07 February 2019

Ham Mill 6th Feb – A New Canal Emerges
by: Matthew J.
It was a slightly quieter start to proceedings on Wednesday, with Bob, Duncan, Matthew and Julian mulling over which jobs could be progressed while awaiting the arrival of the Slightly Bigger Digger (SBD) and the piling barge gang next week (hopefully…). Matthew and Julian were initially despatched for a little light gardening where the fence along the towpath needed clearing and repairing.
Meanwhile Bob and Duncan battled on with some further trench warfare towards the top of the sloping towpath. This is now as far as we can get with the mini-digger – it’s an impressively deep hole already, but we’ll need the SBD to finish the job.
So this just left the section under the bridge itself to be dug out. Unfortunately the retaining wall at the edge of the towpath is extremely porous, so water was filling the hole as fast as it could be dug out. The rest of the team were engaged as navvies to barrow out the resulting gloppy mess, while the digger bucket required frequent washings in the canal.
The final stage of the work was to remove the coping stones at the point where the bypass pipe will re-enter the canal. As a result we can now proudly announce the opening of the new Bob Ambury Branch of the Thames and Severn Canal. Admittedly it is somewhat limited in the size of vessels it can accommodate, and we will have to work out a way of getting water to go uphill before we invite HRH to open it….