28 February 2018

Ham Mill Progress

By:  Andy P.

A very cold Monday morning started with the water bowl frozen inside the amenity cabin.  The ducks though were happily ice skating.  4 pallets of concrete blocks arrived and a plan hatched to get them lowered onto the concrete from the truck.  This did not work as the hoist ran out of reach.  

So, each block was lifted and slid down a chute and then carried and stacked along where the wall will be built. We did get warmed up though and it kept the ducks amused.

A relatively large digger arrived and was put to work digging an up to 2m deep trench for the new spill weir pipe. The spoil being taken away and used to build up the dam across the canal. This  continued through Tuesday and Wednesday in spite of the bitterly cold weather

A pedestrian convoy system was in use to get the walkers, runners and cyclists around the excavation.  An additional set of fencing had to be installed in case someone fell into the lock

The 600mm pipe is due to arrive next week but unfortunately most of the bends will be delayed.

If no one knew this then hard hats do float in the canal.

Happiness is:

Pat's Progress

Until the first snow blizzard descended at about 14:15, we concentrated on a couple of areas.  In the cabin, after a bag's worth of coal shovelled out, the coal bunker was removed, followed by the sink area.  The intention is to take a look under the floor where there lives one of the bilge pumps.  Also, all redundant equipment must be extracted before we can start the refit.

Up front, the JCB seat assembly was unbolted, which meant that it could be shifted to one side to improve the access to the large deposits of detritus in the bilges.  Whilst some of it shifted and two or three buckets worth were removed, ice firmly glued the rest to the hull. 

This area would benefit greatly from a steam clean.

27 February 2018

Bowbridge Dredging update

Slowly but surely, the cut along Bowbridge pound is taking shape.  The channel is now being dredged to depth and at sufficient width to get a mud hopper along side.  The mound of mud placed in the water on the south side will be extracted later on another pass.

The measure of progress is marked by white sticks set in the towpath bank.  Ice covers much of the surface of the canal.  It was good to note that the water level is full and that there is flow over the spill wear. Especially since there has been little rain for quite a while now.  Little is getting past the lock gates at present.

26 February 2018

Pat's Progress

The final hydraulic ram for repair was removed this morning and taken away for assessment and quotation.  The other two rams on the jib are fine and can be left.

We removed the bucket from the jib, which involved extracting the 4 pins which held it there.  All, for once, cooperated and were taken out in half and hour or so.  It is planned to have a clam shell bucket available for use as an option.

Having not been too impressed with an initial quote to shot blast and paint the leg components, we gathered them together in the Transit and delivered them to a company close by in Stonehouse, which will hopefully give us a much better deal.

As a final occupation this afternoon, yet more sludge was removed from the stern bilges.  The advantage, today, was that the water component had turned solid and was considerably easier to keep on the shovel!

Dredger Training Today

In bright winter sunshine and once the ice was broken, Andrew was running a training session for new operators in the Bowbridge section to Stanton's Bridge.

The two mud hoppers rested further up looking towards Griffin Mill Lock.

25 February 2018

Visit from Selsley Scouts

by: Ian Moody

Saturday saw SDC hosting a group from Selsley Scouts.  Twenty-four intrepid souls arrived bright and early at Bond's Mill having spent a night under canvas in freezing temperatures.  They wasted no time in getting stuck into clearing the brambles and brash left over from a previous work party.  We were all done by lunchtime and the site now looks a whole lot tidier.  Of course, we also managed to make time for a team photo.

23 February 2018

Wallbrige Lower Lock

By Ian Moody & Bill Evill

Ian Reports:

The SDC volunteers had another cracking day at Wallbridge Lower Lock yesterday.

The path on the offside of the lock is now complete and the brick quadrant is done.

On the towpath side the concrete capping beam has been extended and further down the site the volunteers worked alongside our regular visitors from The Apperley Centre in Stonehouse [ http://www.shrubberiesschool.co.uk/ ] to haunch the outside edges of the new towpath with soil, ready for the green, green grass of spring.

