Sadly for some and the demise of birthday trials riders, in the spring of 2007 the Sections 3 & 4,
formerly known as a “Touch of Scotland”, were lost to developers.

Sizing the Rocks

All the rocks had been earmarked for the construction of a fish pool. Now this is not your, single
fish dwelling with one lilly but more a mega structure capable of supporting shoals of Koi and
other exotic swimmers.

Initial construction involves heavy equipment and the removal of the mid section and climbs of
section 4. Rocks of all sizes are grouped and left in piles ready for phase II after the drawing of
the shape to come.

The Layout

A simple concept is envisaged with two major pools of 3′ in depth connected by a babbling brook
between the two and a waterfall of Niagra proportions feeding the upper pool.

The design consultant had limited experience in this field, but from his resume’ it was evident he
had completed a smaller task, albeit many years ago. As most of the materials were readily
available on site he was given the go ahead on a “beer for rock” basis.

A bit of digging in the lower pool

March 2007 the layout is complete and the workforce completes Phase I, the positioning of the
first circles of rocks for both pools, a bit like the Druids at Stone Henge. The Huge boulders will
hold back the weight of water and when the lower circle is complete it will be refilled with the
spare dirt. The second circle can now be laid and then the whole thing backfilled to complete the
sides. Very nice! now dig it all out again and the shape of the upper pool will be complete.

Top Pool ready

The Lower pool will require some “dig out ” to get the depth and shape as the ground has a
slope where the pool will be. Use some artistic licence and build the walkway, crazy paving style,
between the pools and shape the babbling brook.

A bit of fine Leveling

A little bit of leveling on both pools and now its time for Phase II the liners! These things are
not cheap but its the way to go when you are dealing with these sizes. The calculations reveal
that the combined volume of the pools will be about 17,000 gallons!! and now of course I need
a pump to circulate that lot and a filter to deal with all the fish crap, algae and decaying plant

In with the Liner

With the liners purchased, the following weekend its time to put them in after first laying 2″ of
sand in the pools and around the edges where the overlap will be. The huge rocks for the
waterfall areas are carefully placed and made ready to fit over the liner when it is in place. All
leveled up and now the edging stones from Home Depot can be placed on the upper layers of
the liner and aligned for that irregular shape. Now put in the water over the waterfall and see
how it looks…… not too shabby!

A rough idea of Niagra, just using a hose

The Filter arrives

The pump and filter arrive and after recovering from the shock on seeing the bill I attempt to
become the master plumber following all the advise from so called “experts”. Pipes and couplers
of various sizes and lots of the pre-treatment goop and glue are ready along with hacksaws
and away I go humping the enormous 75 lb pump into the lower pond. This thing pumps 6000
gallons an hour and sucks up everything and must be on a flat plate or small paving slab.
All connected and now wait the duty 24 hours for it to cure, stand back and light the blue
touch paper. Much gurgling and bubbles in the lower pool and then Niagra erupts through the
three falls…. fantastic!……… but a little later it appears the babbling brook can’t cope with the
magnitude of run off from the upper pool and instead of a babbling brook I have a white water
set of rapids!

Consult the knowledgable people at the pool shop only to find they know nothing and just sell
things with no knowledge of the mechanics or how to control the flow….. brilliant!

I devise a system with a partial return flow to the lower pool and a regulator to the falls whereby
I can control the rate of flow of Niagra. This involves another truck load of 2 1/2 inch pipes and
another load of 90’s 45’s and other assorted couplers. Another day of plumbing and this time it
works beautifully and is now under my control.

Planting continues into the night

Plants and oxygenation are now in and it’s time for the first batch of Kami Kazi Goldfish to test
the water. Plant stools are erected and adjusted for height and now in go the first set of
“fish toys” and some whimsical frogs to decorate the edges which I’m now finishing off with river
rocks of various sizes to give the final effect. As you would expect the water is a little cloudy with
all this activity but I expect the filter to get to grips with it in a couple of weeks.

Drywalling the flower beds around the Patio

Yet another bucket or two of river rock

The left over rock, which is considerable, is now made into a series of raised beds with a
“Derbyshire” dry stone wall edging all around the old horse wash bay which will be the Gazebo,
firepit and outside bar. River rock is continually added, bucket by bucket to improve the overall
look and some more pond curios in the shape of sunken galleons, ships wheels, lifebelts and of
course the Titanic are placed for the fish to amuse themselves….. talking of fish and a batch of
5 small turtles where are they???

The water now clears and there don’t appear to be too many fish and the bobbing turtles have
vanished too……I wonder?……yep! reckon so! the pump has sucked them in and they went
through the unguarded impeller with phenominal ease. You say you are a fish pond expert?
….. clearly you are no such thing, you are a retail sales outlet and know **** all!

The Memorial ……

I now build a wire mesh cage around the pump and on completion of same, another Squadron
of Goldfish and Koi are released to test the waters once more. Meanwhile a memorial to the “45”
is erected in a prominent place but in an operation this size there are bound to be a few losses.
By now plants and fish are arriving from well wishers and members of Brenda’s gardening forum
almost on a daily basis but we also have 100+ baby Koi arriving from Florida by UPS.

The 117 Newcomers arrive

They arrive, we follow the instructions and only one has perished to date when it thought it was
a Salmon and tried to swim up the babbling brook from the lower pool. They said they would
send a “few” extra to make up for any losses from the “100” but 117 arrived, all between 1-3
inches and they are now all in the 6-9 bracket with some of the initial batch that survived the
“mincer” having made 10-12 inches in less than a year!Also some of the larger goldfish bred in
the pond during the summer and their offspring are now in the 3 inch bracket.

We’re getting Bigger!

I continue with the walkway back to the house while Brenda plants furiously. The patio set is
found and after breaking several drill bits it is secured to the concrete and now completes the
bar area which also has it’s own fridge and supply of essential fish watching liquids. …….. and
all this completed during the busiest trials season ever.

Section 4

The Ends gate Section 4

Yet more planting and the addition of yet more river rock and I’m about done. A croc joins the
pool fleet along with colored balls more frogs and 2 x Titanics. The first is sunk and is now
another fish plaything and the second is a working model which, on command “goes down by
the head” then breaks apart and then the stern finally waves “bye bye” and stands up and

Going down by the Head

The Break -Up …. and the band played on

The Final Moments as seen from the “full” lifeboat

The “Maid Of The Mist” sails under Niagra

…..and finally everybody is happy and the sign is up!

Don’t mind if I do!

The Pool against a Monsoon Sky

Tony Down     Pool Builder, Master Plumber, Dry Rock Wall Builder and General Dogsbody

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