Text Size

Donating and Volunteering - Fix the Fells

Can a tube fix the fells?This Easter I managed to spend some time in the Lake District.  Visiting the area is particularly rewarding as it always allows me to kill two birds with one stone.  Not only can I spend time with my dear mum who lives in the area, but of course it gives me the excuse to go walking and scrambling on the fells. 
This April (2013) allowed me my first visit since New Year and I had a full itinerary planned, although the wintry weather conditions had not featured into this planning.  Arriving near Kendal to see the fells covered in snow, my plans for the next day were decided as I formulated a route near to my mum's home.  Fortunately I had come prepared with full winter kit.

Upper Langstrath from Stake PassNext day I took in a full winter ascent at the head of Kentmere.  A walk up to the reservoir and ascent of Nan Bield Pass allowed for a great traverse over to High Street and back to Thornthwaite Crag before my descent of Gavel Crag into Hall Cove and return to Maggs Howe for some post outing refreshments - I can really recommend Christine's fantastic tea and cakes!  Oddly enough, whilst enjoying the view over my cuppa, I spoke with John Wilson Parker who, as a guidebook writer for Cicerone and ex-Ordnance Survey Surveyor had some nice things to say about my maps!  It was fortuitous to meet John and it was fantastic to speak with a kindred spirit about maps.  

Apart from a day delivering my maps, spending time with mum and of course having the odd meal out in some great hostelries, my Wednesday was spent in and around Langdale.  One reason for travelling north was to present £4250 to Fix the Fells.  At the invite of Tanya Oliver (Fix the Fells Programme Manager) I rendezvoused with a group of National Trust Rangers, Fix the Fells volunteers and two cute dogs in the form of Hamish and Tilly.

Tanya Oliver and Ian from Fix the Fells and the National TrustTanya drove me to the head of Mickleden and soon the whole party was ascending Stake Pass in preparation for working above Langstrath.  Without steel toe caps, I wasn't allowed to help fill helicopter bags used for carrying rocks and stone to path repair areas.  A storage shed had shaken free of its restraining cables during the winter storms and so I joined Sarah, Joe and Charles allocated the challenge of collecting the remnants from a large area of fell side.  The latter two men had walked in to join us from the Borrowdale side of the pass.  Within an hour or so we had collected much of the shed fragments and gathered them on the site of its original location.  We tied it down securely and for a while aided the other part of the team bringing stones to help construct a cross-drain on the Stake Pass route.

I worked with Sarah, Charles & Joe to gather together a destroyed shedI had a great time on the mountains completing tasks that you'd never normally pursue.   Staying in one area also allowed time to soak up the environment and take in some of the great views.  With snow on the ground and the sun in the sky it felt like an Alpine day!  

Working on the fellside was quite a physical activity and carrying the wall of a broken shed on my head was certainly something I'd never anticipated and I was quite amazed I could manage it!   What really impressed me was the enthusiasm with which all the volunteers engaged with the tasks in hand.

The team restoring a cross drain on Stake PassCharles was an excellent example of a volunteer.  Despite the bad press that young folk receive, Charles is a local lad from Cockermouth and spends his free-time helping out with the volunteers.  He has a part-time job, but he's keen to show his parents he can still get out of bed and do a hard day's work.  He told me he'll also add the experience to his CV in order to promote himself to future employers.

The day culminated with our return to Mickleden where I presented the cheque for £4250 to Tanya.  For those not in the know, sales of my map, 'Tubular Fells' have been exceptional and £1 from each goes to this worthy cause.  We returned after a bumpy drive to the Old Dungeon Ghyll car park and here I presented all the team members with a copy of my recently published new map of Snowdonia  (Snowmotion).  They all seemed pleased, but it didn't seem much of a reward after all the hard work. 

Presenting the cheque to Ian from the National Trust

If any of you are moved enough to support Fix the Fells then please do.  Apart from purchasing Tubular Fells, Fix the Fells accept donations online, but what I hope this article has done is inspired you to offer your services for a day or two (or even more).  I have just learnt that over the past year volunteers have contributed 301 days on the fells, but when you consider the eight million visitors Lakeland receives perhaps more of us need to contribute as a matter of course.

Thanks for your time and who knows, I might see you wielding a mattock on the fells some time very soon!

LINKS and related NEWS articles:

The hand built path on Stake PassA £4,250 donation when Tubular Fells met Fix the Fells http://www.fixthefells.co.uk/latest-news/476/

Donate Online: http://www.fixthefells.co.uk/donate

Fix the Fells' Funding http://www.fixthefells.co.uk/what-we-do/funding

See the story on Facebook  <CLICK HERE>

It's brilliant, a work of genius!
John Foster, Hertfordshire

>£10,000 - THANKS!

Since April 2011 'Tubular Fells' has now raised just over £10000! >£10000 raised for Fix the FellsThis is an astounding figure and thanks to everyone who has shown their support by buying the map.  This figure is enough to produce over 100 metres of stone pitched path.  Many thanks to everyone who's purchased the map so far from as far afield as Leeds, London, Canada, Massachusetts, New Zealand and Hawaii!
  • £10-one metre of revegetation alongside a path
  • £25-one tonne of stone moved to site
  • £50-one 25kg bag of special upland grass seed
  • £100-one metre of stone pitched path
  • £250-one stone lined path cross drain
  • £600-one hour of helicopter flying time to move stone