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Montgomery Canal Restoration Work Party Report - November 2012

November 03 & 04

The ‘weekend’ seems to get longer every month, with a Thursday start this time. The first couple of days were taken up by training on tracked dumpers undertaken by four volunteers, and by the inevitable pumping operations. By Friday evening we had four new drivers and, by the standards of this year, a reasonably dry canal.

Alas this state of affairs was not to last and a deluge at breakfast time on Saturday returned underfoot conditions on the site to what we have now come to regard as the normal condition of liquid mud. Indeed one volunteer was heard to remark that it was the only time he had seen a dumper creating a bow wave! More frantic pumping out of the land drain sumps at least cleared the standing water and permitted work to start.

Saturday’s efforts involved final channel shaping at the Redwith end to the end of the retaining wall. A considerable quantity of material was removed to give the final profile. While this work was in progress, the lining gang was entertained placing the stone rip-rap on the remaining offside section at the Pryces end. The upshot of this is that some 80 metres of canal at that end is finished.
The digging gang carried on the struggle to install the French drain in the swamp that is the section between the culvert and the access slope. So we were all set for a major lining effort on Sunday. No prizes for guessing what happened next.......

During our meal on Saturday night the heavens opened and everybody was looking forward to pumping out for the fourth day running. In the event we awoke to a frosty morning so we had the novelty of wading around in frozen water to clear the work areas. The lining work eventually started and during the course of the day completed work to some five metres past the end of the retaining wall and, in addition, added a dam for good measure. The lining gang deserve great credit for producing very high quality work throughout the year in what have in some cases appalling conditions. The digging gang finished the year in style by completing the French drain, which now extends the entire length of the channel. The secret weapon responsible for their success was the Society’s resident mole, digging furiously whilst perched on his authentic Roman latrine.

Despite the generally poor weather, progress over the year has been good. This is illustrated by comparison of the view from the two bridges for March and November.

Finally, the Work Party Report has been overwhelmed by the interest in our site footwear series. Since Christmas is approaching the Report thought that some ideas for presents for fashion conscious volunteers would be a good idea, so here goes!! A number of our volunteers were sporting enough to model some desirable items, selected by our Fashion Editor, during the weekend and the picture spread captures some of the excitement. Peter was in exuberant mood and modelled two favourites from his collection, thus reinforcing his growing reputation as the Imelda Marcos of the canal restoration world. It is not known though whether Imelda traipsed round Manila in a Royal Mail waterproof. Fred tells us that he finds his electric blue boots not only ideal for site use but also a boon when helping with his daughters’ ponies. Nick, one of our new drivers, shows off a pair of exquisitely crafted boots with fur trimmings, which he chose to set off the colour of his hat and his dumper.

It has been a year of ups and downs (or should it be wets and drys), but we finished close on 150 m of canal during 2012 and had great fun doing it. Next year great things are afoot so watch this space!!


Views from Pryces Bridge

Redwith end
The mole cr
"If I paddle hard enough Ratty, perhaps I can bring Llanymynech to us", said Mole

Grab a Grandad night, Canal Street

IMGP1248 3Lb cr
The AVM in his fancy French boots
Last Month Next Time
2012 Review


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