Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Repairing the bank on Lake Windermere

As part of United Utilities work on preventing flooding in Bowness-on-Windermere  a new pipeline has been put in place that runs through part of Cockshott Point and out into the lake. In order to do this a section of stone revetment, that helps protect the bank, had to be removed so it was our job to reinstate it.

Before starting work

To make sure everything stays in place we decided to bring in some large "keystones" to create the bottom course. These will help keep the rest of the revetment secure in the event of the lake rising and falling and potentially undermining the bank.

Moving the keystones down the bank

As the water level can rise rapidly after melting snow or heavy rain it was essential that we got these keystones in quickly. To help speed up the process we bought in a mini-digger to dig out the initial trench, move soil around and help shift some of the larger keystones.

Digging the trench

It wasn't too long until we had the line of keystones in place.

Putting in the keystones

With this done the next job was to get our levels right. With four people all working at slightly different speeds across a large section it's quite easy to wander off line a bit. So we set up string lines to keep everything even.

Getting the levels right

The revetment is built up in the same fashion as a drystone wall where a series of courses are created and each stone overlaps that underneath it. In just a few days we were starting to make good progress up the bank.

Making progress

After another day, or so, we reached the top of the bank. To finish the top course we used some good, deep, stones and tightened them to the courses in front.

Getting higher up the bank

With all the stonework in the ground it was just a matter of filling in the gaps with soil and seeding over the area to prevent the soil washing out.

 Filling in the gaps

Update: A photo of the work two and a half years later, taken early October 2015...

After some "bedding in" time

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Preparing for our upland path work

It's now the time of year when we start thinking about getting back up on the fells and resuming our upland path repair work. This means spending a few weeks filling bags with stone in preparation for them being flown to site by helicopter to the paths that need working on.

This year bag filling has proved slightly more challenging than usual as due to all the heavy snow we've struggled to get to our rock collection sites, and also finding any rock under the thick blanket of snow. You can see in the photo below just how bad it's been. In this instance we had hoped to get up and assess the path leading to Red Tarn in Ullswater to see exactly how many bags we'd need, but in the end this proved to be fruitless.

Heading up to Red Tarn

As Ullswater has suffered much worse with the snow than Grasmere we managed to fill a few bags on Helm Crag while waiting for some of the snow to melt elsewhere. These will be used for landscaping around the sub-soil path that we've been recently working on.

Bag Filling at Helm Crag

Another one of our jobs this year is repairing the path on Gowbarrow. This work will require building stone drains, culverts and resurfacing. The original path was worked on a couple of years ago using a digger to create a subsoil path, but in a few areas no decent material could be found on-site for surfacing it. This has lead to the path starting to deteriorate in patches. We therefore decided that we'd fly some gravel to site which we'll use to prevent it getting any worse. The gravel is locally sourced and compacts to a hard surface, it also doesn't wash clean so won't be too intrusive.

Filling bags for the Gowbarrow job

Thankfully we had the use of a mini-digger so it wasn't long before we had all the bags filled with gravel and ready to be flown. Now fingers crossed that the weather is a bit more onside during the helicopter lifts next week.

The bags filled and ready to be flown