Lucid Spirit programme

On Friday 28 July, nine colleagues from our Rubix team headed to the Peak District to volunteer their time and help care for its precious wild landscape. This was as part of our Lucid Spirit programme, an initiative set up to give back to communities and the environment.

The team were guided by Rob Kenning from the Peak Park Conservation Volunteers’ programme. Rob talked the group through the plan for the day, which involved improving the drainage on a footpath in the Goyt valley.

Without this intervention, the path would remain a bog for much of the year, limiting access for walkers and risking irreversible erosion.

After splitting into two teams, the teams got to work, wielding shovels and mattocks to clear a gulley for each drainpipe. There wasn’t much chance of avoiding the mud, and very quickly their faces were splattered and boots soaked.

Sally Bristow relished the chance to become a water engineer for the day, digging channels upstream to guide the flow through the newly-built gulley. The team all smirked like children at the squelches and strange farty noises coming from their spades.

After an hour or so of hard work, Robert Hayden was on hand with delicious homemade chocolate brownies to keep everyone energised, and Kate Wrightoffered valuable support in the form of super-sweet Canadian maple cookies.

Towards midday, the pipework was ready to be covered with rocks and stones, which would allow water to flow into the permeable tube along its full length. This task involved some super-strength rock carrying and smashing!

The teams were soon eager for lunch, and they headed downhill to rest and recuperate in a peaceful spot by the Goyt River.

In the afternoon they cracked on with two more drainage channels, to complete four in total and achieve our target for the day.

The last part of the day focused on creating a “jigsaw” of stepping stones, to allow walkers to navigate the softer ground between each drain. This needed the very best “flatty” rocks to be found among the rubble pile and hauled to their resting place. Some were not that steady to begin with and required careful adjustment with smaller rocks to make sure that they fully supported each footstep.

Some of the team were back the very next day to admire their work while hiking on Shining Tor with the Lucid Boots group (a group of hiking enthusiasts), while the rest of the team rested their aching arms and backs!

The team all agreed that it was a great change from their usual desk-based jobs, and it was a fantastic chance to get to know each other better and give something back to the local community.

Thanks to everyone that took part Katy Holliday, Liz Neale, Robert Hayden, Sally Bristow, Sarah Williams, PhD, Stefanie O’Hara, Jenni Strahan, Dave Burton and Kate Wright.


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