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Saturday, 28 March 2009

Photography not allowed at High Force




Superdawg had the idea of heading up Teesdale for some leg-cocking in the juniper woodland around High Force, and also to have a look at the waterfall which should be in spate(ish) due to the recent batch of lambing showers we’ve been having.
And so, armed with the now traditional cheese butty and banana, we parked the knipemobile at Bowlees and crossed Tees by the wobbly bridge (aka Winch Bridge) and headed off up the Pennine Way towards High Force.
Deep in the juniper scrub, just inside the Natural Trust reserve, we came across a small group of Countryside Volunteers doing some (presumably voluntary) work on the NT’s “Dirty Hands” campaign to encourage volunteering in the countryside - aka the “Get Dirty for the Natural Trust” campaign. They were bagging up a batch of juniper seedlings, apparently for sale to a garden centre in Haltwhistle. I was a bit surprised by this, specially since this juniper woodland, just like everything else nowadays is supposed to be “Under Threat” but, as one of them explained, they had to generate some income for “Green Projects” such as the new road and visitor car park for Black Sail Hut and the wind generators for Malham Tarn House. So, I expect that’s OK, then. It kind of explains how B&Q in Bishop Auckland were selling Spring Gentians for £1.99 each last May too, I suppose.
Of them, who’s ID badge introduced as “Maggie”, a skinny, bespectacled hippy-type with beads, spied my digital camera and said words to the effect that she hoped I wasn’t going to snap any pictures of the waterfall. I told her that I was fully aware of the Natural Trust’s “ban” on photography at High Force and I promised not to take any pics without the proper permit. (They’re £12 for a day ticket at the High Force Hotel, apparently) I did sneak the snap shown above – don’t tell anybody!
She did insist on examining the images on the screen, though, just to make sure that I hadn’t been naughty. Luckily, it was just before I took the snap but she did see the "glamour" pics I took of the dog asleep in front of the fire...
I thought it was all a bit officious and left me feeling just a tad annoyed. They’ve also gone a bit overboard with the “No Photography” signs, which are all the way up the Pennine Way from Winch Bridge to Cauldron Snout. I’m wasn’t entirely sure how they police this till I noticed a security camera attached to an old ash tree – and, laughably, very badly disguised as a nesting box! It was the little antennae and the whirring noise as I passed that did it. How they manage to get delicate little things like Maggie to carry out the threat to confiscate the cameras of miscreants is a mystery, although I did notice a cardboard box with a couple of cameras in it at High Force. I wondered how legal this could be….. I though there was a slight whiff of something “herbal” about her anyway and the thought crossed my mind that maybe they were selling the cameras to pay for their habits. But no, I shouldn't be suspicious. volunteers do a great job, specially in Conservation.
Anyway, so much for the dirty handed Countryside Volunteers Natural Trust
Incidentally, I wasn't too impressed by their plant identification either. One of the boxes marked "Juniper" had some gorse in it - complete with yellow flowers, too... (dhuhhh!)


7 comments:

lone walker said...

Oh Mike you wag! You had my blood boiling for a minute there. Until I noticed the timing of the posting :)

Alan Sloman said...

Nice one Mike!

:-)

fatdogwalks said...

Great wheeze Mike (lol)!

mike knipe said...

I don't believe some of you are taking this seriously...

beatingthebounds said...

So...there isn't a road to Black Sail then?
Phew....
You got me - hook, line, sinker and copy of the angling times.

mike knipe said...

snicker snicker snicker, arf arf... (and thats just the dog)

Lucky I didnt mention the helipad...

Tykelad said...

Done up like a bleeding kipper! >:(

Mike, you are a cheeky Countryside Volunteers Natural Trust !!

:D