Week ending June 7th
Not much new to report this week, as it’s been very much business as usual at Tamworth Rd., where the slipway is within a couple of weeks of completion. The wing walls are almost up to the level at which we can lay the bull-nose top courses, after which it only remains to do the last bit of backfilling and tidy up the surrounding area. It’s been quite a challenge but, as usual, the gang have been equal to it and it’s been done to a very high standard.
More concrete slabs have been laid alongside the big pipe ready for its removal in, we hope, the not-too-distant future. Another important job has been the installation of a by-pass pipe from Lock 26 to the weir corner; this will provide the required dry-weather flow when we start to remove the big pipe.
Once again Banker Bob assembled a small gang to continue the earthmoving at Summerhill, using our own dumper and digger as well as those generously loaned by the contractors. Our “new” digger now has new tracks and a larger, more useful bucket and is already proving a worthwhile acquisition. Progress at Summerhill has been impressive, with the earthworks over the culvert already up to the canal bed level. The only note of concern is the speed at which the vegetation, mainly bracken, nettles and ground elder is flourishing; we will soon have to address this and would appreciate help from anyone prepared to have a couple of days strimming.
Total volunteer hours: 201 by 26 volunteers
Photos: Christine Howles
Crane Brook Culvert
Work continues apace with Moody blocks being laid to form the canal wall.
See this set of photos on Flickr by David Hodgkinson.
Photo: David Hodgkinson
Week ending June 13th
Another well-attended and productive week despite the constant rain throughout Saturday. On Wednesday a good gang was able to split up to undertake a number of tasks, but as usual most of our activities were centred around the slipway, where our normal wall construction methods, although a little slow, result in a very strong structure. In this case we build up a back wall of concrete blocks and a front wall of blue bricks ( a course of headers and 3 courses of stretchers ), filling the sandwich with reinforced concrete. While this was going on another group continued to install the new bypass pipe alongside the towpath wall. As the pipe will be attached to the wall of the lock we’ll have to pump it and erect scaffolding to finish this last section.
Away from his usual duties, Bob Houghton planted a number of holly saplings, donated by a neighbour, to fill some of the gaps along the boundary hedge.
The rain on Saturday meant that no work was possible at Tamworth Rd. but we were able to get a gang of 5 to carry out some very useful earthmoving at Summerhill. We hired a 13 ton excavator for the weekend, enabling us to trim the highest banks which were out of reach of our own machine and that which the contractors kindly lent us.With 2 dumpers operating a shuttle service we moved, levelled and compacted a vast amount of material. This work continued on Sunday, whilst the better weather enabled us to make further good progress at Tamworth Rd., thanks largely to the efforts of our young and enthusiastic newcomers who are rapidly becoming a mainstay of the operations. This week also saw the welcome return of Rob Kirman after a long illness; we hope he continues to play his part for a long time.
Total volunteer hours: 183 by 24 volunteers
Week ending June 21st
A very brief report this week, as we have simply continued with the works described in the last few weeks. The slipway walls are now almost finished, with the final bull-nose courses starting to take shape. More concreting has been done, giving us a base from the tail of Lock 26 to the end of the slipway wall, leaving only the area currently by the big pipe. We still await a decision from the various agencies involved before we can remove the pipe; it’s very frustrating that we can’t get all the interested parties to come along to understand what we’re doing.
Another little job this week was the installation, by the youngsters, of a rest area for wheelchair users to the side of the towpath trail, halfway up the long slope towards the A51 bus stop.
I’m on holiday again now, leaving the job in Hughie’s capable hands.
Total volunteer hours: 142 by 21 volunteers
Photos: Christine Howles
Week ending June 28th
At Tamworth Road much of the same work as last week was progressed. Barry and Rick RTB with their time consuming brick work around the top of the slipway walls, RR Rick and Malcolm fitting more black plastic pipe to connect pound 26 to the 'big pipe' by the weir and others preparing another area of the canal base for concreting.
An excellent turn out on Wednesday was spoiled by a less than average turnout at the weekend.
In fact Saturday saw a larger contingent of our enthusiastic youths than than there were regular volunteers.
Rick Nelson deserves mention in the dispatches for the strawberries he brought along. (No cream or sugar, he said I must have a word with Kate about this). Thanks to all who volunteered this week.
Total volunteer hours: 112
Photos: Christine Howles