Was it Robert Burn's who wrote : "..the best laid plans o' mice and men gang aft agley" or words to that effect?The photo is deliberate.
My naive belief we could have all three walks open by the weekend was nonsense given the scale of the destruction wrought to the tree line throughout the woodlands,particularly on the river path.
We,Sean and I,were not to know until we started this morning to
attempt a clearing of small boughs and branches on the riverside, so as to allow a saw man easier access to tree trunks.
All I can say is that after three hours or more we had made a small impression on some of the fall clusters to allow a 'duck,step and hop' approach by daring walkers who are determined to overcome any and all obstacles in pursuit of completing their walk!
Seriously care is needed as some hanging branches are still dangerous but as yet inaccessible to us.Further this walk is CLOSED but I know there are people who do not read this blog and do not appreciate what 'DANGER' tape,strung between two trees means!
As of today both the GREEN and BLUE walks are open but NOT the PURPLE walk!
Today started misty and then showery but picked up very quickly after that to give a mild spring day,a perfect day for what we were about.Two teams were on site from 09.30,the Tus workers,Sean and Janis and the tree team.
The first were working on or near the Trailhead spreading the stone evenly over the surface of the parking area as well as moving stone to the entrance area to the wood and laying some meters of stone on the track inside the boundary wall.
I was with the tree team and we were tackling the fallen trees ;moving west from the old gate at the north-west
then south towards the river and back east along the track to the junction with the Blue Trail.We concentrated on cutting any fallen trees that obstructed the paths or were hanging dangerously with the result that we can say categorically that all such have been dealt with and the Green Walk has now no obstructions.Tomorrow may be different after the promised wind for tonight!
On then after a welcome cuppa and break to the Blue trail moving west,cutting as we went and laying cut and fallen branches to the wood side.Most here were individual falls and easy enough to deal with but not the ones on the ziz-zag.Here we had multiple falls of both very large trees and tall ones with smaller trees breaking under the impact of the larger.Some extremely heavy branches were left hanging in the tree canopy.One such Beech covered two of the zig-zag tracks and because of it's girth and size we had to leave as was,trimming around it as best we could while cutting accessible boughs on the lower track.
A lot done with more to do tomorrow,starting from where we left off today and moving east along the river trail cutting as we go.With a bit of luck and petrol in the tank we may succeed in clearing all the way past the Wren's Well to the descent at the eastern zig-zag and so enabling us to say that all walks are now open again.
Let's see how tomorrow goes first!
A word of caution to all WALKERS ,care is needed when walking the Green trail as the ground is saturated and slippery with leaves and small branches making things more hazardous.
The BLUE trail is also now open with the above caution added and a small diversion to the steps on the zig-zag.
The PURPLE TRAIL is closed to all but the workers all day tomorrow Wednesday.Full credit to all the lads today - a mighty job was done safely,carefully,professionally - sleep well!
.....with care as the work of laying in the mix is ongoing...will be completed by Wednesday evening.
There were three of us on site today bright and early,Sean and Janis and myself.
Both are part of a four man team shared between the Marlfield Village
Committee,St.Patrick's Well Association and ourselves,the Two Bridges Partnership Forest Walks Ltd.
We went walkabout on the Glenbawn/Green trail and as we ambled I pointed out the work we will be engaged in over the next while:-
a....laying a path inside the boundary wall using old mortar and stones from the wall to the gate at the west end;
b....painting the fence and the old gate;
c....spreading the fallen and cut branches throughout the floor of the woodland;
d....keeping the paths and tracks clear of fallen boughs and branches throughout the woodland walks;
e....creating a seat around the Norway Spruce from fallen tree boughs;
f....making Tree Name Tags from stumps by cutting sections & etching in the tree name;
g....building a rising step on the top end of the eastern zig-zag mimicking the existing lower steps;....
The end of April should see most of the above tasks completed to everyone's satisfaction!
Trailhead closed to all parking until further notice due to works....along with the BLUE and PURPLE walks.....
The Trailhead was this morning a hive of activity for at least fifteen minutes that is!
The delivery of the stone was ahead of schedule and the load was deposited more or less in the area you see in the photo,thanks to Gleeson's of Laffansbridge.
The work of spreading and compacting the stone remains to be done.
We ask you to be patient with us and avoid using the Trailhead for the next few days.Warning tape is strung around the Trailhead indicating no parking is allowed until work is completed.
The two of us, Liam and I then set to clearing the 'avenue' at the east end of the walks of fallen trees - the task was too much for the two of us so we stopped after sorting out three trees and leave the remainder for the 'artillery'!
We next moved into the Pine Wood,part of the Blue Trail and cleared all the fallen trees to the side of the tracks including the Pine that had fallen on the boundary wall.This wood is now clear of all fallen trees and debris.We ran out of steam at that stage and decided that enough was enough for one day and finished clearing the litter on the roadside along the length of the boundary wall.Bummed a lift on the way home and joined with Barry for a cuppa and a welcome sandwich!Alleluia!
Works will commence early tomorrow,Wednesday 19th February with the arrival of a truckload of stone,then the skimming of the surface of the ground before spreading the stone and then compacting it to give the Trailhead a firm and even surface all over.
The TRAILHEAD will remain closed to all other vehicles to allow the ground to settle - your cooperation is very
much appreciated.The works will contribute to safer and easier parking at the TRAILHEAD.
