When I’m not writing…I sometimes Fix The Fells

One of the great experiences of writing, is the ability of the subconscious to produce creative ideas. Sometimes when the words dry up and progression of the story is not forthcoming, its best to put the laptop down and have a change of scenery. Almost with no conscious effort, the light bulb moment occurs and the new idea is apparent.

When I leave the laptop behind, I love to get out and about in the mountains of the Lake District. For over four years now, I’ve been a volunteer with Fix The Fells in the Lake District. We carry out upland path maintenance walks, during which water drains are cleared of loose stones, to keep excess water off the paths. We also keep the paths clear of loose rocks and other debris. We undertake path building and repair projects, and support the National Trust Rangers with their path work.

Repairing the stone pitching on the Old Man of Coniston.

We aim to help prevent erosion of the landscape caused primarily by the weather and the footfall of millions of visitors. If not kept in check, erosion results in the loss of vegetation, soil, stone, habitats, species and the beautiful landscape. The paths are predominantly built from stone due to its hard wearing properties and natural characteristics. The surrounding land is carefully landscaped to create a blended and natural environment.

The volunteers are drawn from a wide demographic and each bring a variety of skills and experience to the role. The teams work well together and the social camaraderie is enjoyable. I get a great feeling of satisfaction, by making a contribution towards the maintenance of the Lake District upland paths. In 2019 the Fix the Fells volunteers broke all records and gifted over 2,500 days on the mountain paths.

Before and after photographs of stone pitching in Dovedale, above Brother’s Water

One of my most enjoyable projects was building the stone pitching towards the peak of Wansfell from the western approach. Prior to us undertaking the work a large wide gulley had appeared due to erosion, washing the soil and vegetation away. I love to walk that route these days and reflect on the improvement we made. Check it out if you’re wandering that way.

After a days hard graft in the mountains with Fix The Fells, it’s a pleasure to get the laptop out, and get writing with a nice cup of coffee.

To find out more about Fix The Fells, click on the icon.

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