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" Crummock and the Eels "

Date & start time:    Saturday 21st July, 2018. 

Location of Start :   By the red phone box, Loweswater, Cumbria, Uk. ( NY 143 211 )

Places visited :         A purposeful walk down to the lake.

Walk details :             2 miles, negligible feet of ascent,  an hour or so.

Highest point :          I know what was the lowest point . . . read on.

Walked with :             Myself and our dog Dylan.

Weather :                    Sunny but clouding over as our long spell of fine weather finally ends.

© Crown copyright. All rights reserved. Licence number PU 100034184.


I heard mention of another wildlife project recently.

There is a European directive for the authorities to help the eels if they can ... so United Utilities do their bit.

They are installing eel-friendly access at the weir at the northern end of Crummock Water.

We often walk there but not always to the weir . . . so I take a walk down to see what they are doing.

The Park Beck river is very low in this dry weather . . .
. . . the grass is parched too, more yellow than for a long time.

The lake level has been dropping in recent weeks.

Stumps of old trees and posts are showing for the first time in a long while.

These trees are normally being lapped by the water.

The levels are about fifteen to eighteen inches down . . . that's a lot of water when multiplied across the whole expanse of the lake.

Looking down to the weir at the foot of Crummock Water.

There has been talk of eel passes being built and dredging being done while the levels are low.

The mechanical diggers have gone . . . leaving a disturbed area of lake gravel across the lakeside path and into the trees on the left.

The water is still muddied from the excavations . . . and there is some weird plastic tacked onto the stonework.

In the river there are anti-pollution measures in place.

An explanatory sign about the work tells us what is being done.
Those ugly plastic panels hide brushes on the inside.

Click here or on the photo above for a larger more readable version of the sign.

The brushes and matting are there to provide traction for the eels and elvers to climb over the weir and into the lake.

The central section has had plastic matting fitted onto the stonework.

[ The white sandbag is there temporarily while they do the work.]

The same matting has been applied to the other central section but strangely not to the fish-pass itself.

Beyond it the low levels of water mean the normal beach now extends well out into the lake bed.

Those ugly white plastic panels are repeated on the final section of the weir and the brackets holding them are a real bodged job.

They will always be visible above the water even in flood times.

In the year we have received World Heritage Status it seems environmental vandalism to fit such ugly structures.

No-one I talked too today like the look of them.

More rather dubiously anti-pollution measures under the bridge.

On a second visit they had cleared away the sandbags and the water level had dropped

and now the eel brushes no longer even touch the water.

It seems that they are not only ugly but totally impractical and why is the design different from the black matting ?

Comparative pictures from previous years . . .

. . . when the water level was not so low.

Downstream the muddied waters of the lake have left a residual haze in the water,

which took several days to clear despite the measures they had put in place.

- - - o o o - - -

A final few pictures down at the eel ladder at the Scale Hill car park.

There's a discrete black box section, neatly fitted onto the wall.

It was fitted last year by the Environment Agency and has water flowing over the hidden brushes inside

These provide a constantly damp environment at the side bank of the river to allow eels to cross the weir when the river is low.

The top and bottom both touch the water even at times of drought.

It is reasonably discrete and visually not a problem.

It is also the same river . . . so why are the top eel brushes on the weir different from this system just half a mile downstream,

and why is is it necessary to have ninety foot wide matting and ugly brush panels up there when a foot wide provision is deemed suitable here ?

United Utilities have a lot of questions to answer.

- - - o o o - - -

A month on . . . and the lake level is back to normal following the rains . . . but the eyesore remains.

Drought conditions . . . July.
Rain restored . . . August.

The water is now flowing across the whole width of the outflow once more.

The black matting is hidden under the water so is visually better . . .

. . . but the white plastic boards are as ugly and intrusive as before.

Compared to the black box structure 800 yards down river they seem very badly designed.

They are far too tall . . . and far too white . . . and as for those brackets, they make the whole thing visually abhorrent.

- - - o o o - - -

There is no mention of any answers to our local councillor and no 'notice of intent' at the location

regarding the future of these structures.

United Utilities still have a lot of unanswered questions in front of them.

- - - o o o - - -


Technical note: Pictures taken with either Ann's Panasonic Lumix TZ60, or my Panasonic Lumix Gx8 Camera.

Resized in Photoshop, and built up on a Dreamweaver web builder.

This site best viewed with . . . a practical conservation measure that also looks nice.

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Previous walk - 20th July - Wildlife, Stars and Garden

A previous time down by the weir - 11th October 2010 Crummock and Cake

Next walk - 28th July - Cathy, Gareth and Rhian