Well, it has been a bit quiet on the blog over recent weeks, but that is not because we haven’t been doing anything. As Geoff Codd has outlined below, the next phase has been planned, agreed and set in motion.

I did spend a morning up there, back in mid-September, when the Dorset Coastal Ranger team shifted the few remaining bags from below the front leg. Luckily we found that lightly filled bags could be dragged down and a small power barrow could bring down trug loads.

It was this morning, though, that the real work started.  John Hayes, Senior Ranger, was up there first thing to establish the fill level for the bags and Greg Walker arrived with his Gregorys team soon after.  No power-barrow this time – just shovels, rakes, muscle power and most important, the supply of bags generously donated by Warmwell Quarries.

When I climbed up there just before 9.00am (panting and gasping rather a lot) they had already cracked on and were dealing with the problems of evenly loading and stacking the bags on a 30 degree slope. 

We were incredibly lucky with the weather – bright sunshine and an easterly wind dried the mixture of soil and scalpings and made for very pleasant working conditions (though shoveling hard packed gravel and soil on that slope is brutally hard work!). I took a few photos and then came on as the team stopped for breakfast with over twenty bags already sorted.

The work continued apace and by the time I returned at about 3.00pm there were over ninety bags full. We took a few minutes with Greg to examine the less obvious parts such as the arm, sword and reins, which are mostly overgrown, and then he went back to his shovel. By the end of play they had used all the bags on site and 100 (50 tonnes) were ready for the Helicopter.

The Gregorys team will be back up there tomorrow and hopefully my climb will feel a little easier!

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