Following the high winds of the weekend, there are several big trees down and a few leaning against others – known in the trade as “widow makers”. To ensure your safety until the Forestry’s chain saw gang can get out and about, please follow the diversions around closed sections. Even a full face helmet isn’t much good against 5 tonnes of falling tree.
After our holiday up in bonny Scotland, we’re back to the grindstone on Tackeroo …. or should that be gritstone? Work started last week on a new technical trail feature which gives riders the option of smoother rock armoured ramp or for those who like more air under their wheels, a drop off onto a gnarlier run out.
You can’t build a rock feature without rock so the job started with a relay of extreme barrowing moving the split rock left over from the Rollers up the trail. A larch plank was driven into the ground to form the anchor for the rockery. There was a certain amount of deliberation to decide the best way to build the feature but it’s now looking pretty good.
We’re nearing the end of our work on the end of Tackeroo but the trail will need time to settle so expect a grand opening early summer.
Thanks to all the members who have renewed – I was amazed just how fast off the mark some people are, and our thanks for your generosity. You should now have had an emailed thank you from us.
Membership duties have been swapped around to give young Rob a rest. He’s done a fine job of bringing many of you into our number, and has sizably increased the membership numbers (by about 4 times what they were!!!) in the last couple of years. During the genesis of the Monkey Trail, he did some fine work as the liaison between Chase Trails, the Forestry Commission, and the contractors Clixby’s – in fact so much so that the nice people at the Forestry Commission recognised his talent, and offered him a job. This has left him with less time that he originally had, and therefore he now hands the baton to me to look after membership matters. I take my hat off to him (but not my riding helmet if I’m riding, in case I fall off – which I do regularly!).
Although I have no problems designing, building and maintaining trails, I’m not quite so hot on administrative matters. Sorting the goodies for the membership pack has taken a little longer than anticipated, and we are currently awaiting some items from the printers. This means that the membership packs are on hold at the moment. Please accept my apologies for the delays here. Hopefully we should be giving the postman an even larger load than normal in a couple of week’s time. we are of course still accepting applications
Apprentice Membership Secretary,
It was a day of ‘scattered showers’ as the Met Office coyly phrase it, although we didn’t know that when we arrived in a steady rainfall that seemed set in for the day. Not relishing the unprotected reaches of the Rollers in the conditions, we settled on Plan B and loaded the Landy for a day at Werewolf Drops By-pass. We were joined again by Rob and Millie. Millie is currently the youngest trail crew member and winner of the prettiest pink wellies award.
Andrew, Dave and Jez had returned from the 7Stanes the day before and were full of tales of bike heroism, derring-do and white knuckle exploits, some of which may even be true, so the day was punctuated by reminiscences of trails ridden, falls avoided, crashes not avoided and what they got up to in the sauna, (very, very hot apparently).
On the trail building front, we surfaced the exit from the boardwalk up to the junction and bits of the ride down; fettled some of the bends and started inserting some water bars. These are logs inset across the trail at a diagonal to encourage surface water to drain to the side rather than stream along the riding line.
So despite discouraging conditions, progress was made and we repaired to The Urn with a sense of job well done, and some amazement at the sheer volume of traffic going through WWD on a day one would have thought would have been quiet. Shows how much people love those trails!
We’d like to say that following reports of a tree down and blocking section 11, a man with a saw was rapidly dispatched for a spot of urgent pruning work. However, as the team had been away pedaling around a few of the 7Stanes, the job did languish for a few days. You can never be sure what you’ll find in such circumstances, as the term ‘blocking’ means different things to different people. On this occasion, as the first picture shows, there were actually a couple of trees involved, but you should now have suitable freedom of passage.
Further back down the trail by the first section of boardwalk, one limb of a pair had split from the main trunk of another tree, about 4 metres up. It landed very conveniently by the side of the trail – but only just. Anyone around when that one had come down might have needed a new helmet and underpants!