Nestling in its own twenty-acre estate of beautiful landscaped gardens and woodland, Cragwood Country House Hotel and restaurant enjoys stunning views overlooking Lake Windermere. The Lake District is a challenge in many ways. In contrast to the warmth and comfort of the hotel, the area, with England's five tallest mountains and deepest, largest lakes, is the country's biggest adventure playground. Maintaining the hotel grounds is an equally challenging prospect with its slopes down to the lake.
Part of a group with three hotels, Cragwood recently invested in a Pasquali Eos 6.55RS alpine tractor to work across all three, helping in the maintenance of the grounds and tending eighty acres of woodland. The Eos is an equal sized wheel tractor made with a central articulation and available in mono directional or reversible versions. The range offers extremely compact, low profile solutions totally at home working on steep hills, slopes and rough terrain. With an excellent steering radius, constant drive optimising power transmitted to the wheels and a compact and secure alignment, the tractors are ideally suited to the work needed for Cragwood and its sister hotels.
A flail mower attachment is used for cutting on the steep grassland and the Pasquali was supplied with a snow plough to maintain access to the hotel when the changeable weather brings snow and ice. Dave Pearce, the group's Estate Forester, was the consultant responsible for choosing the Eos. "There were three key requirements," he says, "the ability to work on slopes was obvious, coupled with physical size for both storage and getting into tight areas, and of course power.
The Eos offered us high power (56hp) for a compact, and yet it is only one and a quarter tonnes so there is minimal ground damage when cutting amenity areas and working in the wet. After all, it is the Lake District!" There is a choice of water cooled, diesel engines with advanced combustion and injection systems to comply with the latest exhaust emission limits, providing high output and high torque at low rpm. Noise level is low and vibration imperceptible. Fuel consumption is also low and servicing is said to be economical. This power is coupled to a fully synchronized 24-speed gearbox with quiet running helicoidal gears (12 FWD and 12 REV) and a reversing gear.
The wide range of gear ratios lets you choose the optimum speed for the task in hand. The transmission is mounted inside the chassis providing high ground clearance and a very low center of gravity for utmost stability under all conditions. Part of Dave Pearce's work covers the hotel group's ancient woodland and the management of their bio diversity project for wood fuel production from their semi natural hardwood woodland. "We found the Eos to have a short wheelbase and a tight turning radius, making it particularly suitable when space is tight and precise and accurate movements must be made working in the woodland," he added.
The quick and smooth steering on the tractor is servo-assisted with an independent pump which accounts for precise handling in all situations. Cragwood was originally designed by Frank Dunkerley and built in 1910 for the industrialist Albert Warburton. The house was constructed from stone quarried in its own grounds and the quarries are now a feature of the water gardens. The Edwardian Gardens, landscaped at the turn of the century by Thomas Mawson, lead down to the shore of Lake Windermere where there is half a mile of lake-frontage.
Scattered across the shore, both above and below the water-line, are the curious "Inscribed Rocks of Windermere" on which the recluse John Longmire carved the names of his heroes and enthusiasms in stone. We wonder if he might have added the Pasquali Eos to his musing. Pasquali Tractors: 01442 842540/05600 492482 (local rate) www.pasqualitractors.co.uk