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Enhancement Work Party Spring 2013


March 23 – 27 2013

This was to be the Spring Work Party but we had managed to pick the worst possible weekend with Arctic conditions across the country - howling winds, sub-zero temperature and snow. The same weekend last March was 20 C warmer!

The original plan was to paint at Hurleston locks over the weekend and then to move along the Llangollen by boat to clear overhanging vegetation. Due to the abysmal weather painting was completely out of the question so we were forced to postpone and to see if we could manage to rearrange some useful work for the intrepid volunteers who promised to turn out (and indeed those who could actually get to the venue considering much of the country was brought to a halt by massive snow drifts).

After some discussions with Paul and Glenn at C&RT and a long look at the forecast we reluctantly cancelled the weekend work and planned an alternative clean-up job at Burland winding hole and wharf on the Monday. This allowed some time to see if the weather would improve sufficiently to allow us to cut back the offside vegetation as planned on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Ten intrepid volunteers turned out on Sunday at Barbridge to load “Churnet” and then move her up to Burland. It was really bitter but somehow the snow fell all around Nantwich but thankfully not on us; we thought we might get some useful work done after all. It snowed overnight but quickly cleared and then the sun came out!

With some additional volunteers turning up to help we set-to clearing litter, strimming weeds and cutting back overhanging trees – keeping busy kept us warm enough while Yvonne kept the tea and Pat’s cakes coming to sustain us when we needed a rest. There was a lot to do however I think we made a real improvement to a long neglected area.

On Tuesday and Wednesday the weather was very cold but bright. We moved downstream towards Hurleston, the boat-party cutting back lots of willow and the odd hawthorn; the shore party litter picking along the towpath. The cutting-back was strenuous enough to keep us warm but, with the biting wind, it was necessary to retreat to the warmth of “Lucky Mucklebackit” to recover. A big thanks to Mike and Yvonne for putting up with muddy boots and ‘steaming’ volunteers – it would have been really too much to have worked without being able to retreat into their boat away from the bitter cold wind.

We managed to complete the length from Burland to Hurleston and make a real improvement to navigation that boaters will, I’m sure, appreciate as the cruising season gets underway. We filled “Churnet” five times over with cuttings – all of which we were able to dispose of into areas on the off-side without resorting to burning (not safe with the high winds). We collected fifteen sacks of litter, five tyres and a glass fish-tank!

I must thank those who had intended to volunteer over the weekend only or were prevented by the weather from getting along to the Nantwich area. We will consider rearranging the painting at Hurleston when the weather settles.

So the story of the Spring Enhancement Work Party was a determination to complete something useful in spite of inclement weather – this was very much achieved so a big thank you to David and Sîan, Ray and Pauline, John and Ann, Mike and Yvonne, Terry, Roy, Liz and Pat. Also thanks go to Paul and Glenn from C&RT for helping to organise and then reorganise the work and for providing the workboat.

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