October 4th 2015

Much of the same this week as last except that we concentrated on concreting to the left of the 'big pipe'.

It was one of those days, on the Wednesday, and with a good turnout, when, if we had had extra plant, we could have achieved a great deal more.

Even if we had had four diggers available on site, work could have been found for them all. The trouble is that when we are mixing concrete our one and only digger is tied up in attendance to the mixer and precious little else can be done. Work such as profiling the bank to the left of the canal, preparing more areas for concreting either side of the 'big pipe',  rolling out the dried up clay that needs re-hydrating as soon as the rains come for example. These all have to wait another day, and time slips by. This problem was dramatically underlined on the Sunday morning when the digger needed urgent attention and half a day was lost facilitating repairs.

Thinking forward to the proposed Trail Boat Festival' in 2017 - Even if the weatherman is good enough to give us sufficient water, there is a huge amount of work ahead of the volunteer force to make all the required facilities available.  Decisions need to be made quickly.  The lining of the canal bank for one, and providing the necessary equipment for another. We have a good core of volunteers coming through who are all keen to be qualified (ticketed) to drive the dumper truck and the digger. This will be a basic requirement before long.

Finally, thanks to the lads on Saturday who gave the Waker Roller a much needed coat of paint, it looks much better.

Hours worked  138.

Hugh Millington

Photos: Christine Howles

Click on a picture for a larger view

October 11th 2015

More progress was made on the concreting of the canal base in pound 27. Dried up clay that had been spread out on this concrete base and rolled to break the lumps had re-hydrated nicely with the rain.

In fact almost too much so. I can see that this clay thing is going to tax ones patience in getting it just right.  Too little water making it still crumbly and render it useless as a water barrier,  too much water in its consistency  will cause it to be unable to hold its shape.

Over the weekend Terry started to break up the concrete that surrounds the 'big pipes' by lock 27. The concrete proved to be thick and strong, but with perseverance quite a bit was broken away.

I am still looking forward to the delivery of extra digger equipment but each day that passes is another day lost.

Progress on the historic pound 24 bywash continued. And the rain on Monday restored the water level in pound 26 to a degree.    

Hours worked  146.

Hugh Millington

Photos: Christine Howles

October 18th 2015

A tremendous turnout on Wednesday saw 15 volunteers turn up to help out.

Further concreting was done and more areas prepared for the weekend volunteers to complete. Rick the Brick and Barry continued with the restoration of the historic bywash at pound 24, it is starting to look very interesting.

Terry Brown made a good start on breaking the concrete around the 'big pipe' just below lock 27, but the concrete in places was at least 2 feet thick and it was hard going.

The concrete cap on the inspection chamber half way down the 'big pipe' towards the weir was dislodged an awaits the attentions of the concrete breakers to break it down into smaller manageable pieces.

Over the weekend there was more progress on the concreting front.

Terry Brown deserves a mention in dispatches for the progress he made on breaking the concrete around the 'big pipe' on Sunday with a much larger breaker.  He and Taxi George wrestled with this hefty machine and all but managed to complete the task before they ran out of time.

Other work on the site saw progress on the levelling of the bank on the left hand side to correspond to the height of the towpath.  This will enable us to dress this bank to the required 2:1 batter when we have a digger capable of the task.

We are all ready now for the' nod and the wink' to take out this 'big pipe', lets hope it's soon.

Hours worked 157.

Hugh Millington

Photos: Christine Howles

Summerhill Progress Report October 18th 2015

Summerhill at the weekend saw a great deal of earthworks activity at the East end of the M6Toll Aqueduct thanks to the provision of a massive 23tonne Volvo excavator by WCL Cranebrook Quarry.

Sam the Volvo excavator operator put the machine to great effect in moving several hundreds of tonnes of soil to remodel the old canal embankment and future basin area, but also  forming the ramp access and hard standing adjacent to the proposed Deep Lock 8.

In attendance were our own team lead by Keith and Bob, from early Friday, preparing the ground, moving soil and  compacting the excavated fill with our own 5tonne excavator and dumper.

There is still plenty to do in this area, but completion of this early major earthworks now defines the area for the Deep Lock 8 and the canal basin up to the recently constructed Cranebrook Culvert and releases many new areas of work for volunteers.

We must thank WCL Cranebrook Quarries for providing the Volvo excavator, and in particular Sam the driver who so ably operated the machine to great effect all Saturday.

If you would like to join our team of volunteers on this exciting project make contact via our volunteering page.

Peter Buck

Aerial photo taken in August by Tim Wayne of Lichfield Camera Club

October 25th 2015

People walking down the Heritage towpath must wonder at the progress made this week.

Wednesday saw the arrival of the LHCRT's digger from Summerhill on the back of a low-loader truck. It is on short term loan whilst our smaller digger is in for a much overdue service and repair. However for this week we had two diggers to use and use them we did. The canal bank  was dressed for a good length and new areas of the canal base were prepared for concreting. Other members of the work party assembled the shuttering and mixed and laid the concrete.

Saturday was a write-off weather wise, but on Sunday the Sun shone on us all day. Keith G and Bob W  completely cleared and levelled the canal bed, to the right of the pipe, right up to the weir. More concrete was laid thanks to a good turn out of volunteers.

Terry B completed the demolition of the concrete around the 'big pipe'  by lock 27.

Well done all!!

Hour worked this week  114

Hugh Millington

Photos: Christine Howles

Below - Barry Parkes continues rebuilding the Lock 24 bywash

Lichfield & Hatherton Canal Restoration Trust

LHCRT  Working Party Blog   October 2015