Common Questions

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  • 01.

    Question

    How long does the walk up Scafell Pike take and where does the path start?

    Answer

    If you're staying on our campsite, the footpath leads out from the back of our site.

    It's a 5.5 mile walk Via the main route up past Hollow Stones, you can expect it to take between 3-5 hours depending on weather conditions and walking speed.

  • 02.

    Question

    Have you been digging for gold?

    Answer

    As you can imagine walking around the fells with a shovel, brush and mattock can led to some interested looks and numerous questions, the above being the most common! Unfortunately we aren't digging for gold, we would normally be on route to our work site for the day, or more commonly out undertaking what we call a drain run.

    A drain run is what we use to maintain the upland path network as it allows us to clear drains of stones and other obstacles, and sweep stones off pitching. By clearing the drains we are ensuring that water can drain freely from the path, limiting the opportunity for water erosion. Sweeping the stones off meanwhile makes the path more appealing to walk on as often people step off the path due to small stones acting like marbles. Both of these aim to reduce the erosion of and around the path.

    These drain runs will be done on some paths only once a year, but on other more popular paths could be needed once every month! So the next time you spot one of the upland rangers in red, carrying some tools, stop them for a chat. They'll be more than happy to talk to you, beware though they may try to convince you that they've just buried their line manager!

  • 03.

    Question

    What do you do when the weather's bad?

    Answer

    We just keep on working. If we didn't work on all the wet and windy days we have in the Lake District we wouldn't get a great deal done! The only time weather stops us from working is if there's been a lot of heavy rain and the becks are too unsafe to cross. Or if there's a lot of deep snow, which makes much of our work virtually impossible and potentially very dangerous if we're moving large rocks about.

  • 04.

    Question

    Have you had a lift up in a helicopter?

    Answer

    Unfortunately not! As a team we are all keen walkers and as such the walk to the job site first thing in the morning can often be the most enjoyable part of the job. It also saves us money on gym memberships!

    The only time we may get a ride in a helicopter is when we are moving stone to our work sites before the summer begins. Over the period of a week we will fly stone from collection sites onto the work sites. As all the stone for a whole summers work is flown in the one week time is very precious, so to save time team members are sometimes flown up onto site to offer advice to members of the public, as well as indicating to the pilots where stone needs to be left. For the rest of the year, these boots really are made for walking!

  • 05.

    Question

    How much stone footpath do you build in a day?

    Answer

    When writing the specifications we estimate that we'll complete an average of a metre and a half each day. On a good day you can get around three metres of path pitched, on a really bad day you might only get one stone in the ground. Generally the ease of digging dictates how much path we can build each day. If there's a lot of large boulders that have to be removed before you can start pitching, or bedrock that has to be chipped out, or incredibly compressed ground (you have to see it to believe it), it can really slow things down.

  • 06.

    Question

    When you're path building up on the fells, how do you move all those heavy rocks about?

    Answer

    All the rocks are moved by hand, assisted by a winch if they're exceptionally large. We use crowbars to help move larger rocks and when required a few of us will work together to move very big rocks. Where possible we'll always move rocks downhill and let gravity help. Occasionally we'll use a petrol-driven power barrow to help move rock about, but all the rock has to be put in the barrow by hand.