Sarah Anderson - upland ranger profile
Ranger, Lake District
Meet Sarah, one of our upland rangers with a head for heights and a love of the Lake District fells.
What does your role as a ranger for the National Trust involve?
As part of the Upland team, during the summer our focus is working on footpaths in the high fells of the Lake District. We work under the partnership project ‘Fix the Fells’ whose core objective is to protect the spectacular Lakeland fells from erosion by maintaining and repairing the paths.
Through this we use traditional techniques, such as pitching, to make path lines more sustainable and in the process more resilient to the high levels of footfall they receive. While the summer months are spent up in the fells, we spend our winters working alongside our other ranger colleagues on projects down in the valley bottoms. This adds great variety to the work we do and enables us to learn many more skills, alongside using our specialist stone work skills in different settings.
Tell us more about your conservation work…
Our projects this year are very focused on the damage that was caused by Storm Desmond back in 2015. Many paths were washed out by water and are in need of a bit of attention! Using techniques such as pitching (stone steps), landscaping and drainage we will create path lines that will be sustainable and sympathetic to the landscape. Hopefully with better drainage they will also be more resilient to storm events in the future.
What’s a typical day like?
During the summer we often work longer days due to the distance we have to walk into sites. In many instances it can be anything from 40 minutes to an hour and a half, just to reach our worksites high up on the fell. Sites this year include Helvellyn, Greenup Edge, Tongue Gill and Grisedale Tarn. Once we are there we do allow ourselves a little breather before we get stuck into the work. The techniques we use often involve working with large rocks and a lot of digging, it’s very manual work and we have to make sure we have enough energy to make it back down the fell safely. As a bonus, working the longer days means we get Fridays off to recover!
What do you do in your spare time?
You would think in my spare time I would find something nice and relaxing to do, read a book maybe. Instead I’m an active member of a local mountain rescue team. I decided that as my job allows me to have such an in depth knowledge of the fells I would put it to good use by helping people. When I’m not out on the fells you’ll probably find me walking my dog, Rowan (who also joins us at work) or occasionally swimming in some of the many lakes on offer up here…and I’m a regular cake baker to keep the team going whilst we work!
Tell us the best part of the job!
I love working in the fells. It’s an area I’m incredibly passionate about so to be able to work in it day in day out is great. During the year we also do heli-lifts to get materials onto site. The best part of this is that we often get flown up onto the fell, as much as I love walking, being flown up is a special treat!