So, our trail building adventures got off to a less than punctual start this decade. We were supposed to be meeting at Swinnertons at 10am, and I woke up…10.15am. Oh dear.
Checked the Chase Trails forum for details where the digging would be taking place, and somebody had handily provided a postcode for the nearest parking. So, off we went, GPS at the ready.
Our GPS is occasionally set to ‘Lucien’, normally when Mr Toast likes to torment me. Lucien delivers directions in the style of an over-enthusiastic American gameshow host, and insists on calling roundabouts and ring roads ‘traffic circles’. In fact, watch that episode of Red Dwarf, where Holly restores her IQ at the expense of her lifespan. The Talkie Toaster and Lucien went to the same finishing school.
So generally, the GPS is set to Simon. Simon sounds like a slightly snide butler, but at least he doesn’t sound obnoxiously cheery. Unfortunately, on Sunday, the ever reliable Simon failed us.
The GPS directed us through Upper Longdon, then up through Stile Cop. He said we had two miles to go…then, rather unexpectedly, demanded “In nine hundred yards, make a U-Turn”. Er, excuse me? “In two hundred yards, make a U-Turn. Make a U-Turn”.
Slightly bemused, we found somewhere to turn, and headed back up. Simon, bless him, was then quite insistent that we should take the bridleway through the Special Events Area. Ignoring his increasingly demented demands – honestly, I swear he was starting to get a bit Skynet – we looked at the GPS map, and figured out how to make it there ourselves. As we got onto the A460, Simon suddenly realised his mistake, and calculated a route that didn’t involve off-roading a Nissan Micra through the forest. BIT LATE NOW, MATEY.
So, we arrived late, missing lunch (D’OH), and started on our Big Build…afternoon. I was thoroughly impressed with the turnout – given that it was a) below freezing, and b) just after New Year, I expected the turnout to be a bit sparse. But no, over 60 people were there, braving the cold, and had already dug a sizeable length of trail.
After a quick venture up and down the track to find some tools, we starting digging near the trail exit. Here, Martin had found the best tool – the chainsaw.
Conditions weren’t actually too bad – the ground wasn’t as hard as we were expecting, despite the freezing cold, and it didn’t take too much digging to get to the good stuff.
I became distracted by an exceptionally good dog – Leo, a black collie cross…wearing a coat. He looked very dapper. He was trotting around with a disc in his mouth, looking for someone to play with him. How could I not. I threw the disc and VOOM! Off he went! And came back, dropping the disc in front of me and looking at me. This was repeated over and over again, making it rapidly clear that I do indeed throw like a girl, and that border collies never, ever, ever get tired.
Despite his energy, he was exceptionally well trained. His Grimey Lymie Level 80 Resto Shammy (don’t ask, you’ll get an answer!) owner proudly demonstrated Leo’s repertoire of tricks, and also explained how his was the perfect trail dog…apart from the time he left his riders behind and joined two other riders instead. Sounds a bit like Mr Toast! 😛
More pictures and information about Sunday’s Big Build Day can be seen on Chase Trail’s blog.