We seem to have ended the year much as it started – uprooting western hemlock in Snipes Dene, and continuing to rid the Monument bank of rhododendron. Tending a fire in the rain to burn cut rhododendron is one of the great pleasures of being a Gibside Conservation Volunteer but, this time, it was a pleasure denied. Rangers Dan and Ollie got there first, unchallenged. Don’t know how that happened. Maybe they feel it’s their duty to keep us volunteers safe from the dangers of fire. Or it could be a new National Trust health and safety measure – like the one that now requires a fence to be erected around a fire’s dying embers, presumably for the protection of wandering barefoot backwoodsmen. We used to put them out with water.
|The Team Hard at Work|
|Progress being made|
|Olly Hard at Work|
|Olly and Dan Keep Warm|
Any way, it was a cold and miserable day, so we packed in early. There’s only so much pleasure to be had from sawing through a seemingly endless forest of rhododendron in the rain - especially when you can’t get near the fire.
|Decorated Trees in Walled Garden|
Happy Christmas to all our readers
Thanks to Nicholas Watts MBE for the robin photo
Steve Wootten & Phil Coyne