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Montgomery Canal Restoration Work Party Report - July 2007

July 7 & 8

 

To open a report with the revelation that we had two (almost) dry days in early July may be seen as evidence of the British obsession with the weather. However two days of good weather after weeks of seemingly continuous rain really is news in these climate changing days! The attendance was a healthy 18 on Saturday and 22 on Sunday and efforts concentrated on two tasks - the wharf wall and the visitor moorings. The start of work on the bridge hole was postponed due to the amount of water in the canal and difficult access for the 3 tonne digger. The canal in fact contains substantially more water than in March.

Early arrivals on Saturday were puzzled that the wharf wall had mysteriously grown a couple of courses since last work party. The explanation turned out to be that John Blundred and team had been using the wall to provide training in lime mortar techniques as part of a WRG work camp - knowledge that was subsequently put to good use by WRG in constructing a retaining wall at Redwith. The main thrust of activity on our wharf was stone preparation: both demolition and cleaning of reclaimed stone, and grading of some twenty tonnes of newly delivered quarry stone - both distinctly non-trivial tasks.

 

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The world's longest concrete conveyor

 

The main Saturday task on the visitor mooring part of the site was fixing the reinforcing steel and pouring the concrete base. Given that the mooring is 35 metres long it is remarkable that this was all achieved in less than two hours. Our secret weapon was what was claimed to be "the world's longest concrete conveyor". This turned out to be a conventional ready mix truck equipped with a conveyor belt on a 15 meter hydraulic arm all of which was controlled by the driver via a remote radio link. The conveyor, and some frantic use of a number of barrows, enabled 3 cubic metres of concrete to be placed in 50 minutes. On Sunday the concrete shuttering was struck and a start made on the construction of the stone wall, this time in cement mortar.

At lunchtime on Saturday we visited the works being undertaken by BW contractors between Gronwen and Redwith and we were much impressed by both the scale and quality of the works. The weekend's highlight was a visit from the local TV reporter who spent considerable time filming the site and interviewing a number of the more photogenic volunteers.

For those unfortunate enough not to receive Mid-Wales TV the photo gives a flavour of the occasion.

 

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Montgomery restoration explained to the world

 

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