Monday, January 18, 2021

Rescue on the Thelon River, NWT Canada


This incident took part whilst we were on the The Clarke / Thelon rivers  in 2007.  


Not exactly a rescue in the way us British canoeists would know it - but this demonstrates how difficult access/egress is for many of the remoter Canadian rivers.



Our 3rd day of paddling with a small group of paddlers on  the  Thelon and we encountered ice which went right across the river.  A combination of hauling the canoes across the ice and by portage and we were making slow progress. 


On the river bank a lone middle aged canoeist was sitting next to her small tent, and her collapsable canoe.  Alex our guide went to talk to her.  It transpired that she had been  having problems with her satellite telephone and  she told Alex she was; “waiting for the ice to melt or break up. ”. And had been on the river for three days.  We  also discovered that she had  called Fort Smith Royal Canadian Mounted Police as she wanted ‘rescuing’ as the thought of three or more weeks of isolated paddling  through remote wilderness had become far too intimidating for her to cope with and didn’t want to paddle any further, and had given up any idea of paddling to the only settlement on the river at Baker lake a few hundred miles downstream.


Alex told her that no plane could land on the broken ice, nor on the rapids downstream and that she’d have to paddle back a mile or so where the water was flat enough for  a float plane to land safely, but she appeared unwilling to move.  She had plenty of food and supplies so we left her where she was knowing she’d made contact with the RCMP in Fort Smith.  Alex told us that to ‘rescue’ her would cost her $6000 Canadian dollars for the 2 hour flight from Ft Smith!!  


Alex told us that Kevin, whom we had met in Fort Smith was flying out to the river and would probably paddle down to help her move her camp to a place of rescue.


We paddled on.


When we eventually finished our own trip and flew  back to Fort Smith we heard the rest of story.  It transpired that she was from California and  had been rescued  the previous year on the Mckenzie River after her collapsable canoe had sunk - and this was the same canoe she was using on the Thelon!!.  


A  plane had flown out to her the day after we met her, and dropped a message to her telling her she needed to move to a safer place so the plane could land which she refused to do.  


Later another plane overflew her and reported that she had moved her tent, but not to the correct place and that she could not be seen.  At this point it had become apparent to those in Fort Smith that she was in need of mental health care as well, so Kevin took with him a Psychologist & Psychiatrist,  and after a days paddle eventual found her and helped her move to a place where a float plane could come and fetch her back to Ft. Smith.


When I later called in to North West Air, to confirm our own arrangements for flying out of Ft Smith the woman was talking to a representative from the North West Air and wanted to know about getting a job in Ft Smith and for advice on where she could pitch her tent!  Mmmm?

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Hedgelaying training for the York Wildlife Trust

Hobb House Farm Rosedale. February 2018

I was asked to run this two day event by Mary-Jane Alexander the NYMNP's Youth Engagement Officer. 

Given that most of them had little experience of using hand saws, axes, billhooks and the like, I was pleasantly surprised that they managed to achieve such good results and under quite cold, wintery conditions.


Mary-Jane and a trainee 
Getting stuck in!

Not bad by any means.  Yorkshire style!

Not perfect cuts, but certainly quite good considering their experience, and age.

Friday, November 1, 2019

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Satir/Satyr inscribed stone Wheeldale, Goathland

Near Skivick Crag - Wheeldale, at GR 809982 can be found at a small stone cairn a stone laying against the cairn with the words, Satir, or as Tom Scott Burns told me, 'Satyr', which he was informed to be the burial place of a dog of that name and there is also a date which he says is Sept 1848 or 9.

Here's two pictures taken in January 2019.


Satir or Satyr ?
I didn't notice when I looked but apparently to the left of the year date is;  'Sept' - the date looks rather like 1809 to me but I viewed it on a rather dull day 

I've walked within this inscribed stone hundreds of times since my youth and never noticed it.  I looked in the area for nearly an hour until  I was a local farmer feeding his sheep.  I asked him and he immediately took me the small cairn and pointed it out but he could add no further information.




Saturday, December 29, 2018

2 Foxes Stone - Danby Head

The 2 Foxes Stone - Danby Head
I.R
2 Foxes

I was first told about this stone by Author Tom Scott Burns in 1989. I never got around to visiting it until one wet and windy day this December 2018.  Easy enough to find with his instructions but I could not find  another inscription close by, recorded by T.S.B.   "....and low down to the left - "I.Peirson 1796"  - is inscribed upon another rock at ground level" .  The ground is extremely steep and pretty overgrown I could not find this stone.  Within the last few years there had been a cliff fall nearby to the 2 Foxes Stone.  It was raining and unpleasant so I didn't spend a lot of time looking.

The location for both stones is reached with some difficulty. (NZ 692024). From Botton in Danby Dale follow the track which runs south past High Farm, past the forest on your left, it then  ascends onto the moor on the east side of Danby Head, follow the track around  the edge of the wood on your right.  As the track descends towards the beck there is a gate.  At the top of the west side of the beck  there are a few small trees along a small broken crag. A very indistinct zig-zag takes you up to the right from where you can traverse to the rock face where  the 2 Foxes stone engraving is.

Peirsons were a family of Quakers in Danby Dale at one time and it may be a memorial to a hunting accident. Who knows?  Here is a picture of the Peirson Stone,  and the location  where it can be found.  I was unable to locate it even after another visit and much longer search.  Some of the crag appears to have fallen away and perhaps with it, the Peirson stone.
Photo taken by Jane Ellis and published by permission.  This photo was taken about 1988

Photo taken by Jane Ellis and published by permission.  This photo was taken about 1988.  I was unable to locate this feature and I'm assuming it has now collapsed.


Monday, December 17, 2018

Farndale Cairn

Cairns are becoming increasingly common on the North York Moors over the last 20 years as more people take to the hills.  This is already causing a problem where this habit causes damage to archeological sites such as Tumulus (Bronze age burial mounds) National Park Blog=  https:/deconstructing-mounds/

Examples of well built ones with well placed stones are far less common.  Many are placed where they can be seen from a distance, such as the shoulder of a hill.  But this one is extremely well hidden and I'm not sure it can be seen from any public path or road.  I

Its in Farndale.   Its very well built - the stones are carefully selected and placed so that the cairn is a true cone shape. Someone took a great deal of care in making this a nice cone shaped cairn.   I'd probably guess its a memorial to a favoured dog..Or perhaps an accident?  But who knows?

Sunday, December 9, 2018

'Consumption Walls'

Consumption walls are so called because they are wide - this one is probably around 7ft to 8ft wide, and were made to use up (consume),

the smaller stones gathered from the field, when the process of enclosing land was first commenced.

They aren't too common, and this is the only one I've seen in the North Yorkshire Moors park.  

This specimen is at Danby Dale just south of Botton village at NZ 690031