4th August 2014
We are hosting two camps, this week and next week, of volunteers from the Waterway Recovery Group. We are hugely grateful to the WRG volunteers, known as WRGies. There are over 20 this week and we expect the same number next week.
The WRGies are doing a blog. You can follow it by clicking here.
To quote from their website “WRG offers people a unique volunteering experience with the chance to learn traditional skills such as bricklaying and stonework, through to more modern techniques such as piling, concreting, or even how to operate machinery such as excavator or dumpers. Volunteers attending our activities must be aged between 18-70, but apart from that age doesn’t matter, nor does previous experience.
“WRG attracts a wide range of people, from young volunteers taking part in the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Scheme; to waterway enthusiasts who wish to make a contribution to restoring and preserving the system; to people who just want to get outdoors and dirty, have fun and learn new skills.”
At present, the WRGies are working on the walls below Staveley Town Lock.
We have booked in lots of earth moving equipment.
Note the wall behind the excavator.
This wall consists of L-shaped concrete blocks, installed by contractors. They are retaining the towpath, but need to be reinforced. These WRGies are building a block wall in front of them. The gap will then be filled with concrete.
This was taken from the Staveley Loop Road bridge, visible on the digger photo above. The walls on the left and right will eventually meet the walls being built just in front of the bridge wing walls – see below. You can see why we need so much plant because there is a lot of earth removal to be done.
These are the walls just below the lock, to which those in the photo above will eventually be joined. These guys are about to erect some shuttering for a concrete pour later in the week for foundations for the towpath wall. The towpath will come under the bridge and turn to come towards us.
Dave is very pleased with the steps that he has built to bring the towpath down from the lock and under the bridge. Eventually there will be nine steps.
This is a panorama shot of the site, hence the apparent bend in the offside wall.
August 6th. The concrete lorry has come to put in the footings for two sections of wall.
Dave France has already started to mark this bit out.
Meanwhile Dave Kiddy is experimenting with the remote control wacker.
August 9th. Last night there was torrential rain leading to yet another flood.
(Photo by Dave France)
August 10th. Most of the water has been cleared, but the site is a mess.
Much of the bed of the canal has now been dug out.
Compare this with the original panorama shot from August 4th.
The old roadway has been moved, but we have to build a new one temporarily.
On the right you can see the gap between the retaining wall and the new block wall referred to above. This gap will be filled when we have a concrete pour later this week – weather permitting.
The floodwater comes through these pipes under the dam.
You can see how it then pours down through the lock.
This arrangement exists because the overflow into the River Rother at Mill Green can not cope with massive rainfall. Before introducing this system, there used to be huge overflows over the banks towards Mill Green.
Are the workers downhearted? Of course not.
August 13th. Under a seriously threatening sky …..
….. a group of WRGies were waiting …..
….. as was a brand new Right Mix concrete pump …..
….. with a 31 metre reach.
The aim was to put in the footings for the rest of the offside wall below the bridge …..
….. to put about ½ metre in the lock walls and to partially fill behind the top paddle chambers.
As soon as the pour started, the WRGies got down to spreading and settling the mix.
Next, the first pour behind the paddle chambers.
After the lock had been done, attention moved to the wall footings.
There was no flagging, spreading work was soon underway.
All that remained was for the pump to fold itself up …..
….. and some final tamping of the footings.
A glorious evening and a brilliant day’s work.
August 14th. Eat your heart out Sherpa Tenzing, Mr France is the first ……
….. to climb the North Face of Mount Staveley – well you can’t dig out a canal without putting the muck somewhere! (Photos by Dave Kiddy)
The lower bridge wing walls are to be clad in engineering bricks to make the concrete bridge look more like a traditional bridge. This will involve half the bricks having a mortar groove cut into the face to imitate the bricks being built in a traditional header/stretcher bond. The visible bricks on the towpath and washwall below the lock will also be laid in this fashion. This will be an awful lot of bricks! Most of these brick grooves will be cut by Trust and WRG volunteers during these camps.
To facilitate the brick cutting, Matthew at Evolution Power Tools has donated a Rage2 Bench Cut Off Saw and a Diamond Blade. He has also given us a Disc Cutter with Diamond Blade that will be used to cut away the concrete from the lock approach wall to create a by-wash channel. He has supplied us with another Evo System Drive unit and water pump to help keep the lock site clear of any flood water and to assist in partially re-watering the Renishaw section to discover where the leaks are.
The Trust is hugely grateful for this magnificent donation.