We also had a small group planting a hedge alongside the towpath near Ham Mill and in the afternoon we began the concreting work at Brewery Wall. All in all it was a very productive day.

Bill Reports:

The work taking place at Wallbridge lower yesterday was finishing touches . And landscaping. The lock side offside was having a top coat dressing to give a firm footing to walk on. John Pontefract was completing a section of concrete capping and the towpath edge was being built up and graded with soil ready for grass seed hopefully leaving a nice edge.  One more job on going was the finishing of the tread / walkways for the gates.

22 February 2018

Thanks to all concerned

Now linked from the CCT's main web site.

21 February 2018

Dredging - Stanton's Bridge

by: Bill

Pictures from Stanton's with the Dredger and some pictures taken around lunch time after the Concrete had gone in and Bob was doing his checks at Ham Mill.  [Previous item]

Later, the dredger broke a radiator hose and activities ceased.

Ham Mill Concrete Day

by: Andy + Bill

Today was the big day - 12m3 concrete ordered which is about 30 tonnes
An early 8am start to get ready before the concrete pump arrived and the first load. Final bits of shuttering were made and the concrete flowed nicely into the far void behind the gabions.

We still had to shovel to get the levels correct mind you. A second load soon arrived and this was emptied easily but with still a lot of shovelling. More concrete was needed. Another 7 tonnes quickly arranged and arrived. A much wetter mix this time as we filled up just before the shuttering gave way. Lots of knees were used and minor modifications were completed to reform the edges

The remaining 2 tonnes of concrete was loaded and wheel barrowed away to the spill weir-thought we had got off lightly.

Finished the day laying concrete blocks. Only 150 more to do.

You could say it was a good concrete day with a hint of hedge trimming thrown in to lighten the day

Pat's Progress

Having spent so long focusing on removing pins, it seemed only reasonable to go looking for some more to shift!

We knew that there was corrosion on one of the jib cylinders, so this needs fixing.  The only difference this time was that the pins are over twice the size of the previous lot.

A short call to JCB to discuss this and other matters produced one note of guidance.  We were advised that we'd need an 'FBH' to shift these pins.  So it was that we went looking for one.

The first pins yielded quite quickly, but the second did not and we found ourselves, once again, drilling the pin.  This time, it was to insert a metal bar so that the force could be applied more effectively.  It worked.  Now the cylinder awaits collection to join the other four from the legs.
SDC activity yesterday - Wallbridge Lower Lock

by: Ian Moody

Yesterday the SDC volunteers continued their work at Wallbridge Lower Lock. The coping stones are now set in concrete and the adjacent the path is ready for its top surface. We have some tree saplings arriving soon which will be planted along the top of the bank.

The brick quadrant is about 75% complete and the final few posts of the security fence have been installed. Thanks to Andy at the depot for extending two of posts for us.

20 February 2018

Ham Mill update

Another hard and busy day with the old spill weir bricked up and the bottom of the gabions cut out and underlying gravel removed one bucket at a time to form a nice walking surface on the tops of the remaining gabions.

Much prodding located the start of the footings for the collapsed wall but it is over a metre down through thick and heavy muddy clay.

Repositioned a mangle in the neighbours garden as you do

Collected a trailer of type 1 which was laid to form the new temporary tow path.

The first layer of the block wall has been laid on top of the concrete.


Dredger Hopper movements

Today (Mon) the helpful 2 Tug team members + a Dredger crew volunteer showed yet again the hoppers are easy to move by human horse power, well that was until the hopper hit a silt rift.  A nudge from the Dredger through Annette2 got the fully loaded hopper moving again.

Great team work from adaptable volunteers.

Their only wish is to hopefully get Wookey or another powered vessel for the long hauls.

Thank you Andrew R

19 February 2018

Pat's Persistent Pin Pulled!

At 12:27, the fight was over and the final leg pin yielded after two weeks and a mighty struggle.  Note: There was a loud cheer!

