Wettest Drought on Record – Draining the Dog (Trail building)

29 April, 2012 at 21:00
Despite the Met Office forecasting non-stop rain and strengthening winds, a gallant quintet of trailbuilders made their way to BirchesValley for a scenic view of rain blowing sideways. It was obvious that the exposed stretches of the Tackeroo Rollers would be uninhabitable in the rain and the mature trees of the Werewolf by-pass a bit of a gamble in the wind. Bearing in mind the amount of standing water on sections of the Dog, and ongoing submissions from U-boat captains complaining about the damp, it was agreed that we should de-puddle sections 9 and 10. Suitably equipped we made our way to the fire road at the end of 9 and start of 10, and set to. Despite the conditions or maybe because of them there was a surprisingly steady stream of riders relishing the challenges of the day. Although a few were clearly feeling the cold most seemed disconcertingly chirpy. One common factor is that the day’s fashion colour seemed to be brown.
There is a childlike pleasure to be had from draining puddles and watching temporary streams run down the hillside: like being on a beach playing with rock pools. Consequently we soon had section 9 considerably less pond-like than when we found it, and the remaining water a few millimetres deep rather than ankle deep. Then we turned attention to section 10 where it became apparent that puddles were even deeper and the rewards of draining them even more enjoyable. Ah the pleasure of little things! While we were there, Jez and Ian rode in and discussed the trail, the conditions and Jez’s ’96er’ conversion that he was trialling. They set off into Section 11 and rapidly re-appeared having been put off by two trees crashing to the ground ahead of them and others hanging ready to fall. It was generally agreed that this signalled a return to the Urn. And we made it so, happy in the knowledge that our work had saved the RNLI from several call-outs to rescue shipwrecked bikers.
Phil