Am I getting fitter? When I am on the Horse I can convince myself that I am – but that climb up the 30 degree slope always gets me. Maybe it’s the amount of time I spend at the computer, processing photos……..

Anyway, it was nearly eleven when I joined the seven man R.N.A.S team from 702 Squadron on the Horse. The drizzle has stopped and I found that they had already put in a couple of hours stone picking and weeding round the Horse’s neck, as well as fitting the revetment on the Horse’s hoof.  Matt, yesterday’s fever victim, was back in action, but today we were without Colin who had other important duties – playing rugby.

After they finished a short break, three of the lads carried on with the reins, which had seen some rapid re-growth, and the other four joined Rangers Nick and Elliott to tackle the turf and weeds on the Horse’s flank.

Of course the weeding is the easy bit, as when the trugs are full, they must be carried up the steep slope to the quarry.  I decided to join in for a while and cleared some from the King’s arm which is just an easy level walk to the quarry. I’m learning!

I also learned something else about the gravel ‘running’. I had heard them shouting ‘180’ as they rapidly conveyed the dumpy bag down the hill, but had no idea what it meant. It appears that, due to the slope, the gravel makes a bid for freedom out of the leading edge of the bag.  At the shout of ‘180’ they run it round 180 degrees so that the leading edge is now trailing and the gravel is contained. Simple!

I left them to it then and headed home to process photos and to write the blog. By the time I returned about mid afternoon, they had moved on to the rump and the back of the King’s neck, where a build up of soil was already forming a green turf. These areas were soon dealt with and before finishing they did a little clearing at the very top of the tail. Here Leading Hand Michael Watson demonstrated the art of sliding down to a very rocky landing at the bottom.  Days of practice meant that he just bounced and I was relieved to see that nothing was broken or bent. Well nothing visible anyway……

As I headed home, the lads all went off to reconnoiter Weymouth hostelries for a planned celebration meeting to take place after their stint is completed tomorrow. And if I may say so – it will be a very well earned celebration!

Oh yes – and when I got home, I knew the answer to my question at the start. And the answer is no!

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