Reed all about it
2 runners ran to help the Maidenhead Waterways in Windsor and Maidenhead.
- Saturday, 9th of October 2021
- Led by Amy Lovell
Work parties with Friends of Maidenhead Waterways always promise lovely company, an excellent workout, and beautiful views, along with a healthy dose of mud splatter, and this Saturday's was no exception. Paul (later known as 'Dry Paul') joined me in representing GoodGym on this session, and it was great to catch up with leader Alisdair and volunteer Jenny again. We also enjoyed meeting volunteers Ted, Zara, Martin and 'Wet Paul' (who was kitted out in a wet suit).
I ran 5km to our meeting point with the latter part of my route crossing a very foggy North Town Moor and Widbrook Common. The fog made for an eerie but enjoyable run and with not much to look at in the distance my attention was drawn to hundreds of lacy spiders' webs in the grass.
Once we had all found each other in the mist, we gathered tools and waders from Alisdair's car and walked together across the fields to our target stream: the Widbrook. Our goal was to clear a 1-2m channel to allow the water to flow freely, helping to feed the recently opened waterways in Maidenhead. Zara, Ted, Martin and Wet Paul joined me wading in the water and pulling up reeds and weeds, while Jenny, Alisdair and Dry Paul had the tough job of raking our haul up on to the banks.
I absolutly love doing this task. It is very hard work. You really have put all your strength and weight into yanking and dragging out the vegetation. Some reeds come up with a satisfying pop and a splatter of mud, whilst others are far more stubborn. Sometimes pulling and winding the tangle of floating weeds feels a bit like twisting giant crunchy, spaghetti onto a fork: aim for a satisfyingly large mouthful, but go for too much and it becomes unmanageable.
Various techniques were perfected this morning. Wet Paul mastered the swim through it to break it up method, super strong Zara taught us the swirl it around underwater to get the mud off and make it lighter trick, and once my hands had lost all their strength, I practiced the wrap it around your middle and pull like an ox technique.
And all the while we had the fun challenge of keeping our balance in the water and the wonderful thrill of being immersed in nature.
As we worked the mist cleared and we were rewarded with chocolate caramel wafers and lovely views upstream towards Cliveden. We've all eaten caramel wafers before, but they taste even better after an hour and a half of hard, mucky work. And we've all seen Cliveden before, but it looked particularly magical from our in-stream perspective, framed by green reeds and trees. Thank you to Zara for taking some lovely photos from the Stream.
Working as a team we managed to clear around 100m of stream before it was time to pack up the tools and head for home. There is still plenty more to do on future weekends, so look out for more opportunities to get involved.
Report written by Amy Lovell
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Led by Amy Lovell
Area Activator for Windsor and Maidenhead. Loves running & Pilates and runs to escape from her hoards of small children.
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