Loki the Labradoodle (Trail Building Sunday 18th October)

18 October, 2009 at 21:00

The day started earlier than usual this week. For some bizarre and masochistic reason, I thought it would be a good idea to go for a ride round before building. For me, this meant a 6am alarm call – it’s a 115 mile round trip – to load up the car with bike and gear and head on up to Cannock. So, at 8.09am I was off for my ride. 15 or so miles later and it was time for large amounts of caffeine and chocolate from Swinno’s and to meet the rest of the gang to find out where we were working.

There was a choice today to split into two groups to get as much as possible done with precious volunteer time – rocks or digging, both on the Monkey. Transport was assigned and our motley convoy set off. And promptly got stuck unable to get through the barrier off the main road as the FC have put a new padlock on it and not given a copy of the new key to anyone. Much arm waving and head scratching ensued and eventually the decision was made to go to the next barrier along and drive round to get to our destination.

There was plenty of testosterone flowing for the rock moving, so Dave, Petra, Charlotte, Jessica, Josh, New Andy, Jay, Alex and his dog, Loki, set off down the hill to smite the earth with tools. It would appear that silly people who don’t understand what no entry signs mean or pay attention to trail closure signs had in fact been riding the section after where we were working backwards (down, instead of up – not some kind of stunt riding). So, once we’d finished building the amendment to the trail, we returned the old exit of the trail back to Mother Nature’s sweet embrace, with a large amount of earth and several tons of fallen trees. Greets to the 2 riders who showed up to say Hi. Next time we’ll make sure we stop off at Swinno’s again just before we go to see if there are any stragglers who want to help us out.

There was still a large amount of muscle flexing going on at rock central [Frank mainly – the rest of us struggle in that area – Ed] so we decided to head back to the log bridge we’d built last week and make a start on bench cutting the trail to the bridge – also known as ‘Absinthe’. Bad news is that the entire hill on the other side of the bridge appears to be made of sand. This means that we’ll have to bench cut the whole section, which is about 300 yards, and then barrow some imported decent surface in to stop the trail disappearing into a scene from Lawrence of Arabia.

In other news, the young’uns were using the log bridge for some kind of gladiatorial combat, presumably over rights to who got to hold Loki’s lead. In the carnage, Josh tried to stop a wheel barrow with his jaw and managed to cut his lip. This was duly administered to from a handy first aid kit. Luckily, the wheel barrow sustained no damage. Late in the afternoon, Martin turned up and walked around with a shovel for a while. He alleged that he’d spent a good part of the day finishing off the construction of the log bridge although we were fairly sure the extra supports and the bolts that had been fitted were just coincidence and could have been put there by anyone.