The Joe Brown Shops (Est 1966) and The Climbers Shop (Est 1959)

With over 100 years of retail heritage our shops are incredibly proud to offer a huge choice of clothing and equipment for climbers, mountaineers, hillwalkers and trail runners. Our story was begun by pioneers back in the days when hemp ropes were all the rage. Today, our team are equally passionate about sharing their experience of the products we stock so you don’t have to experience the hard lessons they have already learned. To read about our journey and where we are heading click below….

admin23/03/2010 15:48:58

Capel Curig Betws-Y-Coed LL24 0EN

Giving a Little Back–Fix The Fells

   Words by tcsh

   on 30/08/2019 08:49:15

Love them or hate them, laid paths have become a necessary part of maintaining the stunning hills in our busy National Parks across the country. After spending years walking and running miles of laid Lakeland pathways, Cathy joined a volunteer team to find out just who lays the stones that save the Lake District from the blight of erosion:

If you have got involved in any of our three 60th Anniversary Challenges: the Cumbrian Centurion 100 Challenge walk or hunting the crags for Nuts Of Legends you will have likely walked miles of laid path and there is even a current Fix The Fells project on the Ambleside Trail 60 route itself just after the big climb out of Langstrath (runners hint: keep some energy in the tank for that last climb – it’s a beast!) As part of our aim to create a zero-waste event 5% of Ambleside Trail 60 entry fees’ are being donated to Fix The Fells so that not only do we leave no footprints but we actively fund the eradication of them too.

A unique collaboration between a number of partners, including the National Trust and the Lake District National Park; Fix The Fells pools skills and knowledge to effectively repair and maintain 350 upland paths. The erosion caused by millions of pairs of walking boots & running shoes combined with the rigors of the Cumbrian climate leads to loss of vegetation, species and habitats on the fells, as well as damage to the biodiversity of the rivers and lakes below. To combat this, four teams of highly skilled Rangers work with an army of volunteers in every weather imaginable to ensure our ancient network of mountain paths, many of which have been around for hundreds, if not thousands of years can continue to be enjoyed. Working with numerous user groups the teams build sustainable paths using natural materials and traditional methods, team members must be part craftsperson and part artist to achieve the best compromise possible for all users. It’s not a cheap job either – with a metre of stone pitching costing on average £200, Fix The Fells needs £500,000 per year to continue their work, such as in Coledale in the before and after pictures below:

Coledale-before-and-after

I joined a Rob the Ranger and his team of volunteers on the (mercifully) sun blessed slopes of Wansfell, just a short walk from our Ambleside shop and it wasn’t long before I was digging turf, rolling rocks, maneuvering boulders, bashing in pegs and cleaning shovels amid a barrage of banter and enthusiasm. I was astonished at just how much stone twelve of us laid in a few hours, across a boggy stretch of very busy path as in between much chin strokery at how rocks were placed, walkers were eagerly encouraged to walk across the freshly laid sections while volunteers stood back to quietly appraise their handy work. Careful thought was put into level so that there were no nasty surprises for mountain bikers and any rock that wasn’t sitting just right was dug out and re-placed accordingly.

DSCN6417DSCN6412DSCN6416DSCN6423DSCN6419

Over lunch, I discovered that volunteers had travelled from as far away as Stockport and had a wealth of experience between the equally split group of men and women. After completing their training with the Lake District National Park (including mountain first aid and navigation) they commit to twelve days a year with many doing more. Each volunteer is mentored which must be key to the convivial atmosphere of support among the group. I thoroughly enjoyed myself and as I skipped back over Wansfell back to the shop I found myself eyeing the stones with a new respect. Almost every path you walk on in the Lake District (and I am sure it is the same across all of our National Parks) has been laid by someone who has given up their time for free under the care and expertise of Rangers who are passionate about maintaining our mountains for generations to come. That’s got to be worth popping some loose change in the collection pot next time you see one!

For more information on getting involved, how paths are maintained, the increasing problem of where the stone comes from or possibly a donation to support the Ranger team and their valuable work please visit https://www.fixthefells.co.uk/

fixthefells

Ever walked up to Helvellyn via the Hole in the Wall?

Below are a collection of merged photos showing the path before work began in 1998 and completion in

2019. The photos are in order of ascent (but all within c. 400 yards of each other).

imageimageimageimageimage

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