31 January 2018

Western Depot - news

Inside the fence, as usual, much going on.  The interior of the new welfare caravan is just about down to the floorboards.  A large metal 'I' beam was being planted at the front corner to protect against possible vehicle damage.

Inside of 'Mole' was receiving another coat of paint in the sunshine.  Later, there was an practice run at trying to load it onto the new trailer.  Due to space constraints, the approach was not optimum and the attempt abandoned until another day.  

A number of other jobs, mostly involving the road fleet zipping off to various sites, took place.  It was hoped to take the sponsored bricks to Capel's Mill for laying, but in the end, time ran out.

Late in the day, a group assembled in the mess van for a session of Team Leader training. ably assisted with two large Pavlovas!
Pat's Progress -  Wednesday

With just 2 pins now remaining, the hope was to get them both shifted today.  The access is either difficult, or nye impossible. Working from the top down, because the oxygen monitors were off site, the starboard pin was tackled first.  Here, we could see that it had not seized and so stood half a chance of shifting it.

With a team of three, we succeeded, however the last pin was to thwart us.  Some time was spent trying to remove a section of flooring to improve access.  When a section of trunking was released to assist in this process, we found evidence of previous ship occupants. 

In the workshop, consideration was being given to the re-bushing of the leg beams.  Laying one side out on the floor helped the process.

A visit from our friendly hydraulics man should guide us into understanding the level of restoration required to the four cylinders.  Work on the JCB parts will also be necessary as a spot of rust in the wrong place which could damage the seals was noted on one of the jib rams. 

30 January 2018

Dredging at Stantons Bridge

It was a day for training.  Bob had the company of one pupil in getting to learn the ropes of the process.  Now that both dredger and mud hopper can work alongside, progress is a lot quicker.  The mud that was cleared on the passage up from Bowbridge, was deposited in the canal on the Rodborough side.  This has now to be collected and disposed of beyond the bridge to restore the full navigation width.

So many of the passers by comment on the positive results of this work.  It is many years since the this stretch looked like an operational canal.

Ford's Wharf

The area around the bridge has been transformed, with just some planting remaining on the east side.  Frost covered the new bench this morning, but this should be a most pleasant place to rest when the sun catches it.  Some work remains on the west side however.

Tree clearance further up towards the lock and elsewhere had filled the barge with timber and later on, was due to be move to the west of the bridge to prepare for a large bonfire on the north bank.

The team, with the end now in sight after well over two years of work in rebuilding the towpath in this area are looking forward to a new challenge.

Adjacent to the swing bridge, the stonework is due to receive attention together with the addition of paving.  A donation towards this work was generously offered by one of the local inhabitants.

29 January 2018

Pat's Progress

Today, we were on a hat trick with regards to meeting three important milestones.

Firstly, we'd never seen the prop' turn, mainly due to not fully deciphering exactly which combination of switches made it work.  Some bodges had been applied to the controls in the past.  These were removed and once the engine was running and there was hydraulic pressures in the system, we had it tuning in both directions.

Secondly, the rudder control, which runs on its own closed loop hydraulic system did not function. Once the various bleed and filler points had been persuaded to work, we acquired the correct hydraulic fluid and filled the reservoir.  In short, we managed to purge the air and had it fully functioning.  This was great news, since an earlier conversation with the manufacturers suggested that the seals would be shot and we'd have to have it repaired or replaced for about £1000.  

Finally, those completely grunged up bottom cylinder pins, which we expected to be a nightmare to shift, yielded relatively easily, Probably protected by fresh supplies of leaking hydraulic fluid from the rams.  So far 2 of the 4 have been extracted.  All the cylinders will go away for a complete recon'. 

So, in all, a pleasing day and great progress.  


25 January 2018

CCT Fundraising working with Gloucestershire Deaf Association.

In partnership with the GDA, we are providing a placement for a trainee illustrator from Gloucestershire University.  

We'd like to introduce Helen Keryakos who has provided us some examples of her varied work.  We have set her the challenge to design a new and fun 'Fundraising' logo for use by our team in promotional material, publicity and web presence.  We await with anticipation the results of her efforts. 

Here are a few examples of her illustration skills.

The knowledgeable amongst you should recognise the location as Bond's Mill Gate House.  

It is an inspiring experience for us to work with Helen and her support team, which resulted from our attendance at the Stroud Ambitions event last autumn held in Stratford Park Leisure Centre.

24 January 2018

A very soggy Western Depot Report

Persistent rain , sometimes lashing down, made for another very steamy day at WD.  It was noted that the act of printing a document resulted in the paper steaming as it emerged from the printer!

WD Navigation

Out in the yard, a team continued with the service trench to the new welfare caravan.  Quite a messy operation.

Andy adds...

1 armoured cable and 1 blue water pipe and another blue pipe for the phone line were pushed with great effort into another only just big enough pipe to feed supplies to the new rest room.

