Big Build Day 4 started for the organisers with an early 9am start in the yard. Everything was going just like any other build day until Stu arrived ... and so did the rain! Apparently it had been forecast but I had optimistically avoided any negative reports. Anyway we donned our waterproofs and loaded up the trailer. Martin and Andrew then left for the build site while Stu and myself headed round to the shop to great the hordes of volunteers. Ok so we weren’t expecting thousands but we were expecting to see somebody! After a while we found ourselves a volunteer and then another so things were looking better but not great. A call was put in to the catering department to advise them that numbers may be a little lower than normal! Communication with Andrew and Martin revealed that they also had ‘a’ volunteer so it looked like we had a Little Build Day at least.
By the time we arrived on site the single volunteer had swelled to a good handful and they had already been briefed and started work on the trail. The combination of torrential rain and poor ground conditions make the digging pretty hard going but chatting to Lynsey kept my enthusiasm high and we had to hit some good surface at some point, didn’t we? Well no, it looks like we were digging though old mining spoil meaning that at least part of this trail will need additional surfacing to be imported. As I squelched my way along the trail to check everyone was alright things didn’t seem much better until suddenly I hit solid ground and looked down to see the familiar sight of orangey-brown cannock gravel and those much loved shiny pebbles.
Just as moral was starting to flag, Dale and Sharon arrived which could only mean it was lunchtime. Dale’s bad back had pre-empted a change from our normal BBQ to a spread of sandwiched and cakes. This was a really nice change and tasted great. As always we fired the generator up to ‘run the kettle’! Lunchtime also saw our ‘free prize draw’. The odds of winning were pretty high this time and the prizes were great (exclusive Chase Trails grips & headtube badges plus T Shirts). Dave’s daughters Jessica and Charlotte drew the tickets and surprise surprise Dave’s ticket came out first (fix I hear you say, fix!)
After lunch the weather improved and the sun even shone for a few minutes. We continued to build trail and dig out the inevitable tree stumps (I think Dave should have won a prize for the stump he extracted, hold on, he did!). The gravely conditions continued only interrupted by the occasional lump of coal, a reminder of Cannock's mining past. By late afternoon we called it a day, collected up the tools, ate what was left of the food and headed back to the yard.
We may not have had thousands of volunteers but it was quality and not quantity. We got loads done despite the weather and it turned out to be a really enjoyable day. Thanks to everyone who braved the conditions to come and help.
The next Big Build day is on July 12th, but don't forget we meet up every Sunday at 10am outside Swinnertons Cycle Centre.