On 1 June a team of scouts met early at the scout hall to prepare for the building of the Thriftwood Unilock Bridge, otherwise known as the Banana Bridge. We packed all the poles, ropes and general equipment, and set off to Keurboom Park to build the bridge.
There are three stages to this bridge: the pyramids, the assembly and the walkway.
We started off with the pyramids. Two pyramid shapes were built from two pairs of sheer legs each, tied together at the bases with 5m poles. These pyramids formed both the bases for the walkway on either side of the bridge, and the decorative overhead part of the bridge.
The assembly was definitely the most grueling part of the building. Two teams of scouts needed to lift each pyramid at an angle in order for them to lock into each other overhead, above the stream. This took a lot of manpower and time, as well as many nervous minutes where these huge structures were suspended in the air with no support except that provided by the scouts.
The lifting of the two pyramids had to be done twice! The first time, the distance across the river in between the two pyramid bases was too great, and the entire structure needed to be taken down to readjust this distance safely. A few lashings were retied to accommodate the width of the walkway, and the required distance was carefully mapped out before we tried again after our lunch-break.
The second time the lift was attempted, it was successful! After securing the pyramids with pegs and guy-lines, the final stage was ready to begin. The walkway had been built at the same time as the pyramids, and its width now fitted the width of the bridge overhead base.
With much lifting and maneuvering, we got the walkway in between the bases of the pyramids. The trapeze was secured and tightened in the center of the bridge, the guy-lines were tightened, the lashings were checked, the safety checks were completed, and the first hesitant guinea-pig crossed the river using the new bridge. It worked!
The bridge was a result of over 10 hours of hard work from all the scouts. Many scouts learned new pioneering skills over the course of the day, and learned a lot about the workings of a large pioneering build like this one.
The fundraising aspect of the event was equally successful – about R4000 was raised through the pancake selling, thanks to all the customers and donations.
Thanks to all that took part!