The peaceful silence of a Summer Monday morning, deep in the ancient Exmoor woods, was shattered by the sound of hammers and axes setting to work. We were getting started on our new dugout canoe.
The first part of the construction process was to split the lovely log given to us by Exmoor National Park Authority, in half. Considering the size of our chunk of oak (1 metre across and 7 and a half metres long!), this was no small undertaking. Especially using wooden wedges, with a couple of iron and bronze ones to get us started.
It was a real scorcher of a day, made worse by the River Barle taunting us 100m away. Undaunted, we hammered on, whacking in the numerous wedges along either side of the tree, fighting the slight spiral that the grain decided to follow. We axed a notch half way along the upper section to control our split up to that point.
A full day of relentless work and the upper chunk of the first half was still clinging on by a few straps. A task we finished off one morning the following week. The second half will have to wait for another day.