Meet the European Hornet...
We had to work around a nest of them today, as they were in the storm-damaged oak tree I mentioned in yesterday's blog post. You can just see a couple of them going into the crack in the tree that was probably what weakened it and resulted in the storm damage.
Here's how the oak tree looked after the storm:
It took us a while, but after some chainsawing and winch work, we got the broken section down on the ground:
To get it down we looped a 4-tonne sling round the branch near where it attached to the tree - this effectively doubles its strength to 8 tonnes, see the table on this page. We attached a 10-tonne pulley to the sling using an 8-tonne bow shackle - using a pulley doubles the power of the winch:
Through the pulley was a 20 metre 15-tonne steel rope, with one end anchored to a tree with another sling and bow shackle:
The other end was attached to the steel rope that went through our Tirfor T516 winch - this can pull 1.6 tonnes, so all the other components in use are stronger, eliminating the chance of unexpected failures.
That's an awful lot of gear to push through the woods on a wheelbarrow, but it got the job done with us stood at a safe distance from the tree! We even managed to avoid damaging the hornets' nest, so they can carry on living in the trunk of the tree and the cracked bit of the branch which is now on the ground.
We cleared up some coppice stools that had been blown over too, and there are still a few more of these to do before we've finished clearing up from the St Jude's Day storm which hit the UK on 28 Oct 2013.