In November 2017, when the restoration of the Rifle Range began, we focused our efforts in the markers’ gallery (the long roofed area where the metal target frames are situated):
The first job was to tidy up the rubbish, resulting in six rubble sacks of glass, cans, food packaging and much more. Rubbish is a big problem up here and we are only the latest in a long line of people who have volunteered to clean it up.
The markers’ gallery contains eight metal target frames all of which are placed in brick and concrete pits. These pits had filled up with many year’s worth of organic debris, not to mention large amounts of rubbish and metalwork – cleaning these was our second challenge.
The largest objects removed from the pits were the two Oxford Allen autosythes (grass cutters) which were dumped here when the range closed. These were so heavy that five of us were required to heave each one out.
Once the pits had been emptied it was clear that all of the target frames were essentially complete, each of them with their two ‘carriages’ resting on the base of the pits. When in use, the carriages were connected to one another by a cable, running over the top of a pulley wheel. Placed in these carriages would have been two canvas covered, wooden targets, one in the front and one in the rear so that when one carriage was raised (and its target visible for shooting at) the other would be simultaneously lowered, for repair.
Out of the eight frames on site, frame 1 seemed to be the best preserved and we decided to concentrate our efforts on restoring this one to working order. More on our next Blog . . .