I noticed a useful accessory for the SOTA operator, when walking through thick vegetation, which was being used as I set up on Bryn Awr GW/SW-026 (a small outlier of the Sugar Loaf),
with the Skirrid in the background.
On looking more closely
I realised it wouldn’t fit in my current rucksack as it also comes with cutting attachments as well as the crushing wheels currently attached. I think the merry operator is an optional extra but a sat nav is not included as a handheld one was being used. I haven’t contacted Sotabeams to find their price but I understand this model had cost £40,000 and haven’t yet checked on Ebay to see if it is available cheaper.
I was rather surprised by this encounter - almost as surprised as the operator was to find a tall white mast on top of his hill!!
If I remember correctly bracken will die back if it is cut a few times every year, many hill pastures are reverting to bracken because there isn’t the manpower available to cut it the traditional way with a scythe. My guess is that the guy has bought or hired this machine to reclaim the pasture for grazing. I love the row of headlamps on it!
Judging from the width of the cut I think it would take a lot of effort to clear even a small field. We do see a number of farmers out cutting the bracken or the heather (on Cyrn y Brain in very wet weather!) but this is a much smaller machine. I do know what was actually being done but I thought I would welcome a few ideas before spoiling the fun,
A major herbicide that was effective against Bracken was banned a few years back. It had other issues which was why it was banned. There are not many herbicides that work against bracken without turning the area into a barren wasteland devoid of life.
That’s just begging for iNav and a way-point mission. What could go wrong?
But does it have a wimberry picking attachment…?
Just crossing fingers that wildlife will have time to escape…
Often nesting birds or deer freeze and stay low when scared.
When I met the farmer with his bracken crusher on GW/SW-026 I asked why he was trundling this rather noisy machine (I’d heard it coming for some time and kept scanning the sky for a light plane or microlite and got more and more baffled as the noise gradually increased) and he explained that he was using a handheld GPS to ensure that his bracken cut delineated the edge of the area that had been chosen for the planting of a new wood. This project had been planned with the help of the Woodland Trust and the local Wildlife Trust - and they were hoping for a grant towards the cost. A fence was going to be erected around the young trees on the line of his cut to protect the trees from deer and rabbits but this would be removed after 12 years as it would no longer be necessary. Of course I had to ask how many trees and who was going to plant them and the latter apparently depended on how much funding was received and whether it would be sufficent to pay for a contractor to plant them. Without the money it appeared to be up to the 5 farmers involved in the scheme - and any helpers they could find - as it was a fairly large task with 116,000 trees to plant!! Any volunteers?