A possible reason why restoration progress appears to have slowed; seven lorries in a traffic jam all waiting to cross the bailey bridge between Chandlers farm and Manor farm. There may have been occasion when more than seven lorries were queuing. Most times I would expect less than seven queuing. I might just have arrived at an unusual time of day i.e. 9:30 am on a Wednesday.
I think there are a number of factors causing these traffic jams. Inert are working between the pump and bailey bridge, still shipping in and piling up stuff. However, there doesn't appear to be sufficient manoeuvring room for more than one lorry at a time.
Tipper lorries are reasonably quick. Their drivers can operate the tipping mechanism from their cabs. Grab loaders take a lot of. Their drivers have to exit the cab to operate the tipping mechanism, however, they have to move the grab out of the way first, and then once the load has been tipped, put the grab back.
To add to the hold ups, we have the heavy earth mover. This beast is dumping stuff on the land mass. It had to wait for a tipper lorry to stop reversing before it could proceed to the bailey bridge.
I've never seen such a large lorry jam. Occasionally I'd see two or three lorry hold ups at passing points on the single track vehicle track. But they were short lived i.e. a couple of minutes at most.
I'm not sure why there isn't sufficient manoeuvring room around the pump station and bailey bridge. I find it odd that loads are being dumped so close to Manor lake (south). Move 50 yards to the west, and there should be sufficient room for more than one lorry at a time to manoeuvre. I know their big buggers, but their drivers are very experienced in operating in tight spaces. But then its easy for me to say and a rank amateur.
What is a mystery to me is why the heavy earth mover is the only lorry dumping stuff on to the land mass. I agree the south vehicle track is pretty torn up, with very very deep ruts i.e. 3 feet (90cm) or more, but there is rather a lot of rubble around to fill the ruts easily. The expertise exists with the companies involved in this restoration. Tipper and grab loader lorries could then join the heavy earth mover in dumping stuff on the land mass, and therefore reduce the traffic jams. However, again it is easy to be an armchair advisor. There may well be sound reasons for operating this way.
I do know that the bulldozer driver is marshalling the lorries. He's always in and out of this cab tell the lorry drivers where to dump their loads or to have a right go at them when they've either done something dangerous or dumped their stuff in the wrong place. Its a couple of hundred yard between the land mass and the pump station. Keeping an eye on the situation is not the easiest for the bulldozer driver.
Some work has been happening on Fleet Hill farm. There was a flat bed transit on the north entrance to Fleet Hill farm, while I observed fresh tracks on the south entrance. I haven't popped over to investigate - certainly not on Wednesday as I was running late. I might pop over some time next week.
Anyway, enough amateur observations. A two parter this week. The first slide show is from my rather foggy Wednesday morning stomp. I didn't bother taking my long lens, conditions were so bad. I did video some of the action, but the resulting files were just a little too big for me to feel comfortable posting in this blog.
Later on today or tomorrow I'll add photos from this morning's stomp. Light conditions were absolutely dire. Again, I didn't bother with my long lens.
Moving on to my Saturday stomp. Wot a bleedin' manky morning it was. Overcast, gloomy, wee bit drizzly even though the Met Office said no precipitation. I didn't even bother taking my long lens. On the bright side, which there wasn't any, it was not foggy or misty.
After a rainless week and the continued efforts of our pump (still chugging away on Saturday) ground conditions were finally getting more sane. In horse racing parlance, I guess the going was very soft to heavy. Walking along various tracks, including the bulldozer's, was almost pleasurable.
Though I still had to be careful. Lethal spots of 'quick mud' existed here and there. These occureither where vehicles had pushed silty mud to the sides of the tracks (lorries generate a wash as they trundle along) building up a deep layer of 'quick mud' or where the bulldozer stops shovelling. The stuff the blade piles up can be very, very soft as it hasn't been consolidated by the bulldozer tracks. This is precisely what I sank into the first time I sank up to my knees in mud some two years ago. I am very wary about stepping into the pile of stuff the bulldozer blade produces at the end of its run. I keep a look out for hardcore in the pile. This gives it a degree of solidity.
Despite the lorry jams, as fair amount of stuff has been ferried onto Manor farm. Last week there was a huge cutting (gouge) some 4' (1.2m) deep and just over a bulldozer's width wide running some 50-75 yards along the south vehicle track. This had been filled in and was now level with the vehicle track. Other gouges and depressions around the area have been filled in, while some of the ramped mounds have been flattened.
There are signs that tipper and grab loader lorries may be venturing westward along south vehicle track as the ground has been drying out and getting firmer. I reckon progress will pick up once the lorry jams are unblocked.
I did clamber to the top of my mini-mound for a 360 set of photographs. It's been months since I've been able to get close to this mound. The ground has been too soft and boggy to even get close to it. The ground was firm enough, and vehicle tracks close enough to the mound for me to get close to it. Even still, I could only really get to it from the south, and managed to sink my right foot into mud up to the top of my wellies when I stepped into a patch of soft 'quick mud' lorries' wash had pushed up against the side of the mound.
Various mud flats have started to reappear now that water levels have fallen. Wildlife (not just the ducks and geese) love these mud flats. They create a much richer diversity. I am quite puzzled as to why the plans for this site call for yet more bleedin' reed beds at the expense of these mud flats. People I speak to all acknowledge that the reed beds will lead to lower bio-diversity compared to what the current landscape offers. In the defence of the designers, their plans were drawn up some 30 to 40 years ago, and much has changed regarding conservation in that time.
A polite notice first: All photographs on this blog are owned by me and subject to copyright.