Monday, 23 July 2012

Continuing our path repairs at Helm Crag

Since our last update the rain has continued to fall but with the mild temperatures and occasional glimpse of sunshine it's been great weather for our grass seed to grow.

The recently landscaped area has already turned a lush green colour and combined with the low level of grazing in the area it's also reached a good length. Sheep love it when we put down grass seed but when they graze freshly sown seed they tend to pull it out of the ground as the root system is not strong enough to hold it in place. So hopefully it will continue to grow, and strengthen, before the sheep notice we've put it down.

The grass seed beginning to grow

Over the last couple of weeks as we've completed a few more sections of footpath we've been landscaping the path along the way.

Landscaping is an essential part of the job as it helps the path to blend in with it's surroundings and also helps stop people wandering off the path and causing further erosion damage.

When we repair a path we often generate large amounts of rubble and soil and this is used to create banks, fill in eroded areas near to the path and also fill gaps between the pitching. Nothing goes to waste.

During landscaping work

You can see in the photograph above a bank of soil to the right of the path. This soil has been used to cover over rubble (which takes a long time to weather and blend in) and also to create a bank and drain to the left of the path. The soil has been shaped to create a natural looking mound and rock is dug into it at strategic points where people may wander off the path. Digging in weathered stone also helps create a more natural looking bank.

Filling in the gaps with soil

The photo above shows another bank of soil. Much of this was dragged to site using old heli-bags from a section being worked on where there was a surplus of soil. The soil here has been used to cover over, and stabilise, a patch of rubble that was dug out while repairing the path. It's also being used to fill in gaps between the pitching prior to seeding. 

Once these newly landscaped areas are covered with grass seed it hopefully won't take too long until they too green up and blend in nicely with their surroundings.

Monday, 9 July 2012

A wet start to summer on the Helm Crag path

Over the past few weeks we've been steadily getting further up the path at Helm Crag. It's been fairly wet over this time and we've had some really torential downpours, but at least they give us a break from the midges!

Pitching in the rain...again

With our type of work we carry on regardless of what the weather's chucking at us. Unless it reaches a point where it really is starting to get unsafe we'll just keep plodding on with our work.

One such instance of the weather being too unsafe to work in was when we were caught out in a recent thunderstorm while out on a drain run near Harrison Stickle. The storm suddenly appeared from nowhere right over head and we noticed lightning strike the ground just a few hundred metres away. We quickly downed tools and crouched down next to a nearby crag so that if the lighning was to strike it would (in theory) hit the higher ground rather than us.

The storm stayed for a good fifteen minutes with the lighning hitting the ground all around us. When it appeared that there was a bit of a break we quickly headed off down the hill via Stickle Ghyll.

Finishing off the first section of path

Back to Helm Crag...since the last blog update we've all almost finished the sections that we started. Once we finish a section we join up to the person working infront and then leapfrog to the top of the path. We carry on like this until the path is finished. Working like this means you're not usually too far from another Fell Ranger so if you need a hand at any point there's somebody close by.

Putting down some grass seed

With the first section of path completed the area to the sides of the path was landscaped and grass seed was put down. Hopefully with all the warm and wet weather we've been having it shouldn't take too long to start growing.