Montgomery Canal Restoration Work Party Report - March 2007
February 3 & 4
March 3 & 4
This newsletter covers two work parties for the price of one. On arrival in February we were annoyed to find that thieves had stolen the safety fence around the compound and that there had been some fly tipping in the canal. However when work started the efforts of 24 volunteers concentrated on clearance of trees in the bed of the cut from Pryces Bridge to the northern extent of our site. Most of the length was cleared resulting in some impressive bonfires! This work was to enable surveyors contracted by B.W. to do a level survey of the length to determine quantities of silt to be removed and the necessary finished heights of the banks.
The March work party was based on Crickheath North and the attendance was one of the biggest yet - 29 on Saturday. On a fine and sunny Saturday one group completed the site setup. The compound was levelled and surfaced with stone courtesy of Big Arthur. The security fencing to form the compound was replaced and the connecting bolts welded up this time! Also we now have a water supply to the compound which will be very handy when we start mixing large quantities of mortar. Big Arthur was also used to assist in the demolition of a section of the wharf wall by lifting stones. Not only will BA speed the work by it will also prevent a few strained backs! A shelter was built over the section of wall in preparation for expected rain on Sunday (see picture). The recent wet weather has caused the canal to be filled to a substantial depth in places and one hitherto dry ditch on the site has begun to flow in the last month.
The biggest effort over the weekend was on final clearance and disposal of trees from the site before the start of the bird nesting season. All of the trees have now been felled and all but the largest stumps burnt during the course of the weekend. This work was completed during Sunday in the most torrential rain and a sea of mud - a wonderful effort of perseverance. The ground at the south end of the site has subsided over the years and before the canal can be filled to its proper level the banks need to be raised. The plan is for B.W. to fill this area with silt from the Gronwen length.
The other activity on Sunday was training by B.W. commissioned consultants on stone wall building with lime mortar. This consisted of a talk on the materials and techniques of pointing and construction followed by a practical session on the wharf wall. 21 volunteers took part. The initial reaction of the trainees was that the mortar was easy to use. However the long times required to prepare and cure the material will mean that a new methods of working will have to be developed.
Work is now underway variously by B.W. contractors, W.R.G. and S.U.C.S. all the way from Gronwen to the end of our site at Crickheath Bridge. There is a real feeling that progress is at last being made on this section.
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