Bridge Building Progress
The original intention was to complete the bridge work in 2018 but it took some time for the Environment Agency to grant the necessary permissions. It was then too late to begin the work so the National Park put up a temporary bridge for the Summer and Autumn. This had to be dismantled before Winter as heavy rains would have swept the scaffolding into Crummock Water and perhaps into the Cocker. Work began on the new bridge in earnest in July 2019: building the footings and bridge walls; strengthening the river banks; the three massive 34 feet long supports for the bridge delivered and the whole structure positioned by the end of August. I managed a first crossing on 4 September with the walk boards all in place. Work on the approaches to the bridge and tidying the ground is expected to be finished by 13 September with the bridge open to all, and hopefully the squirrels that were often seen on the old bridge will soon be back and suitably impressed.
It’s been great to follow the progress in recent weeks and tremendous thanks to the team - Dan, Steve, Phil and Nick, not forgetting Pippin. I’ve been astonished how quickly the work has been completed, particularly given the wet August. It’s been fabulous walking from Buttermere as part of my visits, exploring Burtness Comb which we loved and then climbing to High Stile via the North East ridge, scrambling up the gully between Grey Crag and Eagle Crag, or climbing Sheepbone Rake for High Crag. And there’s the circuit of Buttermere, one of the Lake District’s most exquisite jewels, fabulous in all weathers at all times of the year, with so many opportunities to linger, enjoy Buttermere’s sylvan loveliness, and perhaps remember previous walks and company.
There’s been no temporary bridge this year so it’s been the best part of a year without a bridge. When the water levels were low, it’s been possible to cross by Buttermere’s outlet. But for much of the time, water levels were too high so the Scale Bridge detour has had to be used. I know that’s been hard for some people expecting a leisurely stroll by Buttermere shore and in Burtness Woods but there have been compensations - I’ve certainly seen redstarts in the hedgerows by Scale Bridge. With the opening of the replacement bridge those gentle walks are now made much more accessible and those heading for Red Pike save 30 minutes. All good wishes to everyone using the bridge and enjoy the delights of Buttermere and the surrounding fells