The day went better than expected; with almost 50 turning out from the Bolton ConservationVolunteer group and the climbing fraternity which include 8 from the Mob.
It was obvious as we struggled to make our way to the designated location that this was not going to be your average clean up day. When I was told we where clearing Rhododendrons I hadn’t envisaged how big the task would be, thankfully the Volunteers had and they were well prepared. The basic brief was that the climbers would tackle the tops and slopes and the rest would concentrate on the quarry floor and the disposing of the waist on three large fires. After scrambling up a muddy gully and through thick vegetation several teams spread them selves along the top with the aim being to work down the slopes to the quarry rim, and throw everything down for burning.
Over the course of a couple of hours we started to cut channels down and work left and right to clear the slopes, with some lads abbing down to cleared sections growing out of the crag. With a shout from below that tea was up it was time for a well earned rest and refreshments next to the three blazing fires. Looking around we could see we were starting to make a difference and but for it being a very foggy day would have been a lot lighter in there already. By the end of the afternoon we had cleared a large section off the top with the ground crew creating clearings on the quarry floor. As important all the cutting had been burnt, this in turn was follow up by a member of the B.C.V finishing the job of by spraying the stumps to kill the roots.
By 3pm we call it a do, time to head down to the Wilton Arms for Chips and butties courtesy of Cotswald Camping, and finish the day off with a well earned pint. Some lads were already discussing what new lines had been opened up, but I myself was thinking how my back would be in the morning!
There is know doubt that it will take a few more session to eradicate the dreaded Rhody completely, but if we had not started the task it wouldn’t have be that long before the hole quarry would have been fully over grown. I had joked with some of the lads saying you never know you might even enjoy the day; well I for one did and will be there on the next one. Thanks must go to everyone who turned out, especially the Volunteers who don’t even climb.
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