We first visited Hutton Roof Crags for a working weekend in 2012 and have returned each winter since then.
This year we continued where we left off in March 2018, high up on the hill just where woodland opens out onto limestone pavement. The land, part of a National Nature Reserve is owned by Cumbria Wildlife Trust. Ahead of our visit a couple of the Trust’s apprentices (or placement students, sorry I can’t remember which), practised their chain saw skills and felled trees either side of the footpath leading out to the pavement. This generated a lot of wood which needed to be cleared. On Friday afternoon we concentrated our efforts on clearing this and building up a big fire.
Our efforts were rewarded when we returned on Saturday – after a wild night of wind and rain, lots of rain, the embers were still glowing and we able to get the fire going again with ease. Wal was impressed!
On Saturday and Sunday we split our efforts between continuing the clearance – which took all weekend but was completed thanks to a supreme effort – and coppicing trees between the path and the pavement, opening the vistas up the hill.
We can’t really avoid a mention of the weather. Saturday was extremely wet. Although the fire was blazing, the ground was slippy and difficult to work on in places. As the wind picked up and the clouds came down, we left the hill relatively early. Driving back to the hostel in Ingleton, we passed Devil’s Bridge at Kirkby Lonsdale and the water was shockingly high. However, Sunday was a lovely day and we were able to work into the afternoon. After sustenance in the form of fire -baked potatoes (and the final round of cake and tiffin) we bade our farewells and set off home.