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Montgomery Canal Restoration Work Party Report - June 2013

June 15 + 16

Wow, this was quite a work party! The record for the length of lining laid in a weekend was broken yet again. The result is that it is now possible to stand on the end of the lined channel bed and see the lined channel at the other end some 87 m away.

There were two major contributory factors to this success - a lot of preparatory work and some very substantial reinforcements on the first day. Preparations began on the Sunday of last month and half a dozen volunteers were on site on the Wednesday and Thursday prior to this work party for the obligatory pumping and some more channel excavation. Both set things up nicely for Saturday. The reinforcements were in the form of 16 members of JATCC 394 Course based at RAF Shawbury. The trainee air traffic controllers really entered into the volunteering spirit and worked very hard all day to shift a prodigious amount of blocks.

The work was in the section of channel adjacent to the compound, where 25 m of the base had been lined during the last work party. Operations were considerably aided by the fact that the blocks had been delivered to the top of the adjacent bank and could be transported to the channel via the chutes without multiple handling. The method of working was for the Society volunteers to continue to line the base of the channel with our visitors completing the sides. The combined efforts of the two groups meant that 40 m of channel base and rather more of sides was finished during the day, breaking the previous record for a weekend! This result could not have been achieved without the help of the RAF volunteers and such were their efforts that, as they left the site, they received a spontaneous round of applause from the Society members present.

The Society volunteers continued lining the sides on Sunday, albeit at a rather slower pace, and by close had taken the total length lined to 65 m since the start of Sunday last month. Of the 7200 blocks on site on Saturday morning, fewer than 2000 remained by Sunday evening, and the entire stock of liner had been laid.

The shaping operations continued throughout the weekend. 25 m of channel was final shaped over the weekend, plus some additional towpath-side slope. The use of two diggers on Sunday meant that the remaining channel bottom was taken down to about 50 mm above grade. This will enable shaping work in both areas to proceed at a fast pace next time.

So... weather permitting the lining operations could be concluded in the next two or three work parties. It’s all getting very exciting!!


The RAF chutes
The Society chutes
There's always one!
Not sure what's supposed to be happening here
The finishing straight
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