The concrete was superbly cut and today we removed the tarmac and kango'd underneath to a depth to allow the pipes to be laid along with another blue pipe for any future cables.

The trench was back filled and the tarmac pieces carefully and accurately replaced.
It was a very wet and dirty day but when finished you cannot see the joint

Work continued on Patricia.  Finally, the last pin was removed from the leg mechanisms.  All the steel work can now be prepared for painting.  The seals in the hydraulic cylinders will need replacing.  With seized pins, the lateral stresses have destroyed the existing ones.  We'll get a quote for this job shortly.

Once the rain ceased, a tarpaulin was erected over the front of the craft.  We reckon that there is sludge in the front bilge, tea in the second, under the accommodation cabin, antifreeze in the engine bilge and mostly water in the rear bilge.  The main ambition is to get the bilges dry ready for cleaning and a repaint.

Dredging Report No.2

Today we experienced some foul weather dredging just below Stanton's Bridge. Again assisted by the "dry" team, the "wet" boys began filling more mud hoppers. 

This is what a load looks like. 

It is then moved by a work-boat (can't get the tug here) towards the disposal site.  
In this one, the bored dry team started bow hauling! 

Now all SVCC workboats on this section are working together. 

Today we loaded and moved 3 hoppers full, a 4th was half loaded. 

Bob Hallam.

"May your bilges always be dry and your anchor always hold."
Dredging Report No.1

Day started with a hopper stuck on side of Canal. 3 teams worked together to haul, push and in the case of the Dredger lift the hopper.
After an hour the hopper was hauled up to the Dry Dredging team where the long reach unloaded the dredged material to bank.

The teams then work together to reposition an empty Hopper and the Dredger pointed West to start offside Dredging.

Surprising what people throw away under a bridge.  


22 January 2018

Western Depot activities today

Work on Mole continued with the preparation and painting of the second half of the boat.  It had all got a bit wet inside over the weekend, but managed to dry out enough for the primer to be applied.  Splendid job, it looks great now.

In order to provide a safe working area between the fence and Patricia, some of the wood donated by B&Q found a use in the bespoke decking solution.  This really helped us achieve a record pin removal today.  Just one to go now and all the leg metalwork can be prepared for shot blasting and painting.

Out in the yard, the first cut in what is going to be the trench across the yard for the services to the new mess caravan.  No issues with dust after the weekend's soggy weather.

Arriving one day earlier than expected, 45 sponsored bricks.  All sorted ready to be laid to the plan devised on Sunday.  It is hoped to get these in place before the official opening of Wallbridge Lower Lock. One of our volunteers was very keen to spot his brick as it was unloaded onto a pallet. 

Elsewhere, work continued on Leviathan with further inspection of the condition of the hopper interface within the deck plate.  Water was also being pumped out in an attempt to get the bilges dry.  Much log splitting was in progress and further interior modifications to the new caravan saw the sink unit moved into what was the bedroom area, plus an assessment of the usable electrics.

There were problems with Ratty over in Blunder Lock, which were taking a while to address.  The Molson mini digger headed off to the Eastern Depot.  Sorry if one of your jobs for today has been missed.  There were so many volunteers around today, it's not possible to catch everything that happens.

Patricia Progress

We are progressing well now with The refurb' of Patricia. 
Today the professional pin removers set a new World Record of 5 removals, easily beating the previous 3 1/2. It does take a BIG hammer to do it though.

 Meanwhile, in the workshop, the seized- on bits of the rudder post were being removed by the engineering boys. It gets warmer when they get into action. 

Finally, on the stern deck a couple of deck plate removals exposed the leaking hydraulic leg rams. Lovely gunge down there! Somewhere down there is the pin which holds them in! 

Bob Hallam.

"May your bilges always be dry and your anchor always hold."

21 January 2018

Bright Stars in Winter Concert.

The rain had relented in time for everyone to make their way to St Cyr's Church Sunday evening for a fine concert in aid of the Cotswold Canals Trust.

Following an introduction by Jim White, the Cotswold Canal Singers provided an entertaining and up to date report of the canal's restoration in their Canal Wassail!

The Major Pipework Recorder Consort and local harpist, Jemima Phillips, also featured in the programme which included two Christmas Carols in which the audience could participate. A pause half way through provided time to chat and take refreshments at the back of the church.

It was unfortunate that Val Kirby, who had done so much to organise and promote the concert had gone down with a bug and could not attend.  All went very well, although concluding by singing 'We wish you a merry Christmas' was slightly strange.  Now, was that late, or very early?

When it's thoroughly miserable outside.....

....Plan the next batch of Sponsored Bricks layout.   

Next week, we will be receiving a large delivery of sponsored bricks, 45 with any luck.  In advance of them being set in place at Capel's Mill, a detailed layout has to be done.

Some are just single bricks, others' belong together.  So the puzzle has to be solved.  This, we achieved this morning.

Bob & Team - You have been warned!

