Monday, 16 November 2015

BARN STORMING ABIGAIL! Storm damaged barn at Troutbeck Park Farm.

Friday unlucky day for this National Trust barn which was extensively damaged by high wind speeds generated by 'Storm Abigail' (A BIG GALE?), the UK's first named storm.

Because of its remote location and the rough track leading to it, the National Trust builders requested the help of the rangers, with land-rover and trailer, to transport acrow props and scaffolding tubes up to the barn. 

The first acrow prop in place. (above and below). These props will give some much needed support to the roof.

As the  building is in a dangerous state, temporary barricades have been put in place, but more substantial and secure barricades will be erected as soon as possible.

Unfortunately in this instance, the somewhat appropriately named Storm Barney, the second storm strong enough to be named by the Met Office, is following hard on the heels of Abigail. Further damage to the barn may occur with it's structural integrity already seriously compromised.

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Troutbeck off-road Footpath.

An off-road footpath, running between NT Howe Farm land and the busy A592, overlooks the Troutbeck valley and was constructed many years ago; so long ago, in fact, that ownership of the path has now become blurred over the years.

After consultation with the Troutbeck Village Society the NT agreed to maintain and look after the path until ownership can be established. This will give the dual benefit of encouraging walkers to use the path instead of a potentially dangerous section of road and it also helps to improve links with the network of paths in and around Troutbeck.

Up until recently the three hundred metre path had become very uninviting... as can be seen in the image above; it was even worse than this until Trust rangers strimmed, and cut back encroaching vegetation. 
A large volunteer group from Shardale, led by NT Base camp rangers, Rob, Phillipa and Matt, came along to help us with improving and resurfacing the path on the third and fourth of November. 
The first task was to cut back the turf  in an eighty cm. strip along the length of the path... prior to resurfacing it.
Measuring sticks were used to determine the width of the path back from the leading edge.
Almost ready for resurfacing.
Approximately twenty tons of aggregate, from Elterwater Quarry, was used to  resurface the path.
Yet again the indispensable power barrows came into their own on a project like this.
The land-rover and tipper trailer with another two ton load from Elterwater.
A scene from the quarry. (Two very misty days)
Smiles at the end of the second day and the first phase of the project completed.
Above ....
....and below!
The first walkers to use the upgraded footpath.
Thanks to everyone involved with this project, especially the volunteers.
It was a most enjoyable and productive two days!
Job to be proud of.

Sunday, 1 November 2015

Stone setts for Galava fort signs.

Back in August 2014, on a very wet Sunday,  the Cumbria National Trust Volunteers helped us to install new interpretation signs for the Roman fort at Ambleside. 
On an amazingly warm Sunday 1st of November '15, five members of the group helped us to put in hard standing areas in front of the signs, using Burlington stone setts. 

The following images show just what a good job they did!
The volunteers seen here digging out a base for the stone setts.
The wooden frame being put in position.
Levelling the setts using a straight edge and lump hammer shafts.
The setts were laid on a bed of mortar.
Almost finished.
Brushing in the sharp or grit sand.
More mortar on the way.
Unloading stone setts from the trailer for the next stand.
Cutting back the turf.
The  turf will be used to help heal erosion scars by the lake shore.
Two out of the five completed stands. 
These hard-standing areas will stop the ground wearing away or becoming so muddy in-front of the interpretation signs... especially with the ever increasing numbers of visitors to the fort.

Members of the  C.N.T.V group with their fine looking handiwork in the foreground.

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

High Lickbarrow Farm.

High Lickbarrow Farm.

High Lickbarrow Farm, near Windermere,  has been bequeathed to the National Trust by Mr Michael Bottomley who sadly died last January.

The Gateway to the front garden seen from the front door.

Fine topiary work on yew and box leading up to the front door of the farmhouse.

The farm possesses fifty hectares of land,  half of which is SSSI. (Site of special scientific interest), a conservation designation denoting a protected area in the UK.

High Lickbarrow has some of the finest unspoilt pasture land in the South Lakes region with many species of wildflowers to be seen during the Summer months.

The farm is home to the Scoutbeck herd of Albion cattle. This herd was founded by Michael Bottomley's late sister, Libby.

It is not entirely certain as to whether the breed became extinct during foot and mouth epidemics and was re-established later or was preserved during these times.

The Albion Cattle Society are..."dedicated to raising public awareness of this dying breed and help save it from extinction".

Ongoing work at this truly exceptional and unique farm includes tidying up the 'cottage garden'.....



and, well it's a work in progress!

'Lopping' back the undergrowth to locate...

....the septic tank. We get all the best jobs!

Kim has worked really hard to improve the front garden.

Lots of work still to do... but it's a start. 

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Iron railings – Cow Bridge

In the autumn of 2009 Cumbria was hit by devastating floods. Here in Ullswater, river banks were destroyed, fields were flooded and dry stone walls demolished.

At the top of the valley, near Brothers water there was a particularly bad section of wall that had been washed away during these floods.

A temporary fence had been erected, whilst a decision was made on how this section of wall should be repaired.

The fence had become slightly more permanent, but at the beginning of this year it was decided that instead of re building the wall an iron railing fence should be installed instead. This decision was made mainly because of the threat of further flooding. Whilst the iron railings would keep the stock in the field, it would allow any potential flood water to flow through the railings with minimal damage.

The base of the wall was left in place, as there was a considerable difference in height from the field to the road.

The brambles and grass were cut back and holes where dug every 2.5m. These holes were for the uprights

The uprights were then cemented into place, so that there was no fear (should there be another flood) of the fence getting washed away.

Once all the uprights had been cemented into place the fence was starting to take shape.

Before the cement had completely set it was essential that all the uprights were straight and in line with each other

Thanks to the time and effort spent in making sure that the uprights were all inline we could start threading the top bar through the holes.

Once all the bars had been threaded through, it was down to our local black smith to weld all the pieces together.

This finished off the fence and helped bring real rigidity to the finished product.

Hopefully we won’t see the likes of the floods we had in 2009, but if we do we know that this section of fence will be ready.