The stones won't be quite this size but you get the idea!
Today was a wondrous day at the Rock because the sun shone from early morning.
Spent some time clearing litter from the roadside along the wall as drivers passed civilly to work or whatever.
Then walkabout from inside the old gate at the west end to check on fallen trees,take some photos and observe what surprises Nature had in store by way of new arrivals in the plant department:-of such there were three:- the first the Primrose but no flower yet;followed by Arum,the Stinking Lily in leaf but not in flower;with the last but not least,the bank of Periwinkle with ONE tiny,daisy-like purple flower showing!
What an unexpected delight!
Next made my way by way of the 'Trademan's Entrance' otherwise the Gully,a short- cut to the river trail to walk or swim east towards the WREN'S WELL and beyond!The trail was littered and smothered with fallen trees of all hues as well as smashed boughs and branches.Took me quite a time to get to the Well which chattered playfully away while shimmering in the sunlight and carrying reflections of the tall Poplars about.The area was under water for some fifty meters or more beyond the Well so I had a choice to make,go on or return by the Gully.Decided instead to make a detour by scrambling up the slope while using the footing by the trees to ease my ascent.The number of uprooted trees here was astonishing,lying as if a giant hand had simply pushed them over.Images of these will follow in the next few days,dv.After a struggle found myself on the Blue Trail at the seat in the recess of the track before the turn off to the Pine Wood.First had to spend time breaking and pulling multiple branches from a fallen Beech bough-
a task that took me some forty five minutes.A sit down then to refresh and rest the weary bones before making my way to the Trailhead by way of the road to meet a colleague to discuss and arrange for the work outlined above.
While the fence has been erected and finished well by Coillte the work of surfacing the ground at the Trailhead remains to be done.So too the work of painting the fence - this work we will leave till April or so.There is no way we can open the BLUE and Purple walks as yet and it looks like it will be some weeks before we complete the job of cutting and removing fallen trees on site.
Many trees down on both the BLUE and PURPLE walks making them both impassable - please DO NOT attempt to bypass trees on these walks as there are severe drops to the river side.Thank you for your cooperation .Will take us at least a week to re-open these walks assuming no more high winds in the meantime.The photos below give some idea of the scale of the destruction on all three walks.
The GREEN has trees down but a step over or a duck down is all that is required to get by.As each walk is made
safe for walking we will notify you here on the BLOG.
One Buzzard called once today just to let me know he knew!
I know the photo has really nothing to do with what I am to write,then again maybe it has.
Joe dropped me out to the Rock on Friday morning to both see and discuss a work schedule for the Tus workers who are to work with us across three projects.
Shortly after Joe left I was checking for fallen trees when I heard the unmistakeable call of the Buzzards from on high.I dropped what I was doing,propped my back against a tree for support to better to scan the sky and in no time was able to follow avidly the aerial aerobatics of four Buzzards.They were soaring and dropping at intervals all the time calling each to the other,The smallest,which I assumed to be the female was flying in tandem with a magnificent male of tremendous wingspan and despite the fevered attentions of the other two birds,crying,calling,diving ,circling from on high stayed true to her task - she had chosen her mate and no way was she going to be distracted from her task of keeping by his side.
Is this the time when I should take my pills?Joking apart,what I both saw and experienced for some fifteen minutes was for me remarkable.The time was ten-thirty in the morning and the area was the sky above the Rock - treat yourself!Check out Irish Buzzards for yourself at Duhallow raptor conservation project,buzzards - great photos and updates on Raptor projects nationwide.
What a day!We met up on site and had almost four hours of uninterrupted fine cool weather and then the heaven's opened.Not to worry as,like the scouts we come prepared for any eventuality - well????
A great flood is to be seen all around while the good news is the Clonmel flood defenses are bearing up mightily - just a little water on the quay.However the price of keeping the water at bay in town means access to the town is restricted with three of the four bridges down - that is closed to passage.This may vary on a day to day basis so best to listen to updates on the radio or via mobile.There appears to be no change for the next few days.
The Rock remains open to walkers - the GREEN and BLUE are aok.Be aware that debris,fallen branches,twigs may well be strewn about,trees also.Bi curamach! Take care at all times and in emergency we can be contacted on the website via the CONTACT PAGE as well as on the following numbers:- Bernie Lennon,0862937220;Shay Hurley on 0879568576;the Gardai on 0526122222.Because of the bridges closing much more traffic is using the Marlfield Road so extreme care is needed.
The fungi above were seen on a twig,a stump and on the trunk of a Poplar.
The day dawned clear and bright and after a hearty breakfast was on my way on foot to the Rock to meet up with Simon and the lads to continue our work of clearing .
A fantastic sight to see was the presence of four BUZZARDS on high just north of the woodland - never have I seen that many in one place.Some thirty minutes later or so we could hear the 'cooing'
of the same birds above the tree line on the river below us.The sound is so melodic you cannot but stop what you are doing and attend.The
photo on left is not of the Buzzards but of the skyline - on your next visit keep an eye and an ear to these fantastic birds.Who knows,they may even nest with us this spring for the very first time!
Work proceeded well with the result that an area of up to two metres is now clear between the wall boundary and the tree line.The whole of the inside of the boundary wall is now such as to allow us to construct a track using the old mortar and stone of the wall,along it's length.This will take time but time worth spending doing.
author artist activist