Friday, 28 October 2011

Resuming our work at Stickle Ghyll

With our work all finished at Mickleden our attentions have now turned back to Stickle Ghyll. We started our work here back in the spring before heading over to Mickleden for the summer months, and we've only around two weeks of work left until this project is also complete.

It's really apparent that the seasons have changed since we were last working at Stickle, it is now feeling much more autumnal which is providing us with some classic Lake District views. It certainly makes the walk to work that little bit easier after prising yourself out of bed in the pitch black at the start of the day.

A misty morning in Langdale

The section of path that we've been working on has proved quite challenging as there is a lot of bedrock right where the path needs to be built, meaning the path has to fit around the bedrock, or alternatively it has to be chipped out with crowbars and sledgehammers.

Another thing that has made building the path a bit more complicated than usual is the amount of large boulders that are in the way. These large rocks have either been used for landscaping or, if they're suitably shaped, we've also been using them to pitch with.

Nic pitching with large boulders

Pitching with large stone like this really helps tie the path in with the landscape, but if they don't go in correctly the first time around it can really slow down progress. It can easily result in two, or sometimes even three of us levering the boulder with our bars to get it into the correct position, and it's not always a particularly quick process!

Monday, 17 October 2011

Finishing our repair work at Mickleden

Over the last couple of weeks we've been busily working on the Mickleden project, so we can move back onto Stickle Ghyll for a few weeks, and hopefully finish our work there before the weather deteriorates too much.

Much of this work has again been upgrading the old path to make it more user friendly. You can see in the photograph below a set of risers (a line of stones dug into the ground to slow down the rate of erosion). Originally these risers would have been dug in at ground-level or, at least, with very little stone showing above the ground. Over time, the soil has eroded out in front of the risers leaving behind large steps that are more difficult to walk on.

Path before repair work

As this section of path is next to a beck which has been known to overflow during heavy rain we decided to build a pitched path incorporating the old risers. This has helped reduce the height of the steps and will also help the path stand up to the rigours of flooding.

Completed section of path

Another important part of this project has been the landscaping. You can see by comparing the two photographs above how the side-stones that run in a straight line (top picture) have also been removed and replaced with larger stones, in a more natural looking way. Subtle changes like this are unlikely to be noticed by most people but it's all part of our work trying to make the paths blend in more sympathetically with the surrounding landscape.

Once the path and landscaping was done we finished off this section by selecting a suitably large, and flat, stone and moved it into position as a stepping stone. The beck, which flows out of Rossett Ghyll can be really difficult to cross after heavy rain, so with the new stone in position people will be able to get to the other side much more safely.

New Stepping Stone in place

With our work at Mickleden finished (at least for this year), it was finally time to take down the shed, so there's no chance of it getting blown down in the winter. It'll stay here until it's ready to be moved to a new site next year.

Flat-packed shed, ready to go