Friday, 18 May 2012

Preparing for the Helicopter lifts

Over the last couple of weeks we've been getting ready for the upcoming helicopter lifts. Our main footpath repair project this year is on Helm Crag where we'll replace a few sections of old pitching and also repair some areas of path that have started to erode away. We'll be reusing any rock that we can but to complete the job we worked out that we would need an additional 88 bags of stone to be flown to site by helicopter.

First we had to carry the empty heli-bags to our rock collection site. Although the bags may not appear like much in the photo below they're certainly not light. So it's a bit of a slog walking up to the collection site with plenty of "calf burn" on the steep sections.

Carrying the bags to the rock collection site

With (arguably) the easy bit done it was time to collect up some rock. Each rock is carefully selected and depending what we need it for (pitching, drains or landscaping) we'll gather different types of rock. All the rock is rolled downhill until there's enough rock gathered together to fill up a bag.

Collected rock ready to be bagged

With the rock all gathered together the next job is to fill the bag. The larger stones are rolled into the bottom of the bag and the smaller ones then rolled on top of them. We try and keep lifting to a minimum as the majority of rock that we use is too heavy to safely lift. Each bag when filled weighs just over 800 kg.

Filling the bags

Although 88 bags may sound like a lot, in previous years we have filled well in excess of 100 bags and have had much further walks to get to the rock collection sites. So this years bagging was relatively painless...except for one trapped finger!

With all the bags filled all we had left to do was put out our warning signs and set up a diversion. We put all the signs out a few days before the lifts to give people prior warning about potential delays and any diversions. If we can reduce the number of people in the area of the pick-up and drop sites it makes things much safer which in turn makes our job much easier. 

We're now all set for next weeks helicopter lifts. Our lifts are planned to take place Monday 21st May to Wednesday 23rd at Helm Crag, Aira Force and Stickle Ghyll.

Putting out the signs

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