Fires of Prometheus

Canal Camp 2008

I help, a little, to restore the Monmouthshire and Brecon Canal

Canal camp volunteers
2008 volunteers, led by Rob Daffern.

We laid our sleeping bags on the floor of Crosskeys Methodist Church Hall and regarded each other warily. Our Leader, Rob, handed out super-strength earplugs, which was alarming (but a few hours later proved vitally necessary). Toby, the cook, cursed cheerfully about having to cater for my veganism (which he did very well). We sat through our safety induction, which warned of the multiple dangers to life and limb we were to face over the next few days. Then, after a restless night and a huge breakfast, we were plunged into the Mon&Brec. Well, ankle-deep in the Mon&Brec. Our task, to reline an aqueduct over a stream a few metres from the M4 motorway, the constant roar from which was a monotonous accompaniment to the next few days.

By the end of the week we'd achieved our goal, as proven by a lack of evidence of escape of dyed water. I'd learned how to drive a mini-digger, repaired a brick wall, and managed not to fall into the knee-deep goo that surrounded us. There was an hour of high drama when someone, not me thank goodness, severed a gas main, but that was the only mishap.

By the end of the camp, well-exercised, well-fed and watered, well-aired, well-satisfied, having enjoyed good, cheerful company, I was hooked!