20 January 2018

Take my word for it!

Behind the smoke screen, is a WRGies working party hard at it on the west side of Bond's Mill.  The group were continuing on from their new year bash along the north bank of the canal clearing trees and scrub.  Outside Bond's Mill Gatehouse a large tea urn gently steamed away and inside, an enormous biscuit box awaited their return.

This is a weekend only event.  

19 January 2018

Gough's Orchard Syphon feed

This morning, armed with Denso tape, which is a gooey fabric tape used in the water industry to seal leaking pipes, which we then applied around the horizontal/last joint into the lock.  It was suspected that the fine bubbles exiting into the lock were from around that area.

The result of a few layers was a pleasing improvement in performance.  It is difficult to know the exact duty cycle of pump on to pump off, as it would have taken a fair time to record a few cycles.  We had periods of 25 - 35 minutes with a pump on time of 55 seconds to re-evacuate.  So, roughly 30:1.  It was about 10:1 before.

There is the other joint at the right angle bend to have a go at.  Both those have the M12, 3 point, bolt anchors fitted and suffer the highest mechanical stress.

The water at Bowbridge was just about to go over the spill weir.  Yesterday it was some 150mm low. The streams are running slow at present.

There are still a few small bubbles exiting the outfall, but far less than first thing this morning.

Getting there!

18 January 2018

Dredging - Stantons Bridge

Work continued today at Stantons Bridge and mainly concentrated on clearing the way through the bridge arch.  It was a very time consuming operation in that the mud hopper could not sit along side the dredger, so each bucket full of mud had to be shunted back and unloaded in the wider section above the bridge.

The image below shows some supplemental dredging where the mud barge was moored in order to ease the passage of the dredger along side.

In all, we probably achieved about 10 bucket loads per hour!  By the end of the day, at least the bridge section had been cleared, so now progress towards Bowbridge Lock to widen to full width can take place.  The mud hopper was resting on the canal bed, so that's in need of emptying.  

A resident robin inspected the dredgings each time, just in case an easy meal was to be had.
Give as you Live news.

Polly reports - 'Just a quick note to let you know, that after years of buying bits and pieces online I have just passed my £100 target.  Obviously I shall carry on ........ it is slow, but easy and fulfilling'.

Now, if more of our members used GAYL, the contribution could be a very handy income stream to the Trust.

17 January 2018

4 Vessels pass under Stantons Bridge today!

Today's eventful and successful entry of 4 vessels onto the pound above Stanton's Bridge.  Mud barge pulled through first, followed by the dredger and Annette 2, and lastly Wookey Hole.

 All vessels reversed course and are moored by the bridge ready to start the dredge and movement via mud barge to the long reach digger, which will then off load into the trench which is ready on Sutton's field. It is probably 80 years since any vessels used this stretch of the canal.

Andrew Rendall adds.....

Hi all

It’s so good to see we can do this as I planned and make another milestone because of teams working together proving it’s so easy to load and move Mud Hoppers.

I’d like to thank the 3 teams, Dry and Wet dredging as well the Wookey team (acting in place of tug team and will continue as long as no other task to do)
Those involved today were working effectively and cooperatively with me and each other. Another sign of our willing volunteers.

A great introduction for another new dredger volunteer, Eddie.

A good 2 1/2 months ahead now method plan agreed and tested.

I’ll give Dave practical direction on Monday.  

Many thanks and regards
Andrew R 
Summit W/P Date change.

Just to confirm that the next work party will be on Sunday 18 February (change from date advised last year) as Alan and Pete have kindly agreed to chain saw again for us. Eastern Depot can sell as much wood as we can cut down - so the more the merrier.

Steve Pickover has kindly agreed to cover a work party in each of March (continuing off bank clearance) and April (probably back to strimming bed and clearing banks from Roundhouse to the Railway bridge), and I will be back at the end of May. 



WD - Around the yard.

Plenty of other work going on.  Various wrecking weapons were in use on our 'Carnival' caravan, with the interior in the process of getting gutted.  Now that the interior walls have been removed right through to the bedroom at the rear, the vast and useful space can be appreciated.  Bob and his team are making good progress

Work boat Mole, now back in the yard, was receiving much TLC.  Half of the rusty interior, which had not seen paint, was cleaned down and the first coat of primer applied.  The finish looked excellent.  Second half, next time.

Further work continued on Leviathan mud hopper.  A plan has been drawn up to create an area of decking on the canal side.  Soft mud and the canal bank complicating the design.  Some quick fix concrete repair around the hopper was chipped out to reveal the true condition of the metal.

In the wood yard, the new log splitter was going full chat with four volunteers busy processing the latest delivery and adding to the impressive wood pile to commence the seasoning stage.

In the main area of the yard, more decking was laid.  We now have a patchwork of new yellow, blue and pink panels, well at least until they are covered in mud.

The sunny dry day was kind to all our outdoor activities.