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Montgomery Canal Restoration Work Party Report - October 2010

October 2 & 3

 

The October work party will be memorable for two very important milestones and rain. Oh boy did it rain! Luckily the Saturday was dry and we were able to make very good progress that made up for Sunday's almost complete wash out. This is the first time that I have experienced the work party being abandoned early and it was the only possible decision that could be made. However, we must not let this hide what was achieved over the weekend.

Saturday started with bright sunshine, a host of new volunteers and the prospect of finishing the battered wall. The volunteers split into two groups with the stone wallers determined to complete the final few metres of the 414 m that was started in March 2008. Saturday afternoon saw the last stone put into position! Well done to all those who have worked on the battered wall, either actually building it or all of the support functions including mixing and moving materials. It is a team job and everyone deserves the credit. The wall builders will now move on to finishing the stone top to the offside retaining wall near Redwith Bridge.

The other main activity on the Saturday was channel shaping, working away from the section of liner that was laid last month. On the Saturday and Sunday morning we were able to dig out 35 m of channel base and also shape some of the offside bank. This kept the digger and two dumpers busy all day, including during breaks by having split breaks for the digger and dumper drivers, making maximum use of the equipment. Many tons of soil were shifted and laid down in the soil tip to build up the offside bank ready for later shaping. A second digger was also at work in the soil tip, sorting topsoil to the far side to spread across the area at the end before returning it to the farmers. This digger also has to spread out the soil dumped to build up the offside bank so that it is compressed by the laden dumpers and won't suffer subsidence at a later date.

Sunday morning saw two more new volunteers and the return of some of the new volunteers from the Saturday, even though the rain was hammering down! It was too wet for building stone walls and the amount of surface water made it difficult to do anything other than digging out the channel base, but even this had to be abandoned at lunch time due to the tracks of the dumpers churning up the canal bed and soil tip. So after lunch, it was decided to call it a day and clean the equipment, which was no mean task with all the mud on site.

Sunday was a special day for Brian Staniland who has been volunteering with the Society on Montgomery restoration work parties for 25 years. An incredible achievement. Brian was presented with a card from the other volunteers and a signed copy of Harry Arnold's book, The Montgomery Canal and its Restoration¬Ě. Many thanks to Brian for all his time and effort over the last 25 years and we hope that he will continue to volunteer for many more years, together with his legendary and trusted lunchbox!

 

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The Last Stone in the Wall! Brushing a Dry Mix of Sand and Cement into the Overburden
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Digging out the Base of the Channel Shaping the Offside Bank
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Brian Staniland - 25 Years of Volunteering with the Society
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