When we arrived on site on Friday it felt as though we have never been away! Three work parties in a month strained bodies and spirits to the limit but the results were spectacular. We are now within 20 metres of the clay dam which marks the end of Phase 1.
Once more the weather was our friend. Friday saw some rain in the afternoon which made the going difficult – see the image – but work was able to continue. The weather forecast for the second day was bad and the expectation was that earthmoving would not be possible. However for the third work party Saturday in a row the heavy rain failed to materialise. This was doubly fortunate since Saturday was, as usual, the day with the largest attendance and we were able to cash in. The weather behaved itself on Sunday too.
After five work parties where the main emphasis has been on shaping and lining both operations are now being performed quickly and accurately – practice makes perfect. The downside is that the unremitting nature of the work requires considerable application and, although boredom is never a risk, we will all be glad when it is finished. All of the considerable volunteer effort was rewarded by the very obvious progress being made down the channel.
In numbers, the blocking has now got to 165 metres from Pryces Bridge and lining to 180 metres. Shaping has started in the last 20 metres up to the clay dam. One more work party with decent weather should see us home.
At Crickheath the contractors have made considerable progress with the piling. The winding hole and a long length of the offside bank are piled but not backfilled. A slight hic-up has been the discovery of a previously unknown (!) mains water pipe across the canal. The works in the middle distance in the photograph are the rerouting of the water pipe.