Best Laid Plans (Trail Building Sunday 31st January)

31 January, 2010 at 22:00

Well, today’s plan was to shuffle more rocks around on the Monkey but the dusting of snow put pay to that – the weather gods aren’t smiling on us at the mo. So, with a little head scratching we quickly drafted a plan ‘B’ to keep the willing volunteers warm. “The Link” above Marquis Drive seemed an obvious choice as we had a few alternations to make. During last week’s inspection, the Forestry Commission’s engineer was a tad concerned that the “Verbier Switchbacks” looked out of place and were a little too extreme for our red grade trail. Alex was not a happy bunny considering the effort he’d put in planning the trail but they had to go. Don’t worry, Alex has vowed to build something similar elsewhere at a later date – the trails will evolve over time!

Whilst being pelted with polystyrene like snow, I began to think Martin and Jez had plumped for the right job dropping off more planks at the various locations where we’re building woodwork – at least they were warm and dry in the Landrover. That said, the trailer was crammed with over a dozen icy larch planks they would be lugging around. Killing two birds with one stone, on the way back they manhandled four hernia inducing rocks into the trailer with the help of some passing riders – thanks guys. These will form the step for the stream crossing at the end of Lower Cliff finished earlier in the week.

The previous day, the local quarry delivered 60 tonnes of prime surfacing material for us to use patching the clay and sandy sections of “The Mad Hatter”’. Now, we’ve done our fair share of extreme wheel barrowing over the years but struggling up near vertical fire roads with a barrowful of sand isn’t my idea of fun on a Sunday morning. Luckily, we’d been offered the services of a dumper truck to move the material closer to where it’s needed. So that the driver knows where to drop each load, Alex, Dave, Jess and I grabbed a handful of flags and drove over. Planting a flag for each 6 tonne load seemed a sensible way of letting the driver know where to dump and from a distance the small yellow flags looked like daffodils in the snow. Well, they did to me.

Whilst in the area, we flagged out a short section of trail that will join the two black rock options on the Upper Cliff hillside. The RAF guys will be lending a hand building this trail during the week – weather permitting!