and the Helvellyn range beyond on the right.

top of Harrison Stickle with the Coniston Fells behind

Pavey Ark and Stickle Tarn are popular areas.  High traffic, loose stone and steep ground all mean that the paths need lots of maintenance.  On the way down there were a few branching paths that would be good to close off at some point.  At one stage, a really nice pitched stretch of path had been made redundant by high growing bracken, resulting in a muddy track being developed to the side.

path to Grisedale Pike
The second day was a work party on the Kinn End path.  This is the path from the small carpark on the Whinlatter Hill that leads up to Kinn End and Grisedale Pike or to Force Crag Mine in the other direction.

It was a slightly wet day but we were working in the forest so had some shelter.  The work involved clearing the steps at the start of the path.  These steps had been clogged up with mud and gravel worked down the path from people walking down.

Further up, a number of drains needed building.  I teamed up with Martin and used some stone from an old drain to construct a smart new model.  It was very neat (down to Martin).

Once we had finished the drain, we went further up the path to take out some rutted areas and I made a pile of earth, then covered it with turf, with the objective of discouraging people from using paths other than the main one.  There was very little stone available for any construction but all in all some good work was done.  We knocked off relatively early but Joe said that this is because we had no time to add for the walk in and walk back out that is usually the case for work parties.

I was able to visit the site about a week later and saw that the drains and other work had bedded in well; the path looked really neat:

first drain constructed by David (Stalwart of the North) and Phil

second drain by Martin and myself

Scarth Gap
Third and finally was the dreaded Scarth Gap.  This is another well used, rocky and steep path.  I think it is scheduled to be done every three months.  I think that one of the reasons that it is such a popular path is that it leads up to Haystacks, which was Wainwright's favourite fell.

The forecast was for rain and we certainly got rain.  Soaked to the skin.  It rained so much that we abandoned our lunch.  That's serious rain!  I was thankful to Phil who shared his emergency shelter with me at coffee break time.

We got as far as the wall.  As the path crossed the wall, water was gushing down into the drain and off the side of the mountain.  They (stupid folk) say that it is good to do a drain run in the rain as you can see where the water flows and where action needs to be taken.  This was certainly the case, and we diverted a good few torrents of rainwater.

We planned to go and eat our lunches at the outside (smoking area) of the cafe in Buttermere but when we got there, this area was soaking wet (despite being covered) so we went inside and had scones and cake with hot drinks.  The heater was on full in the car on the way home, trying in vain to dry out my soaked clothes.

Phil, enjoying a day out on the fells!

at the wall on Scarth Gap

alright - let's head back!

Fix the Fells do some great work.  Most people don't realise the amount of work that goes into maintaining the many paths in the Lake District.  You can donate to Fix the Fells here but even if you can't afford to donate there are things you can do to help prevent erosion such as sticking to the paths where you can but particularly not walking on the edge of paths which makes them wider.  For more information, have a look at this page.

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