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My week of service repairing canals

Philbo Wiseroot

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This last week, I went on my fourth Waterway Recovery Group camp. WRG run working holiday camps primarily through the summer in the UK, with the focus on restoring the waterways, particularly canals.

So far, I've been on camps that have started a new section of canal, repaired a towpath, and brick/block laying.
In the last 4 years, I've learned the following:
  • Bricklaying and cleaning
  • Operating a digger (I was working on my certification this year)
  • Packing into difficult spaces
  • Co-ordinating/managing a team
  • Felling a tree by hand
  • Correct lifting posture
  • The value of observation for learning
  • Being banksman/site safety
  • Double checking work before carrying it out
  • The idea that the easiest way to convince someone that an idea isn't worth it is for them to try it
  • How much I eat on a WRG camp (I had a 2000 calorie meal at Wetherspoon's on Tuesday night)
And probably a lot more I've forgotten.
I'm pleased I went on the camp again and I'm proud of the work we did (we were planning on 50m of wall built over 2 weeks, but we managed about 30m in a week, along with an access ramp for wheelchairs, another short wall, and a bit more). In all, a fun week.
The digger licence is an unexpected bonus.

What skills have you learned doing stuff away from your everyday life?
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