Four fellers foiled Erik
by: Jon P.
The arrival of Storm Erik on Friday did nothing to deter a (fool)hardy team of four that had planned to tackle some stubborn limbs on two trees next to the Government Fuel Pipeline crossing the canal at Whitminster. Previous work had left these four limbs for later removal, with plans to use an all-terrain 'cherry picker', but we couldn't work out how to get one over Occupation Bridge. This picture shows the scene before any work was done at Whitminster.
It was so wet and windy that we couldn't take any pictures of the work in progress, so this 'before' picture shows one of the trees next to the pipeline in unusually calm and strangely lit weather – if only!
Our team consisted of Bob H, 'Buffer', Ian M and Jon P – equipped with chainsaws, pole pruners, ropes and grappling hooks. The weather was so atrocious that even the farmer had stayed at home, so the arrival of the Mitsubishi pickup convinced the cows that we were delivering their daily haylage! After fighting our way past the inquisitive cattle and donning life preservers, Ian and Buffs went off to fetch work boat Stuart to the pipeline. This was to act as our work platform, as the two trees were hanging out over the water. By judicious use of the pole pruner at full 4 metre extension, we were able to reduce a fair amount of weight in each limb. Then, with ropes attached and taking up the strain, Bob cut through the limbs leaving a 'hinge'. This meant we could pull each limb in the correct direction away from the pipeline. The felled limbs were either dragged up on to the bank or left in the channel, and the plan is for the SDC volunteers to cut and stack everything on Tuesday.
Despite wearing life preservers as a precaution, at the end of the session we were as wet as if we'd actually fallen in!