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April 2016

Week-long Work Party - April 16th-23rd 2016

(See also Newsletter 22)

We had a very good work party on Saturday - thank you all for your help.

We have completed the longest work party we have ever attempted. A week makes it worthwhile to beg, borrow or steal big machines. In our case, we borrowed, and our grateful thanks go to Stafford Boat Club for allowing us the use of the digger and dumper.

The Riverway Link caravan was also on site all the time as was the boat, 'Thistledown' as 'hospitality' bases and allowed us to remain overnight. The main plan was to dig out enough of the basin for it to be very obvious to folk that things are happening and that there will one day be water linking the canal and The Sow and there will be boats returning to Stafford.

A second boat arrived and moored up. We welcomed a complete newcomer, Chris, who joined in enthusiastically, then joined literally and is now a member, and best of all stayed until Friday. Chris also became a self-appointed security man for the evenings when everyone went home.

Other folk were involved in a variety of tasks. The boundary fence between the farmer's land and the towpath was mended and strengthened. The stile includes a dog-friendly opening as well. This was part of our commitment to the land owner as he does have cattle on that site, though for all of our week he had 're-housed' them so we could work unimpeded and also leave the access gate open.

A good part of the foundations of the lock cottage have been secured. Geoffrey and Yvonne have cemented several courses of bricks so 'the footprint' of the building can be seen but vandals will be less likely to cause damage.

By the following Saturday much of the work planned had been dealt with in a satisfying way. The site was tidied up and made as safe as we could. At this stage the landowner put in an appearance. Some discussion ensued and it was decided that some extra work on the levelling of the spoil was required. This resulted in a one-day work party the following Tuesday and our thanks go to yet more volunteers who attended that day to ensure we had a happy landowner at the end of the work.

More pictures of the week.....