Once again I have been working with a group of volunteers but this time it was with the National Trust’s regional volunteers. These are people who commit to twelve volunteer work-meets per year. They work with a number of rangers across the region including two sessions per year with me. With that level of experience, they have built up an impressive array of skills which can be used on a wide range of projects. Most of these people return year after year and it is always good to see them and catch up on all our news.
This time we were working at Braithwaite trimming back the vegetation along the side of the approach road to Force Crag mine. En route to the start of the job they pointed out that a bridge we were crossing is one that they built in a previous year. It’s always good if volunteers can revisit this type of project and see it in use.
An extra benefit to working with this group is that part of their routine is to bring cake – as you can see in the picture, they don’t ‘do things by halves’ and the lunch-time picnic is much enhanced with generous slices!
The other theme to the week/weekend was the Keswick Mountain Festival where I ran a ‘Map-reading made easy’ course. This was fully-subscribed and was free – although we don’t refuse donations. It was aimed at people who want to get to grips with basic map and compass work. We started with learning to ‘read’ the contour lines and carried on to recognising other features on the map. We then added taking bearings and back-bearings and also some micro-navigation. We present the material in as many different learning-styles as we can and sooner or later everyone has that moment when the penny drops and they ‘get it’. We have the reward of knowing that a new group of people can go out to enjoy the fells more safely.