Friday, 25 December 2015

Gallery 2015

I've been having a busy time in the aftermath of storm Desmond but have finally put together a selection of pictures that illustrate some of the work we have done this last year. There is more heavy rain forecast but we just have to hope it isn't as bad this time.

Sunday, 20 December 2015

The after-effects of storm Desmond.

I’m sure you will be aware from news reports that we had large amounts of rain last week in the Lake District. It caused quite a lot of isolated pockets of damage including a number of landslides. Fortunately most of the valley withstood the deluge remarkably well. At the head of the valley where the underlying rocks are the very hard Borrowdale volcanics, there has been minimal damage. The land slips have occurred mainly in the part of the valley where the underlying rocks are the softer slates.

Path washed away

More path damage

Our new footbridge survived ...

... but the path will need some repair.
We are working as quickly as we can to have everything repaired and made safe for access. Some of the Trust guys from Wasdale have come across to help and they are doing a sterling job. It won’t be too long before we are back to normal.

Some of the damage on Catbells.
Repairs underway

Culvert firmly in place
Bridge at Watendlath - closed as it is dangerous.

It’s sad to see the people of Keswick, Braithwaite, Cockermouth and indeed county-wide who have had their homes flooded yet again. Some, including my brother, have had this happen three times in recent years. It could have been so much worse though but the emergency services and community flood action groups did fantastic work to keep people safe.

Work underway to clear beck above Braithwaite.

The calm (and some snow) after the storm!

Daisy here: 

Everything’s changed on the lake shore. My favourite walk is not the same but it’ll be OK. 

Friday, 4 December 2015

Winter work.

I’ve spent much of this last week preparing for a project in Braithwaite, a village near Keswick. There is a flooding problem on the Common in an area owned by the Trust so I’m going to replace the old, clay land drain that has collapsed in places with a new one made from modern materials. We hope that will solve the flooding problem for the foreseeable future.

My main concern at the start of this is the position of existing underground services. I’ve been able to find some useful mapping on the United Utilities website but there are lots of other things in the area I will need to find. Telephone lines, power cables, fresh water, waste water and gas pipes all run through where we will need to dig. So I’ve spent some time carefully surveying the area with a CAT scanner. This scan detects the location and then I dig test pits to establish exactly what is there.
The next step will be to bring in a mini-digger and the last thing we want to do is sever essential pipes or cables.

It is now several months since construction of the water treatment plant at Force Crag Mine was completed. The mine is no longer operational but contaminated water continues to drain from the workings. This new plant will clean up the water before it enters the streams, rivers and lakes of this area. This is a pioneering project and is a collaborative venture between the National Trust, the National Coal Board, the Environment Agency and Newcastle University so it is of some significance. As such it merited an opening ceremony last Friday carried out by Rory Stewart MP who represents our neighbouring constituency of Penrith & the Borders and is also a minister in the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA)

A huge amount of credit must go to John Malley, the National Trust’s water advisor who steered this project from its beginning. It must be immensely satisfying for him to see it complete and working well.

Winter is now here so our upland footpath rangers have come down from the high fells to work for me and other rangers in the Borrowdale valley. So I spent some time delivering stone for them to collect with their wheel-less wheelbarrows to take onward to their working site.

Daisy here. 

Poppet has come to stay. Poppet is a dog that lives with Roy’s mum and dad and she’s come to stay for a little while. It’s great. We love playing. I’m faster than she is but she can turn really quickly.