Monday, 25 June 2012

Starting the Helm Crag path repair work

This years footpath work is now in full flow as we have started to replace the path over at Helm Crag.

Due to the nature of the terrain the helicopter was unable to drop the bags of stone at regular intervals along the path. This meant our first job was to unload the heli-bags and roll the stone down the footpath to exactly where it would be needed.

Rolling the rock

Usually each bag holds enough stone to build approximately one metre of path but as we're replacing an existing path we reckoned that we'd be able to reuse roughly half of the rock from the original path. So with the path split roughly into 12 metre sections per person that meant emptying and moving six bags of rock for each Fell Ranger to use.

Starting to replace the old path

With the rock now in position it was time to start digging. We estimate that we can build about 1.5 metres of path per person per day. This is dependent on a variety of factors such as how hard the digging is, the width of the path, how busy the path is, and the quality of stone etc.

After about one week's work

The digging, as usual, has been pretty rubbly, and there's been a fair amount of stopping and starting to let walkers past (always a welcome break though) but we've still made good progress.

One thing that we hadn't anticipated is the amount of midges! The area where we're working is fantastic midge habitat, it's relatively sheltered, there are plenty of trees about and it's been warm and damp. We've tried numerous different types of insect repellant but nothing seems to really work, the repellants all seem to stop some of the biting but it's the crawling all over your face and into your ears and nose that really drives you mad!

Middle section (before)

As you can see from the photos the midges haven't slowed us down too much and we keep convincing ourselves that they'll all be gone in a couple of weeks. So we'll just keep twitching and scratching away until they do!

Middle section (after)