It all started off well this morning, with the arrival of a new weapon in the armoury in the form of a hydraulic wedge.

Rated at 0.5T and easy to slip in between the boat side and the pin end, real progress was being made, well, that was until there was a loud bang and the casting on the actuator half broke.

So, it was back to the previous method of using a jacking screw.  Slower, as mentioned before, but did make a small shift after every application of full push load.  Bit by bit you could tell that the load was lightening.  What looks like a splined end in the image is just the impression of much Stillson activity

Both front hydraulic cylinders have now been extracted and lay ready for collection.  The time after lunch was spent dredging yet more detritus from the stern bilges.  

18 February 2018

Summit Working Party

Today, 17 volunteers defied the weather predictions and arrived for another tree clearance session at the T&S Canal summit.

The well practiced process of removing tree growth from the slopes of the cutting quickly swung into operation with chain saws converting the larger trunks into fire wood, the smaller brash chopped up and fed to one of the well stacked bonfires.  Several log piles were created along the access road ready for collection.

At lunch, everyone enjoyed the outside meal time with tea & (carrot) cake provided by Karen.  At close of play, it was into the Inn for a well earned drink.  We were also provided with surplus roast potatoes and Yorkshire puds to polish off, which took but a little time to do given the large amount of fresh air and exercise we'd enjoyed.

As always, there are large numbers of public enjoying the towpath, one bunch, clearly a dog walking group, totalled 27 dogs and at least as many again humans!   

The road bridge was not reached on this visit, maybe a couple more working parties will achieve this goal?

17 February 2018

Boatmobility + 99 = 


100 Sponsored Bricks.  Boatmobility have just ordered their own brick to join all the others' at Capel's Mill.  It will only be a little while in coming.  

So, the first 100 have been sold and there is plenty of room for many more.

Thank you to everyone who have supported us so far.

CCT Bookshop - Sale now on

As usual, there were plenty of customers enjoying the bookshop today, especially since many items are now half price in the sale.

Go along and enjoy browsing, whist sharing a cup of tea and a biscuit or two. 

16 February 2018

Heavy traffic reported

With the sun shining, there were numerous folk out enjoying our canal today with some in wheelchairs and motorised buggies.  What a fantastic leisure time resource we have created and of course, continue to build on.
A call to action...

...from CCT Chief Executive — Ken Burgin to attend Thames Water's Public Meeting — Tuesday 27th February 2018 — Cirencester. 6:30pm – 8:30pm, Bingham Hall, Kings Street, Cirencester, GL7 1JT.

The series of consultations, their findings & outcomes will shape all aspects of Thames Water’s future plans. Click the link find out more and register your attendance: 


Clive Field

Wallbridge Lower Lock

Ian Moody reports:

Yesterday the SDC volunteers made good use of the barge Delilah as a floating bridge to transport materials to the offside of Wallbridge Lower Lock and also as a work platform to set the last few coping stones in place. About 5 tonnes of type 1 aggregate and topping was wheel-barrowed across to construct a path and a small team cast the concrete footings for the offside quadrant.

It was nice to see a decent amount of sunshine and it was doubly nice to hear all the positive comments from members of the public enjoying the recently opened towpath. Next week we will finish off the path and, weather permitting, construct the brick quadrant.

Ham Mill update

2 days of heavy work on Monday involving emptying the bottom gabions 1 bucket at a time, firstly to fill the end gabion and then back filling behind where the concrete is going to be filled.  Re-bar was carefully wired in place to add some strength, in addition to the screw piles already in place.

Really unpleasant weather on Wednesday saw the gabions being shored up to stop the stones under the concrete from falling out.  Hard work as there is very little space to manoeuvre. 

The little digger was brought into use, along with several jacks, to move the amenity cabin to allow for a temporary tow path diversion to be made when the spill weir is installed.

The final wiring was completed to support the curved shuttering along with some very large pieces of stone.  Think everyone slept well that night.

30+ tonnes of concrete to be filled next week, should be fun.