Monday, 4 April 2011

Helicopter Lifts in Langdale Valley

It was a long week for the fell rangers last week. Our annual helicopter lift was booked in and 200 bags of stone each weighing approx 1 tonne were ready to be lifted to the paths that we are working on this summer.

The weather had been beautiful the week before (it actually felt like summer), in fact it was nice Monday and Tuesday last week, when bags for another footpath team where getting flown. Then Wednesday arrived. We were all ready, the signs had been put out (to inform walkers of possible delays) and our new shed was ready to be flown to it's new home for the next 6 months.
Signs all ready to go out

Unfortunately the weather gods didn’t read the script and after an eventful 7 bags were flown on Wednesday morning, the weather closed in.

As one member of the team said "it’s like the gates of hell" when the weather is bad in Great Langdale. For the next three days we sat and we waited, we were buffeted by high winds and drenched from heavy rainfall. There is only a certain amount of times you can play eye spy before you start going mad. We did however have our Area Ranger to keep us entertained, for those of you who know him, and I’m sure there are a lot in Ulverston, he does like a good chat. By Friday though, even he admitted that he didn’t have anything more to say.

The helicopter, ready and waiting

So as the week drew to an end it looked like we would be coming in on Saturday, not the best time to be flying bags around, as the paths are much busier at the weekends, but needs must.

We arrived at work on Saturday with much speculation about what the weather was going to do (it didn’t look good). Again we sat waiting. Then at about 10:30 AM blue sky, yes for the first time in 3 days blue sky. The pilot jumped out of his vehicle and said "I think this might be it lads". It was. After 3 days and two hours sat in the vehicle we were off. Mickleden was our destination we had 100 bags to fly to the Rosset Ghyll path.
Helicopter Lift in progress

The weather cleared and we had a hugely successful day flying all our bags, as well as 30 bags for another footpath team onto the summit of Pike of Blisco.

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