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Montgomery Canal Restoration Work Party Report - May 2012

May 05 - 07

The three day May work party is usually the most productive of the year and, despite a small hiccup on the first day, this record was maintained. There was major progress on the channel shaping and construction of the offside bank. Also the setting out of the offside bank was completed and a couple of sections of lining put down. Although the weather behaved itself over the weekend the damage had already been done.....

The small hiccup - OK, in truth, a big hiccup! - was a result of the torrential rain that had fallen on Shropshire over the preceding week, a large quantity of which had seemingly ended up in the Pryces Bridge end of the channel. Unfortunately this was the area where the lining work was to be done and thus the early arrivals on Saturday were put onto pumping duties. Such was the quantity of water that it took all of Saturday to pump it away and no blocks were laid as a result. Incidentally this is a problem that is likely to get worse as work progresses since the section already lined simply acts to funnel rainwater onto the areas prepared for lining. By Sunday the channel had dried out sufficiently to allow both a limited amount of lining work (8 metres) and the placing of the stone on the offside bank. About 70 metres of the channel is now finished, and very nice it looks too!

The digging gang were kept at it all weekend and by close of play on Monday had shaped 30 metres of channel at the Redwith end. Shaping is now within touching distance of the end of the retaining wall and, encouragingly, Redwith Bridge is now not visible from the working area. The cause was considerably aided by the fact that the material being excavated was mainly sand. Also, as has become the practice, the machines were kept working throughout the day with changes of personnel at break times. A truly impressive amount of material was shifted over the weekend.

The availability of the large quantity of fill meant that there was also considerable progress on the construction of the offside bank adjacent to the culvert. A further ten metres was built up to finished height and the rest built up and shaped. The setting out of this area was completed resulting in an impressive forest of pegs and batter rails. A further job was the clearance of the first ten metres or so of the existing offside bank east of the culvert. This investigation showed that this could be profiled in a similar manner to that of the new bank, and this section was also set out.

An interesting task was to try to re-establish the hedge line between the two fields near the culvert. This was achieved using Google Earth images and old plans, and was necessary since the two sides of the hedge will ultimately have different ground levels.

All in all a very successful and enjoyable weekend. Overheard at the evening meal on Saturday was speculation as to who would be asked to perform the opening ceremony for the section. This might be a bit premature but we are certainly nearer the end than the beginning!

 

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Profiling at the Redwith end Pro-Am cloud watching
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Lining and blocking at the Pryces end Adding the 'boulders', note the scoreboard top right
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Building up the bank near the culvert The view from Redwith Bridge with profiling completed again
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