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Montgomery Canal Restoration Work Party Report - May 2009

May 2-4

 

Three days with a strong turnout gave a total of 77 volunteer days of work, allowing significant progress on many fronts. Following the decision that this section should be fully completed by the S.U.C.S. working parties, Mike has reworked the project schedule and generated an efficient plan of attack that minimises disruption from the different tasks to be carried out. For example, shaping the channel involves use of heavy equipment and needs to be away from other people working in the canal bed building walls.

So on Saturday morning, the emphasis was moved to Pryces Bridge, to start work on bridge repairs, offside walls on each side of the bridge and rework to the canal bed underneath the bridge. This involved getting the digger and dumper down to Pryces Bridge, without running over the wall builders! The dam was then removed from underneath the bridge with the clay moved a little way towards Llanymynech to be ready to re-form the dam later, with the site extended accordingly. A foundation was then dug to allow the retaining wall to be re-instated on the off-side, with concrete poured on the Monday to allow this wall to be started at the next work party. The towpath side was then tackled, cutting away the bank to the line of the original retaining wall, ready for the foundations to be put in.

Meanwhile, work was carried out to repair the offside wall from the bridge at the Redwith side with Engineering Bricks to match the existing.  By the end of the weekend, this wall was completed with all but the coping on the top.

Under the bridge, an original stop plank cill and associated structure had been unearthed. At the request of British Waterways Heritage department a record was be made of the structure before removal. It was too high for modern requirements and could cause an obstruction. After a day more akin to Time Team than a S.U.C.S. work party a major struggle took place to remove the central wooden beam built into the bridge structure under where the stop planks fit, as  Although probably around 200 years old, this beam was not going to give up easily and took two days of the weekend to painstakingly remove, bit by bit.

The wall building continued with the aim to finish the first 125 meters from Pryces Bridge to allow channel shaping to commence whilst the rest of the wall is completed. Outstanding progress was made on the bottom course of 75 metres over the weekend, making it to the 125 metre point. 25 metres of wall was also completed, in between dodging the digger, dumper and powered barrows. The bottom course team will now move to helping with wall completion.

Work also continued on the container that will be used as a store and a new Welfare Hut. Painting of the interior made a big difference, along with completion of the dividing wall and installation of the serving hatch. Many suggestions were made for a sign to go over the hatch, many being unprintable, with a temporary sign already produced.

On the Sunday evening, a BBQ was arranged to make a change from eating at the pub. It was held at the stables at the Llanymynech Lime Kilns and a great evening was had by all. The weather held allowing us to sit outside until after dark. The bat watching was unsuccessful, probably due to the howls of laughter regularly erupting. We all retired into the stables to enjoy the heat from the woodburner and to continue telling stories of boating, restoration and life in general.  A little counselling was required by one of the team who managed to get locked in the toilets for 10 minutes. This was the fault of the door mechanism and nothing to do with anything he may have drunk, honest! We will avoid embarrassment and not name names, including naming those who were very quiet on the Monday. You know who you are!

 

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Removing the dam at Pryces Bridge Struggling with the wood under the bridge, helped by a neighbour
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The repaired wall at Pryces Bridge 3D cutaway drawing of the cill structure under Pryces Bridge
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A good stretch of the batter wall from Pryces Bridge is now completed BBQ at Llanymynech. No one missing at this point!
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The serving hatch takes shape
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