Wednesday, 19 December 2012

A view from the bottom - Betsy

BetsyAs a visually impaired person I am grateful to have any 'view'. In this case I am on my back, resting on my rucksack and a most clean and comfortable bed of moist mud.

I am at the bottom of a ditch, but not just any old ditch. This is the Lodge Moor conduit which brought drinking water from Redmires Reservoir to the Sheffield Reservoir (which is now the Weston Park playing fields). It is a famous waterway but I did not expect to be in the bottom of it!

As our Wednesday walk ambled along the conduit on the last lap to the bus at Lodge Moor, I stopped at the side of the path to shorten my walking pole, a bit of bank gave away and I was resting gently in the bottom, laughing my head off in unison with the happy faces peering down at me and feeling that it was my moment of fame as cameras clicked.

The inside of the conduit is quite interesting. At least four feet deep and almost as wide at the bottom, the sides slope outwards as they come down and are made of concrete, very smooth without so much as a fingertip hold. Earth and grass lean over the top edge and some must fall in without my help.

I am now feeling mud soaking into my undies and boots so I guess it's time to get out. Not an easy task! First I must extract one boot from a very clinging mud heap and then try to stand up. I cannot turn over on my knees and push myself up as there is too much mud and nothing to get hold of. Finally getting upright with my back against the offending bank, most of me is below the edge. After some painful arm pulling, someone with a tone of authority says to get my foot against the opposite bank, which I can just reach, and strong hands get under my armpits and I am lifted out with great dignity. Many thanks to all who helped.

Now however, I am matted with moist mud down my backside and have to get on a bus and then into a pub - I think I need a drink! When reaching a bench I put on my waterproofs - what else are they for - and I am presentable, if a bit damp in the nether regions.

If you feel you would like to investigate the inside of this conduit, I have one suggestion - take a ladder with you!