Monday, 23 February 2015

Aira Force Tea Room - OPEN

After a winter of refurbishments, Aira Force tea room is finally open again and back under the management of the National Trust.

There has been a tea room at Aira Force in some form or another for at least 65 years (possibly even longer).

This picture was taken in the 1960’s. There have been quite a few changes since those days.

Although the wooden structure has gone, the main part of the building is still standing, with a new stone extension (added around the 1970’s).

The tea room has been owned by the National Trust ever since Aira Force was acquired, but it has been let out to various different tenants throughout the years. It was decided last year that it was about time this beautifully positioned building with fantastic views of Lake Ullswater came back in hand, and be run by the National Trust.

The inside and outside of the building had seen better days.

A complete refurbishment was needed, work started in late 2014 with the complete gutting of the inside. As with any refurbishment there are always problems arising that hadn't been planned for.

However with such a fantastic team every one knuckled down and helped out to get all the finishing touches completed on time.

A vast improvement, I think you will agree?

The tea room is now open 7 days a week, 10:30am-16:30pm. Please drop in to see the improvements for yourself.

By late spring Ullswater Steamers will have also built a pier on Aira Green, only a few hundred yards from the Tea Room. This will mean that visitors can hop on a steamer at Glenridding, have a lovely stroll around Aira Force, then enjoy the delights of the Tea room, before heading back to Glenridding along the new Lake side path.

What better way to spend a spring afternoon!

Friday, 13 February 2015

Millerground Enhancement Group. Path improvements on Queen Adelaide's Hill, and how to tell a Stoss End from a Lee Slope!

Queen Adelaide's Hill is situated to the east of Windermere, above Millerground, with magnificent views over the lake's widest point. 

It is a large drumlin, a rounded, elongated hill formed from an accumulation of glacial debris. A large proportion of the heterogeneous mix of glacial till consists of gravel.

The steep north facing slope (Stoss end) rises to the hill's highest point; the long south facing slope (Lee slope) tapers down gradually in the direction of the former ice flow.

View of Fairfield and Loughrigg to the north. 
This is the steep STOSS END and it once faced the ice flow.

View of Belle Isle and Claife looking south down the long gentle incline of the LEE SLOPE. (This slope indicates the direction of flow of the ancient glacier)

The Queen Adelaide's Hill path on its eastern flank was in need of attention; it had become very slippery.

The Millerground Enhancement Group decided to make the route to and from the top of Queen Adelaide's Hill safer. Cutting back the turf and exposing the drumlin's gravel gives a much grippier surface on the steep slope.

Members of the Windermere and Bowness Civic Society, students from Windermere School, and NT rangers working together on the path.

Completed section of path near the top of the hill.

The 'hairpin bend' is so steep that steps were deemed necessary.
(Putting in the 'risers')

The word drumlin is derived from the Gaelic word druim (rounded hill or mound)
Many hands make light work. A great deal was achieved in under two hours.

This post will be updated when more path and landscape work has been completed.

Queen Adelaide's Hill was the choice of many from which to watch the only two airworthy Avro Lancaster bombers flying from north to south over Windermere!
Sept 7th. 2014. Image © V. Caudrey. 

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

'Sense of Place' Sculpture.

Recently, James Mitchell (Woodland Craft) was requested to create a wood sculpture to evoke the special and much cherished aspects of the St. Catherine's estate and the Footprint.

James saw a windblown oak in the woods at St.Catherine's and decided
 that this would be ideal wood from which to carve a sculpture.

Skilful use of a chain saw.
© Christian Shaw. 

James uses a wood chisel for the more intricate and detailed work.
© Christian Shaw.

Working in the wood at St. Catherine's close to the site of the
fallen oak that provided the wood for the sculpture.
© Christian Shaw.

The sculpture about to be put in place at the entrance to St Catherine's.

A close up view...

...of some of the fine detail work.

St.Catherine's is a stronghold of the rare netted carpet moth...occupying
 pride of place at the base of the sculpture.

We are grateful to James who, through his unique sculpture, has encapsulated the distinctive ambience or "Sense of Place"  that permeates this property and reflects our 'Deepening Connections to Nature' initiative.

Please click on link below.

 Finally, these two images were taken from the sculpture's
location on Monday, Jan 19th, after a recent snowfall.

Above... The Langdale Pikes, and below...Wetherlam
with a glimpse of England's largest lake...Windermere.

What an outlook!

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

A Christmas present for Patterdale Primary School

 During last year a number of high winds had blown down some rather large trees in Aira Force. You could almost say some of them were as big as a car!!

They were beginning to make the pinetum area look rather untidy. So after a visit by our local primary school from Patterdale, it was decided that they could perhaps use them for something in their outside play area.

With some help from our forestry team, the three substantial logs were delivered to the primary school.

What to do with them now? It was decided that two of them would be transformed into log cars for the children to play on, easier said than done.

It was time to get in the mind-set of a 7 year old, which to be honest for some of our Rangers this wasn't that hard.

The plan was to use a chainsaw to carve out some seating areas. First the outline was marked with the tip of the saw; once all the lines matched up the final cut could be made.

The majority of the work could be done with the chainsaw, but some of the finer details had to be finished off by hand, with a chisel and hammer.

A car wouldn't be a car without a steering wheel and wheels.

After two days of work the cars were finally complete and ready for the children to enjoy.

Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Firewood for the Footprint.

Strong winds have recently blown several trees down over a woodland boundary wall at St. Catherine's. 

Although this has added to our work, it presented the opportunity to replenish the fire wood stocks for the Footprint Building that is reliant on a large woodburner stove for heating its interior.

Made a mess of the dry stone wall.

The wall was repaired once the tree had been cut up and removed.

A small windblown ash ready to be cut up for firewood.
(Power barrow in the background waiting to be loaded up)

Loads are brought to the wood store from site by power barrows, once again proving their worth by their ability to negotiate difficult to access, boggy ground.

Log splitting, prior to stacking the firewood in the woodstore.

There are several compartments in the wood store which allows for the firewood to be used in rotation. The wood in the most recently filled compartment is used last to allow it to "season".

A large proportion of the firewood for the Footprint is sourced from windblown trees.