Tuesday, 15 December 2015

A walk around Thirlmere

11 miles

At the time of writing this post (15/12/2015) the A591 is closed down the length of Thirlmere due to a road collapse and landslides caused by the flooding of storm Desmond. They are working hard into last light to fix this main route though the lakes, so I don't think it will be closed too much longer.

Some paths open for use!

As the road was closed I thought I'd try to track down a mysterious rock/plaque called the "Rock of Names", a rock that in the 1890's Wordsworth & Coleridge carved their initials into. Blown up when the dam was made but bits are at Dove Cottage or the Wordsworth Institute, but no one really knows, lost in translation over generations I think. The usually fast road may have been free to walk down to look closely but the plaque could have been washed away in this or any previous landslides. Like looking for a needle in a...well, Cumbrian fell...

I've yet to walk along through the forest just above the road down the length of the reservoir, not sure if you even can, so walking down the road I was able to see some interesting markings I've not seen before.

"30th 9Mo 1843
Fall'n from his fellows side
The steed beneath is lying
In harness, here he died
His only fault was dying


The old church when Thirlmere was a village.

Matthew Arnold's poem: Resignation

Several landslides, much rock

pacing the flow

Poor stranded car and mini-coach

They've done a great job clearing it all, though still lots to do. I made a point of giving all the workers, diggers and dumper trucks a wide birth so not to get in their way.

Once I got to the car parks and the end of where the plaque could have been I decided why not walk all around the reservoir...

The road closure is at the car parks so you can still park there for the route up to Helvellyn and Thirlspot hotel looked open for business. Though the layby there is a little full at the moment...

Curiously, a digger was forging its way up to the crags below Stybarrow Dodd. Curious I thought...

More diggers clearing the rivers

Wildlife not too concerned

Plenty of road sweepers around the reservoir and St John's

Choppy water today

Spot the X-Wing

No jets or X-Wings flying low over the water. That's the next drama to hit Thirlmere but you'll have to wait till 17th December to see them*

Another interesting plaque

Landslides off the Helvellyn screes

Fast flowing river off Armbooth

Working into last light to get the road fixed

An interesting 11 mile walk around Thirlmere reservoir...

* There won't really be X-Wings flying over Thirlmere or Derwent. You'll see them in scenes of Star Wars - The Force awakens, if you weren't aware.

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

"Back to the Past" - Back to the Wainwright's

It’s coming close to a year since my final Wainwright of my 214 day challenge (1 Nov 2014). It’s taken longer to write than it took to walk and as you may have noticed I said ‘final’ so you now know I successfully completed the challenge.  But then again maybe you would have seen all the tweets at the time so you already knew, so no spoiler alert here. Maybe some of you would prefer to know before reading this blog that I completed it ok so you could read relaxed (I know some prefer to read the ending of a book so they can watch the movie version tense-free).

Which leads me to “Back to the Future”. You may have noticed it’s Back to the Future day today. We’ll be watching Part 2 tonight and waiting for that moment when he enters the date 21st Oct 2015 into his Delorean.

Regarding the destination date, 26th Oct 1985, assuming it wouldn’t cause a different temporal displacement that would shift the whole time line thingy they should have made it Friday 25th Oct that way in 30 years time it would be a Sunday, still time for a party.  Now I don’t believe there isn’t going to be a fancy dress party out there where everyone is dressed up in what they were wearing in 1985. There’s a party like that happening this weekend and come on, admit it, you would quite like to go...

So what’s all this got to do with my Wainwright challenge...well let me take you back to 5th July 2014...

“Seriously, all that just for that back in time link?” Yup sorry...

Marty McDragonFly

The next walk to follow -
Great borne – Starling Dodd – Red Pike – High Stile – High Crag – (seat)

Monday, 16 March 2015

Branching out...

Can't see the wood for the trees...woodn't it be good...This post is about coppicing and woodland management and I asked Beth to come out with a witty title so you can imagine the endless smut she came up with... :rolleyes:

Following on from CumbrianRambler’s “14 things hiking can learn from gaming ”, woodland management has already been made into computer games such as A world of Keflings, Age of Empires and some other farming based games. These strategy sim games are hugely popular just as woodland management was when it started sometime after the Ice Age.

Milling logs for nice big stacks of timber
Just as the game goes, chop trees to make logs, use the logs to make basic Mills, Mills to process timber, timber to build houses and more productive mills. With more productivity came the need for more skilled workers, coppice workers and carpenters. And so the need-productivity cycle began. Of course the next age would bring stone but I’ll leave that till I start learning mining and dry-stone walling ;-)
I don’t know the facts and figures but it would seem our British woodlands are dying and losing their biodiversity and ecosystems. As we have become less dependent on woodlands for our livelihood previously managed and coppiced woodlands have been neglected. Nature has been left to its own devices and not always for the better. As woodland canopies close up the rich array of wildlife and flowers decline so you often have completely bare ground and field layers.  Browsing animals in particular Deer have had a big influence in changing the diversity of woodland.

Now I could have got the wrong end of the stick with all of this so Tony feel free to correct me and I’ll replace it with just the nice pictures.

Anyway what is all this about. I have been learning lots on how to coppice from Tony the expert coppicer , Cumbria Wildlife trust, Cumbria Woodlands and private woodlands, so it’s been interesting seeing it from different standpoints. The main concern at the moment is the heavy decline of the High Brown Fritillary butterfly which still resides around Morecambe Bay and south Cumbria and opening woodland floor by reintroducing coppicing gives the butterfly the habitat it needs.
Shoots re-growing from a coppice stool

This time I have been helping out with Tony at a private wood and really appreciated being asked to help out and I think the owner was too. With a management plan in place to get the once coppiced trees back into a rotation by setting up a number of coups, opening the ground for flowers and butterflies,  while also encouraging all wildlife from birds to badgers, deer to owls and even a Peregrine flying overhead into the woodland for the owner to enjoy.

Hazel flowers and catkins

 It was time for felling, I'm quite pleased with myself I can use a bowsaw on a 15cm diameter tree and get it to fall exactly where I want it but I haven't ventured out into chainsawing yet:-(  brash stacking, ground clearing, log rolling, brash clearing, log stacking, tree planting (Cherry, lime, Whitebeam, Hornbeam, spindle),log stacking, brash burning, log stacking and coup fence building.

A great tool for dragging large long logs

Video of Tony using a Danish cut to fell the tree in the right direction
What to fell a tree a different direction it's leaning to, try the Danish cut

Video of 'Scarring for standing dead wood'


Trees planted in coup

tony sawing logs

Brash burning

Temporary fencing to protect newly planted trees from browsing

So now we wait for nature to take its course and grows according to plan. Would be great to see how it develops over the years.