Gale force winds, heavy rain and cold.
That was the forecast coming into the weekend of our final big build day before the launch of Phase 2.
The reality was something very different. The rain stopped before we loaded up the tools and the wind held back to, all was looking good. Worried that the weather forecast was going to put a lot of volunteers off we headed up the the build site in anticipation of a slack day but we couldn't have been more wrong.
An army of the usual big build volunteers was gathering along with a few new welcome faces, in all we had a round 50 people working through the day. Safety briefing done and we set to work.
The job was to lay 40 tonnes of local surfacing material on "The Link" which will soon bridge the gap between Follow the Dog and Phase 2. We had as many wheelbarrows as we could find and a steep and slippery hill to get up to drop the material down. Luckily the Grimey Lymies had the forethought to bring some straps which we used to help haul the barrows up the steep trail. We quickly got a rhythm going with a team of people filling the barrows, eager beavers pushing / dragging the barrows and groups lined along the trail to spread and compact the new surface. In an effort to get as much material up the hill we even enlisted Jez's help. In a recent blog you might have seen him tearing solid timber planks into strips with his bare hands. Well this time he was shifting literally grammes of trail surfacing in his now infamous man barrow.
It was a tall order but by the end of the day all of the 40 tonnes of Cannock gold were spread and shaped to give the finished running surface of the new trail.
The Chase Trails catering crew of Sharon and Dale did us proud as ever with fresh sarnies, hot soup and cake. The sun decided to make an appearance during the day and overall we had a cracking time.
We've still got some work to do to this trail and it, along with the rest of Phase 2, remains closed. The trails might look finished and ok to ride but please don't. At the moment we're working with the project partners to confirm the date of the Phase 2 opening and launch although at the moment it won't be for a number of weeks to come, watch this space.
We're still going to be working every Sunday on regular build days so feel free to come along any Sunday at 10am to Swinnertons. We'll also be looking at running further big build days after the Phase 2 launch to work on maintenance and other surprises through the rest of the year.