Today we returned to Harlaw, this time to do some much-needed repairs to the wall running along the side of the reservoir beyond the visitor centre. There are several places where the wall has come down - this one was less than 100 yards from the centre, so we started with it.
Tommy, one of the rangers, showed up with a Land Rover and trailer just after we'd started, and used this to bring along some of the left over stone from a fortnight ago's build (see previous post). On the path/reservoir side, most of the remaining wall was OK, but on the field side there was a badly bulging section, where the foundation stones had been laid sloping outwards, so we had to strip this right down to ground level.
The stone was mostly red sandstone, and a lot of it was quite soft and easy to shape (especially the leftover stuff from the raised bed), so we made good progress - by lunchtime we'd got it all back up again, and were pleased to find that we had enough cope stones to do the whole gap.
After lunch we tackled a bigger gap about a quarter of a mile further along the wall - Tommy had driven round through the field and left us a load of stone there, too.
Someone had had a go at putting some of the wall back up, but we had to strip this back to get to the problem below - once again sloping stones had been put into the foundation, but this time sloping in the way, and they'd been forced out by the weight of the wall above.
Once again we made good progress, and by close of play we'd got the wall back up - this time we were short one small cope, but with a bit of hammering we were able to make a replacement from one of the larger unused stones.
On Sunday we kicked off our dyking year with a joint project with the Friends of the Pentlands building a raised bed at the Harlaw visitors' centre. The design was by some school children and was meant to be based on an earthworm - it was certainly wiggly enough, and the pinkish sandstone was the right colour. The wiggly design was a bit of a challenge as the stone was guillotined into pretty large rectangular shapes not well suited to doing curves, but the judicious application of a sledge hammer helped.
The foundation had already been laid by the Friends, so we cracked on with getting the walls up.
And by lunchtime it was taking shape nicely.
I couldn't stay for the whole day, but by mid afternoon it was looking pretty nearly done, so I didn't feel too guilty about leaving the others to finish off.
And I've heard that they did indeed get it finished - we're back in the vicinity in a couple of weeks, so hopefully I'll get some photos of the finished job then.
This blog, and the rest of the site, are produced by Donald McInnes, treasurer of the SES DSWA (I'm the baldy one, sometimes in a saltire hat).