For fifteen days we’ve scraped the side of the fell with little trowels and taken it in little buckets to the spoil heap (which actually included the trowels as the find of the day was a trowel recovered from the spoil heap). We’ve shifted flags and cobbled floors and piled them to the side a few at a time. How can it be that we have such a massive heap of soil and stones to put back today.
Yesterday, David, who gets stones by the lorryload, estimated twenty tons in the soil heap and a trifling twelve to fifteen tons in the stone heap. He didn’t see the turf heaps behind the tent – about two hundred tons is my estimate. I didn’t sleep well last night worrying about getting it all shifted. I shall sleep well tonight. In fact I am barely awake as I write.
What a team! What an effort! What a magnificent job has been done. A sheep with poor eyesight looking the other way would hardly notice the disturbance to its heaf.
First everyone sprinkled shiny two pence pieces across all the areas that will not be disturbed next season, which will provide a physical record and date of our work for any one wanting to ever revisit the site.
Then came the matting to show where we’d been. Then the cobbles came back in bucketful after bucketful to fill the deepest places in the trench. Barrow loads and barrow loads of soil followed to even off before returfing. (Interesting to note that there was no apparent willingness to replace areas previously covered with common rush with appropriate ground cover – each area got just what came out of the barrow!)
It was astounding just how hard the pensioners worked to show Corey, our representative from the early years, that they weren’t slacking as he was shovelling hard enough for two. I did manage to wrestle the barrow from Bob to help him with the trips up to the highest points near the top wall. I got the impression that he really was disappointed that I wasn’t letting him work until he dropped.
I elected to move all the gear that wasn’t being used down to the 4×4. Going with gravity with the loads and coming back empty was just the opposite of the barrowmen. Finally the group photo starring Mervyn with his horned helmet complete with safety cover to the points made with work gloves which did make him less bullish and more of a reindeer – still scandanavian of course.
I walked the track one last time with my wheelbarrow collecting up the timeline which will go to dry out in the garage until next year. Once back at the Parish Room there was a big clear up and sort out with OAN and DVLHG stuff going its separate ways.
Last of all to the Newfield for a celebratory drink and chips.
Well done everybody for your efforts this year. Archaeologists and volunteers have worked hard and had fun and we can do it all again next year.
Until June 2018…