Stone me! Mil­i­tary copters take the strain for Ex­moor re­pair job

Western Daily Press - - News -

MOST times when the Armed Forces are car­ry­ing heavy weights across the moors of the West Coun­try it is Royal Ma­rine com­man­dos lump­ing hefty ruck­sacks across Dart­moor as part of their fa­mously gru­elling train­ing.

But this week he­li­copter pi­lots from 846 Naval Air Squadron shifted 60 tonnes of stone with­out break­ing into quite such a sweat. They com­bined a train­ing mis­sion with help­ing Ex­moor Na­tional Park rangers move the stone up the Two Moors Way, near Si­mons­bath.

Two huge Mer­lin MK3 he­li­copters from the Yeovil­ton-based 846 Naval Air Squadron col­lected the crushed stone in bags from a nearby farm and de­liv­ered them to an eroded sec­tion of Na­tional Park path near Wheal El­iza.

The re­pair will im­prove ac­ces­si­bil­ity, en­abling more peo­ple to en­joy the stark beauty and tran­quil­lity of the an­cient Barle Val­ley.

Dan Bar­nett, Ex­moor Na­tional Park’s ac­cess and recre­ation manag- er, said: “It’s great that 846 Naval Air Squadron has been able to help us get the job done.”

Lieu­tenant Com­man­der Andy White, from 846 Naval Air Squadron, said: “We fly and ex­er­cise over Ex­moor and Dart­moor fre­quently and it is grat­i­fy­ing that we can say thank you in some mean­ing­ful way.”

One of the Mer­lins do­ing the heavy lift­ing

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