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Montgomery Canal Restoration Work Party Report - October 2011

October 1 & 2

 

This month saw the team's much-anticipated return to channel lining. Our first foray into lining was in October 2009 when we laid a short stretch in the narrow channel at the mouth of Redwith Bridge, largely as an experiment. Our second was in September 2010 at the extreme other end of site. The plan for this month was to continue from where we left off 13 months ago. In that interval the channnel shaping has progressed to a point about 150 m from Pryces bridge. The bed has been left about 100 mm above the final level to protect it from traffic, so last month that layer was removed for a distance of about 20 m.

Saturday got off to a hectic start with the arrival of 2 trucks carrying 2000 concrete blocks to add to those still in stock from last year. Also arriving was a mini-bus carrying 17 personnel from RAF Shawbury; each course run at Shawbury undertakes a community day and we were to benefit from the combined muscle of No 386 Joint Air Traffic Control Course. The first result of this was to smash the record for attendance on a single day with 44 people on site. Another result was the doubling of the size of the Welfare Department; their spokeswoman claimed that this was solely to cope with demand at tea breaks and nothing to do with the prospect of a bus-load of young servicemen on site.

October had seemed like a good time to schedule lining, but the weather delivered bright sunshine and temperatures in the high 20's. Even so, by the end of Saturday we had done more than in a full weekend last year. The higher production rate brought new problems, but once again we are on a learning curve. On Sunday we were without the help of the RAF and with 24 people achieved a little over 50% of Saturday's result.

Channel shaping was not suspended altogether, just relocated to the Redwith bridge end. It was also strictly limited to digger operators with a sick note barring them from carrying 17 kg concrete lumps around. This lucky pair were having a good weekend, having passed their digger refresher course on the Friday.

The total for the weekend was about 15 m of channel lined. Sunday certainly felt like hard work and we were very grateful for the assistance that we received from RAF Shawbury on Saturday.

We have posted two restoration time-lapse clips of the lining operation on YouTube, please follow the link to take a look.

 

Group_Photo_400 Concrete_blocks_400
Our new recruits, before the truth had dawned The RAF 'machine' in action
015s Canal_Bed_400
Building the jigsaw Late on Saturday
022s R0011231s
Brushing grout between the blocks End of Sunday
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