We were split up into a few small teams before being assigned a job to do. The two main things that needed doing were dry stone walling and top wiring.
Now if you’ve read my previous blogs, you’ll know that I tried my hand at dry stone walling a couple of weeks ago when the reserve was blanketed in snow. Because of this, I was thrilled when another volunteer and I were asked to do top wiring instead, as I love having some variation of tasks each week.
Now if you’re like me and not from a farming background, you may well be wondering what on Earth top wiring involves. Thankfully, Stephen the Reserve Manager explained it to me step by step. Basically, top wiring is wire fencing that sits atop low walls, such as the dry stone walls we had been rebuilding, in order to stop livestock from jumping over the wall. It comes in big rolls which are lightweight but a bit fiddly to roll out, and it’s a job best done in pairs.
Fellow volunteer Claire and I got to work, untangling and rolling out top wiring along the length of a section of dry stone wall. It stretched for quite a distance, requiring three rolls of wiring to be firstly unravelled, and then joined together.
Joining them requires dexterity, hand strength and thick gloves, as the heavy-gauge wiring used is lethal, at least it is for office-types like myself whose soft hands aren’t used to manual labour!
Thankfully gloves, eye protection and a host of tools were supplied, which made the task easier and ensured we didn’t injure ourselves. I found the task quite rewarding, wrapping a piece of wire from one section around the adjoining section, before twisting it over again and again in order to join it securely.