Wednesday, 4 November 2020

RYBURN - Hutch Brook

 Ryburn Reservoir - Hutch Brook.

Ray and Frank H out today working on steps leading up from Hutch Brook close to where it enters Ryburn Reservoir. They did a preliminary carries of tools and timber until Lynda and Eleanor, out on a separate job, arrived to act as temporary Sherpas for the remaining materials.

Here is the problem:

The view from the bottom end of the old flight of steps.

The very first step (not shown) was in reasonable condition but the others (as in the picture) all have the structural problems typified by life in a wet woodland :- missing risers, rotten risers, missing stobs, rotten stobs and misalignment. However, credit to the original step builders, most of the 'tread' areas were in good condition.

. . . Work progressed. This was the lunchtime situation.

Three wooden steps and one stone step now in place. There were some technical problems due to ground conditions so getting stobs driven-in proved to be an energetic experience. However, a heavy lump hammer, an even heavier bar and lots of 'grunt' did the job.

In the afternoon, tree roots and large rocks became the main issues but once again 'grunt' prevailed!

Towards the end of the day, five wooden steps and one stone step are in place. The risers for these steps are quite wide (~900 mm) but further up, the path narrows so standard (720 mm width) risers will be needed.

As you can see, there is a lot of slope! Many of the steps are in very poor condition so at least two more sessions will be needed. When these can take place will depend on the advice CROWS receive about working during the forthcoming Covid 'lockdown'.

This is a popular walking area but the only people who came near as they waded up the rocky bed of Hutch Brook, were two intrepid stream surveyors. The 'absent' walkers missed a delightful day. Our task might have been energy sapping, but the sunny location was sheltered, near running water and in a woodland fringe at its autumnal best.

More next week . . . or perhaps in December!

Meanwhile Lynda and Eleanor re-sited a post on a nearby path leading from the side of the reservoir up towards Cheetham Laithe and Rishworth.

Not much use like that ! The rotten bit of post left in the ground took some dislodging, and when we finally got it out, we realised why ....




Exhibit A - rotten base with 10 deadmen - must be an all time record! However all the grunting and groaning to get it out meant we had a perfect hole to 'plant' the much shortened post.



We then drove to look at the re-siting of another displaced post but realised we wouldn't have enough time to complete the job so decided to leave it for another day (or month or two). We were about to leave when we recognised 3 familiar figures approaching us - 2 CROWS and a CROW sister out for a walk. It was good to see them after months of  not working together.

We finished the day clearing steps on a woodland path above the reservoir.

Judging by the size and depth of the stones,we concluded there was probably a beautiful causey path underneath all the mulch and leaves, but we didn't investigate further. All in all a productive and good day out - perhaps for a while.