The weather forecasters were predicting Armageddon …..

Were our trusty leat team deterred? Not a bit of it – although we kept a weather eye on developments, to coin a phrase. Keith was up at 7 am, looking out of the window (he said it was still dark!), listening to the BBC weather forecasts and looking at the Met Office, Accuweather and Metcheck web sites. Just before 8 am, the bones were scattered and the decision was made. The group email was sent, a text and some land-line calls were made. There was a weather window and we were going to “go for it”.

A lunch group enjoying the sun - click on photo for larger version

Tuesday 13th December saw the DPA Conservation Team meeting at Clearbrook for the 11th work day on the leat project. The stalwarts who turned out at Christmas shopping and pressie-wrapping time were Chris, Derek, Ian, John L, John & Rachel, John V, Kathy,  Mally, Roger, Stephanie, Sylvia and Val, with myself bringing the total to 14. We’ll all return to domestic duties d’rekly!

Lunchtime, still with dazzling sun - click the photo for a larger version

The plot, for those ardent followers of this story, was that we went back to the cutting where the leat runs though a 200-metre tunnel. Part of the cutting was full of brambles over an 80-metre length. The start made on the last visit, 8th Dec, stood us in good stead. About half of the hard work had been done and now we had to finish it.

Two of our hard-working Conservation Team at lunch - click photo for larger version

Are these two expressing their opinion on my hope of finishing the tunnel section?!

More hard-working Conservation Team members at lunch - click photo for larger version

And these guys, too? I think any jollity in these photos is caused not just by the bright sunshine but also a measure or two of seasonal mulled wine brought by Val. Many thanks!

Many thanks also to Mally for upholding another leat project custom – bringing sumptuous cake. We really know how to do things on the leat!

The day’s target of finishing the tunnel section was achieved by 2 pm, when  it started to rain. We beat a retreat back to the cars and some of us then went on to The Rock Inn at Yelverton, where we had a final debrief on this project for the year.

The tunnel cutting is now clear of scrub and how different it looks – I feel some “before” and “after” photos are needed! It was an excellent way to end the year’s effort on this project. I have calculated, using Memory Map, that we have done  900 metres, excl. about 75 m of gorse to be done, with 1,100 m to go. The best thing is that the worst tangles of hawthorn, brambles and gorse have been done and the way ahead is much easier.