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Montgomery Canal Restoration Work Party Report - July 2013

July 20 + 21

The vagaries of the British weather! It is only three months since we were working on site surrounded by piles of snow. For this month’s effort the problems were heat, humidity, dust and the company of half the flies in Shropshire. Sun screen and insect repellent were much in demand.

The long sequence of breaking the record for length of lining achieved came to an end, for the good reason that, in fact, no lining was attempted. Instead we were given the challenge of grouting all of the channel that had been lined over the last year or so – some 250 metres. This was made possible by the prolonged spell of hot dry weather which, we hoped, had at least evaporated some of the water in the channel. On arrival on Saturday a surprising amount of water remained particularly in the culvert to Pryces Bridge section, but the channel was dry in the section to the rear of the compound.

The grouting operation was simplicity itself. A sand/cement grout was produced dry in the mixer, transported into the channel and then brushed into the joints between the blocks. There were two problems with this. The first was that it was hard work, requiring considerable concentration and physical effort in the oppressive heat and ,secondly, there was a hell of a big area to grout. It speaks volumes about the tenacity of the volunteers (17 on Saturday, 16 on Sunday) that the task was completed by the end of Sunday.

Between the culvert and Pryces Bridge considerable pumping was required to expose the blocks. This involved the removal of small areas of blocks to form a sump for the submersible pump. After a large amount of frantic brushing of surface water into the sump the water level was low enough to permit grouting to start.

There was one other impediment to the grouting operation - a large accumulation of foul smelling rotting leaves and other vegetation which had fallen into the channel over the last winter. This was removed by one volunteer, who deserves a medal for this work, and after pumping and general cleaning up, even this section too was grouted.

The dry weather also meant that conditions were ideal for earthworks and the opportunity was taken to continue towpath slope shaping and levelling the channel bottom to grade. Progress on the earthworks in the channel is such that one more weekend will probably see the completion of this work.

So, a weekend when no records were broken, except maybe for number of insect bites per volunteer, but one when the job of grouting the majority of the channel was finished. This is a major milestone toward completion of the channel.

 

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Grouting the area laid last month
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Towpath slope shaping
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Pumping out near Pryces Bridge
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Cleaning up behind the Pryces dam
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