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In 1977 we hired our first narrowboat from Anglo Welsh at Market Harborough.From that moment our destiny was set. In 2006 we finally purchased our own brand new 57' narrowboat which we named 'Free Spirit'. Our aim is to travel the length and breadth of all the navigable rivers and canals of the UK. This will be our story as it unfolds.

Friday, 4 March 2016

Amazing what is seen in the canal.

Well I saw it all today! Wasn't expecting to find C&RT contractors taking a dip in the canal but before telling that story I'll start with the ECP&DA Friday work party. Mission for today the planting of 600 hawthorn whips along the towpath from Shipley Lock to Anchor bridge.

Two C&RT guys arrived at Langley Mill armed with 600 whips, the same number in bamboo stakes for supports and rabbit proof plastic plant barriers to surround the young saplings.Two cars were needed to take 5 of the work party complete with high viz jackets. gloves and shovels plus all the whips to Shipley while I chose to walk (so need the exercise) as official photographer to record the event. As I arrived at the lock,( having set off 20 minutes before the others) both cars were being unloaded and a mountain of canes and whips lay ready to be carried to the towpath. A map supplied by C&RT showing where the whips were to be planted was nowhere to be found and Norman our chairman suddenly realised he had left it at Langley. While he high tailed it back to fetch the map and with the rest not wanting to stand around waiting, Julia, Mac, Ian, Glynn and yours truly started planting whereever a big enough gap showed itself, hoping we were planting at the right place. . When Norman returned we were relieved to find that the planting was correct and getting a good rhythm going, a long section of the towpath right up to Eastwood lock was completed before lunch. I then walked back leaving the others to drive back to the Mill for lunch. More whips were planted after lunch but having done my photographer job, left them to it.  

Ian Julia and Mac

Glynn and Norman


Should be ready for laying in several years from now!

Mac, Julia, Glynn, Norman (chairman) and Ian posing on the way back to Mill for lunch. Some of the planted whips shown on the left.
Another problem arose when we all arrived at Eastwood lock. The bywash run-off was blocked and causing the water to back up nearly overflowing the bank. On closer inspection it was a large coping stone doing the deed. How it got there was a mystery and the men tried to remove it with the spades. I never thought they would succeed as the photo will show, to big and to heavy. They gave up as a bad job and vowed to give C&RT a ring to report it.

It was on my walk back that I spotted a chap with wheel barrow depositing a load of reeds on the back of a lorry.

 Happened to be at Gadsby Bridge and looking over the top spotted the two men in the water. I'm quite a nosey person so asked what was going on. Turns out it was on C&RT's itinerary to remove all the encroaching reeds from the water and I was amazed that the men had no mechanical device to do the job. Instead the two men braved the ice cold water to manually pull the reeds, roots and all, from the canal bottom. Well done to C&RT.  I know we often have a good moan about them but to me this had gone far and beyond the call of duty, even for them.

Spring is on it's way me thinks.

Wild Primrose

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