Our dock is in a bad way! The wood is rotting and the access to it is down quite a steep slope. When we first arrived there was a couple of rocks providing two steps onto the wooden dock, but we needed more than just those two steps. If the grass was wet, the slope was such that we slid down to the dock!
We tried to add some more stones, but digging out the slope was very hard because of the roots from the trees and rocks. We couldn’t find any big stones to use as steps that like the ones already there, but we did find some fairly flat stones and a block of wood that we put into the hill. It wasn’t great, but it was better than it was, especially when it was wet. Having tried the digging out approach and decided that it is going to be too difficult to dig out enough to put a good solid structure in place, we plan to build some wooden steps going down to the dock. However, we don’t want to do that until we have sorted out the state of the dock, which has become the more pressing issue.
It is hard to photograph the steepness of the slope, but perhaps this photograph taken from the lake gives a better idea of how the land lies. You can see how the land to the left of the cottage quickly rises (hence the steep driveway issues) and then how steep the slope is going down to the dock.
Whilst it might look like a rolling lush green hill, you don’t need to dig down far before you hit rock. In many places the rocks are very visible. This rock is just beyond the end of our dock. The rocks are very beautiful, but it does give us a challenge when it comes to adding anything structural.
Our dock seems to be sitting on three telegraph poles. One has obviously sunk into the mud more than the other two, because you can see how the dock is sloping into the lake. A little slope is good, so that water flows back into the lake, but this slope is a little too much. To begin with we thought it a strange method to use telegraph poles for supporting the dock, but having understood just how rocky it is and how hard it is to build structures because of the rock, we can now see exactly why they used this method.
We knew it was only a matter of time before someone would put their foot through one of the rotten planks of wood on the dock and sure enough our son put his foot through one at the end of the season. Thankfully no one was hurt! Building a new dock has now become a priority for this year. Regulations are that we have to keep the footprint of the dock the same and it would be difficult to do anything too much different anyway. You can see how the land rises behind the dock, so we can’t make the dock wider without some serious blasting and we are not allowed to go out any further into the lake.
We are not totally decided how we are going to build the new dock. We might be able to put some rocks under the far telegraph pole to raise it a little and as long as they are still sound we then could reuse them for the new dock. I think our plan of action is to cut new wood to the right lengths, then pull up the old wood and see what we find. We can decide then how we go about securing the new wood and if we are going to reuse those telegraph poles. We have to consider what we use as we don’t want to use anything that will be harmful to the environment. Pressure treated wood isn’t good for that reason. The dock there at the moment is made from pine and built from the trees in the area. If we use the same method it will probably be good for the next 15 years, or a more expensive option is to use cedar. We still have a few months to ponder and decide, so I will get back to you at a later date and let you know what we decide to do.