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Montgomery Canal Restoration Work Party Report - May 2008

May 3-5


The May work party has a reputation of being the most productive of the year and the 2008 event was no exception. This was in part due to the fact that it is the only three day work party of the year, but the attendance, weather and a deeper understanding of the tasks in hand also contributed. Fifty-five volunteers worked over the three days including one welcome new (or perhaps more accurately returning) volunteer who last contributed at Burgedin. Our amazing luck with the weather held. Sunday was forecast as having thunder and showers and we got two very heavy downpours - the first before work started and the second after work finished. The latter was so heavy that Lloyds Mill which is adjacent to the site was obscured from view for about five minutes!

In total 83 metres of wall is now finished - within a whisker of 20% of the total. Of this, 43 metres of batter wall and 15 metres of vertical wall were completed during the three days and another 17 meters of batter wall started. A pattern of working is now emerging in which the lower course of the batter wall is completed first followed a day later by the upper part of the wall. The backfill is 'limecrete', a version of concrete which has lime in place of cement. This has all the working properties of concrete but, importantly, also has the same rate of expansion and contraction as the lime mortar in the walls. A delivery of sorted stone also helped the cause since an increasing proportion of the remaining reclaimed stone is either the wrong shape or too heavy to move by hand. Although the majority of volunteers are deployed on the batter wall John, Ruth and Cath quietly beaver away on the vertical wall adjacent to Redwith Bridge. They also double as public relations staff in fielding questions from the steady stream of interested onlookers on the Bridge.

An unusual feature of the Redwith site is that the towpath is open to the public and remains so during the work party. This is no more than a minor inconvenience to either volunteers or towpath walkers. As always the goodwill toward the restoration is apparent when talking to the visitors.

The Endpiece. As somebody nearly wrote "To get soaked to the skin once during a work party may be considered a misfortune but to get soaked twice looks like carelessness". Ian Lee managed this feat. The first was in the downpour on Sunday but on Monday he managed the nigh impossible - using the pressure washer on himself!


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Finishing the pointing Another delivery of limecrete back-fill
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Have pressure washer will travel The final stone in the towpath vertical wall
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