Luckily all I had to carry was my camera
Last week I was lucky enough to spend a gorgeous summer’s morning on the banks of the Kennet & Avon Canal near Pewsey. Often I trudge the towpaths in the rain, but this was definitely one of the best places to be on such a day. Our maintenance team was installing soft bank protection in an area where the bank is badly eroded.
Along with campaign manager Gill Owen and environment manager Oda Dijksterhuis, we walked for a mile or so along the towpath with local journalists from BBC Radio Wiltshire and ITV South West, and a press photographer to where this work was going on. The hope is that water voles – whose population in the area has declined by 90% in recent years – will decide the new soft banks are a des.res. and move in.
Nowadays instead of being accompanied by camera operators and/or sound recordists, reporting is very much a DIY affair. Rob Murphy (@RobMurphyITV) carried his own camera and tripod neatly stowed in a back pack. The reporter from the BBC carried her (rather temperamental as it turned out) equipment, that unfortunately not only depended on a very reliable 3G signal to send a live interview down the line, but also on the fact that the box back at the office marked ‘charged batteries’ contained that very thing.
Having been back to her car once for replacements, the poor reporter wasn’t able to do her ‘live’ in the end but recorded her interview with Oda for later transmission. The press photographer (who had already been up since dawn covering some drugs raids) got his pictures and left.
All the interviews, filming and photography finished, we left the maintenance team busy installing the geotextile membrane which will hold pre-planted coir rolls. By this time next year, you will not be able to see any evidence of the work being done. All will appear tranquil and natural. I hope the water voles do their bit.
Liz Waddington is editor of The Source, the Canal & River Trust’s monthly staff newspaper. She has been in love with canals and their industrial heritage since her first holiday on the Grand Union Canal when she was 10 years old. Liz likes nothing more than getting out and meeting her colleagues on the cut.See more blogs from Liz Waddington