I said that if I got any photos of the Wooplaw wall coped (see post of 23rd September) I'd post them. And here they are.
Thanks to Alan for going and finishing the wall off, and to his wife Helen for the photos.
For as long as I've been a member the SES DSWA have held their meetings in the Water of Leith Centre, on Slateford Road in Edinburgh. It's a good place, with lots of information and activities to do with the river (as well as meeting rooms available at a very reasonable rate). At last year's AGM, Charlotte from the Water of Leith Conservation Trust (who run the centre, and take care of the river and its adjoining walkway) gave a talk about the river and the Trust's work (and very interesting it was, too). So, they being a like-minded group to ourselves (and in fact having commissioned work by our members in the past), we thought it would be a nice project for us to build them something.
Until recently there had been a wooden seat on the river bank not far from the Centre, but this had now been removed and not replaced, so we thought we'd build them a stone one in its stead. The stone had been delivered earlier in the week, but unfortunately rather than taking it right up to the build site, the delivery man had craned it over the fence from the pub car park at the entrance to the walkway - leaving us with five tons of stone to move by barrow (or by hand, until Charlotte brought another barrow) up to the site.
While Alan, Margaret, Jonathan, new member Thoren and I got on with this, Richard marked out the site and removed the undergrowth (and for once, I remembered to take 'before' photos).
The seat was to be built on a raised bit of the bank (you can't see it in the photo, but the river is behind the trees). There's a weir at this point, so the valley is filled with the sound of falling water.
The design was basically a double bench, back to back, with a dyke between to form a back for both sides. For this we needed a two meter by one-and-a-half platform, half a meter high, with the wall running along the middle of its length. It doesn't sound like a very big construction, but it looked like a lot of area to fill with stone once it was marked out.
The stone was sandstone, some of it quite distinctly layered, and almost all of it quite angular - quite nice to build with, and well suited to the job in hand.
There were some good square pieces for the corners, and quite a bit of flattish stuff to finish off the seating. By lunch time, we'd got the first couple of courses up and made quite a dent in the third.
As expected, it took a lot of stone to infill the main body of the build. At one point I was worried we might not have enough, but it turned out not to be as bad as I'd thought.
Once the base was complete we could start putting in flat-topped stones to make the seating surface (carefully checked with a spirit level to ensure user comfort).
And of course, it needed the all-important usability test ...
Having got the seating in place, we then had to remove each stone and mortar it back in, partly to ensure a solid surface to sit on, but mainly to prevent any over-exuberant youths from relocating the stone in to the river (or anywhere else).
We didn't have time to build the wall/back, so we re-bagged the stone, putting some of it on top of the seat to discourage any attempts at stone re-location until Monday, when Richard and Alan will be heading back to finish off the job.
All in all it was a very good day's dyking, with remarkably warm weather for a Scottish October. Charlotte very kindly brought us up flasks of tea and coffee as well. And some of us slaked our well-worked-up thirst with a pint in the neighbouring Blue Goose afterwards. (With thanks to Margaret for some of the photos).
And - the finished product, after Alan and Richard had put the back on (thanks once again to Margaret for the photo).
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).