November 2014

BEFORE (Saturday morning)

With autumn in the air, our thoughts turned once again to our annual trip to the wonderful Cragside estate. This year the work-site was located a short (but quite steep) walk up from the house and just above the Slipper Lake (tarn). Our job for the weekend was to remove overhanging rhododendrons from a hairpin bend, opening it up for visitors coming either up from the house, or down from the upper lakes. From the photo (left), you can see how the hairpin bend, which turns left just behind our heads, is completely obscured.

AFTER (Sunday lunchtime)

So we set to the clearance with gusto. As usual, a small team took responsibility for getting a fire going, while a few others took some felled logs down to the tarn and loaded them on to a trailer. Once the fire was really roaring (in a controlled way of course), which took a good hour, the felled rhodies could then be burnt almost immediately. The clearers had particular fun with the mats of rhodie roots that topped most of the rocks, almost like a natural carpet. By the end of day 1, we had almost completely cleared the hairpin as seen on the photo (right). The day finished with the usual round of sparklers (thanks to Steve, as always, for bringing those along).

On the Sunday morning we carried on further clearing of the hairpin area (Lesley got to use the leaf blower) while also clearing the house side of the lower path to reveal the natural woodland and its wonderful trees. A fantastic weekend and a very satisfying task. So much fun to reveal the hairpin from within the cloak of the rhodies. Quite a few walkers came through on both days, making it very worthwhile.


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